Improve your memoryToday, I want you to pay attention. . . really pay attention.  Did you know multitasking interferes with memory functioning?

When you divide your attention, your cognitive efficiency drops precipitously.  Many people complain of memory problems when in fact the problem is not memory at all–it’s encoding information in the first place.

If you’re dividing your attention, you’re not efficiently encoding new information, which means there’s nothing to “remember”–the information was never encoded in the first place!

Here are some suggestions to improve your memory–practice one of these today!

  1. Don’t multitask (see above)
  2. Verbal Rehearsal–narrate your way through a task.  This works even better if you say it out loud.
  3. Repetition–repeat the information you want to recall, 3 or more times.
  4. Sleep on it–if you’re trying to assimilate a lot of new information, get a good night’s sleep!  Your brain will do much of the work overnight and you’ll remember much more efficiently than if you lose sleep trying to cram.

Here’s a Lifehacker article on how multitasking interferes with memory:  What Multitasking Does to Our Brains.

And here’s an article about one man’s attempt to go one month without multitasking:  How I Stopped the Multitasking Madness.

This article also serves as an introduction to the concept of “mindfulness,” which I’ll write about more extensively in future posts.

Which techniques did you use today to improve your memory?