Memory is one of the best but most complex tool any individual has.
It helps us to use pictures of our experiences in order to act in the present. However, as any other tools, it needs practice to maximize its potential. Two characteristics of the memory are helpful to improve in our day-to-day life:
- Its size: how much information are we able to keep/store?
- Its accessibility: how easy can we store/retrieve information?
- Increasing size of our memory:
The stomach analogy: eat more to store more
The more you want to remind bigger our memory will be. We need to be trusty of new information. Be curious and read a lot. It will definitely increase size of your memory.
The muscle analogy: efforts and stretch balance
Like a muscle, which is taking mass through exercises, memory can fail if we don’t keep it healthy. Otherwise, we may lost part of the size we earn/gain so far.
I’m balancing between hard learning (specific information we want to store: a formula, how to drive, a cake recipe) and soft learning (general culture, reading book, discussion with others which appease the memory)
We need to have a good night’s sleep in order to get our mind ready for the next information flow of a new day.
- Improving I/O of our memory:
Watch and then focus
Let say you enter in a room you never visit before for 30 sec only, and you’re asked to describe it in details. Virtually our brain can store an infinite amount of data but the process to assess the information and to “write it” into our memory need some effort and training.
Details are effort/time consuming but they are also providing the most adding value. However details can’t help much if you are not able to explain the context;
What I use to do is to visualize the big picture first and then go to details: same process is used when an artist works on new oeuvre. They first have an idea of what they want to do and then perfecting it with details.
It is easier to store an information that make sense/remind you something than anything else.
You should then try to link new information with an event, an object, or a situation you are familiar already.
Reactivate the information (aka extend its Time To Live parameter)
Remember when you were at school and you have to learn by heart a poem: you read and repeated it several time.
Here is what I use to do myself: once I receive a new information I need to remind, I review it again an hour later, then before going to bed, then the next day, then next, then next month.
Indexing your memory
This is basically what search engines are doing: grouping a bunch of data having the same meaning/sense/type of information. Another example is to refer to the name of a book that can contain information you want to provide/quote.
Use all your senses
We have both verbal, visual and practical memory. All of them have their pros and cons but combined they are unbeatable.