Last week I introduced the concept of retrieval to improve memory. Retrieval is the act of recalling information from memory instead of looking at your notes or material again. If you missed the post, catch it here.
Studies show retrieval is the most effective memory technique. Not only is it the most effective memory technique, it’s more effective than multiple memory techniques.
Because it is so effective, many assume retrieval will be time consuming and require a lot of effort.
Surprisingly, that is not the case.
Since retrieval is done without the use of notes or other aid, it requires little of you.
In fact, retrieval requires nothing!
All it requires is that you be with your thoughts and call to mind as much detail of whatever you wish to remember.
That means, you can practice retrieval anytime and anywhere. You can do it while waiting in line, at the bus stop, on the bus, in the shower, cooking, cleaning, walking, driving, or stuck in traffic.
In other words, retrieval can be fit in between parts of the day you are not doing anything anyways.
So, anytime you watch, hear, read, do, or learn something that you want to retain, take a few minutes to recall that info throughout the day.
Perform the first recall immediately after the watching, hearing, or doing. That's because we lose as much as 80% of what we learn within a few hours, so you want to recall as much of that before you begin losing it.
Then apply this memory technique few more times throughout the day.
Finally, once more before going to bed.
After one class ends and as you are walking to the next class, call to mind what you just learned and the main ideas that were discussed.
After a meeting is over, review in your mind the important points that were addressed or the important tasks that are now on your plate.
After finishing a book, quickly call up what you just read in that sitting, and even in prior sittings.
Then recall these details again later in the day.
Before going to bed, think about the details one more time.
Depending on how long you want or are required to remember the info, practice the technique the next day and so on.
After a few days of this, you’ll be able to recall the information whenever you need.
Important to Note
In the beginning, retrieval may not be the easiest memory technique to apply.
At times, it might be downright frustrating.
It’s much easier to get lost in your thoughts than force yourself to retrieve information.
I assure you, after a few times, it gets easier.
If you remain consistent, it will become almost automatic. You’ll be able to easily recall things that you are learning as well as those great ideas you come up with.
By applying the memory technique regularly in your life, your brain will naturally and automatically begin to remember more. That is because it knows it will be called on for the information later, so it will hold that information until later.
So start now!
Begin with this blog post, try to recall as much of it what you read.
If you'd to learn more ways to improve and enhance memory, learn how here.