Memory & Productivity: Most Potent Memory Aid for Getting More Done

Last week, I discussed the importance of taking notes and jotting useful information, specially instructions or advice that come your way.

Doing so is extremely critical to taking action because memory is very fleeting. It leaves as quickly as it arrives.

The #1 reason why people don’t write down profound, insightful, or life critical information is because they believe it to be too insightful, profound, and life critical to possibly forget.

Unfortunately, the brain records information based on a whole set of criteria, and profound and insightful are low on the list…very low.

Unless you do something to record, remember, or take action on information, it is lost and forgotten very quickly

Often, you’ll forget that you even came across the advice.

In fact, most life lessons you find to be profound and unique, you’ve already come across many times in the past.

You simply forgot that you did!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase history repeats itself? Well, history repeats itself over in our own lives. Over and Over.

Again, unless something is done to either record, remember, or take action, like speeding cars on a busy highway, advice will pass without a second thought.

Since the last newsletter talked about recording important life lessons (if you missed it, you can read it here), this newsletter will focus on remembering them.

Hands down the best, most potent memory aid in existence is retrieval

Retrieval is the act of recalling information you have read, heard, or watched instead of re-reading, re-hearing, and re-watching it.

That is, after reading a chapter in a book, listening to a lecture, or watching an online video, you think about and call to mind everything you learned.

Retrieval works so well because it forces you to be active

It requires you to look at, think about, and put the material into your own words.

It’s one thing to receive information passively and whole another digest it actively.

Retrieval helps you digest.

When you can digest information, not only do you remember it better, but the information becomes real to the mind.

When information becomes real, that's when you can take action on it. As you may have noticed, information needs to feel real or you need to have a sense of closeness to it. Otherwise it is difficult to do anything with it. Recalling the content and putting it into your own words is key to bringing it close.

Practice retrieval right after you receive it

So, anytime someone says something important, you read a newsletter, article, or blog, attend a meeting or seminar, are involved in a thought provoking discussion that produces useful insights, advice, and guidance, recall afterwards everything that was discussed, what you found important and why, and what you want to put into action.

Do this right after the encounter, and then in the evening, before going to bed. In fact, do it as often as possible. The more you retrieve important advice, the more it will stick in your mind and be available as a reminder to put into practice.

Practice now

Since you’ve reached the end of this newsletter, recite what you just read. Recount the important points that were made, why they are important, and what you were asked to do. Even though you just finished reading, I bet you will find it difficult to remember everything. This validates the point I made last week, that the mind will often hold information just long enough to make sense of the next sentence, and once that sentence is processed, forget it.

If it is forgotten, how can you possibly apply it?

You can’t!

That’s why it’s important to note down what you are learning, and then retrieve it to ensure you remember it in ways the information becomes real to you.

That’s all for this week. The next newsletter will talk about how to apply/take action on the information!


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