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Memory Problems? Top 7 Memory Strategies for Everyday Life.

With so many distractions in our world and never-ending to do lists, it’s easy to forget items along the way. Try incorporating these 7 tips into your life to improve your ability to remember.

1.  Pay Attention and Make Connections!
You cannot remember something, if you are not paying attention to it.  Therefore, the first and most important tip to memory is to pay attention to, or focus on whatever you want to remember.  Once attending, connect the new learning to what you already have stored in your memory. For example, ask yourself “How does this new information change or add to what I already know about this topic?” This will help your brain file the information faster and in a similar location to your pre-existing knowledge.

2. Technology as your Personal Assistant!

Schedule in, and set reminders for events, appointments and tasks to be completedas soon as it comes up! The trick is to pick a scheduling app that syncs with your E-mail account, has alarm/reminder features and that can be easily accessible from a number of your devices. Some choices may be: Google Calendar, iCal, or Jorte. 

3. Be old-fashioned – USE A STICKY!

Sticky-notes are great for tasks that need to be completed in the near future. The trick to using a sticky-note is placing the note closest to, or on the item it is associated with. Or on an item you carry around with you all the time.  Need to call someone? Stick  the note to your phone. Need to email someone? Stick the note to the top of your screen. Shopping reminder?  Stick the note to your wallet! 

4.  Repeat, Retrace and Re-Do!
Need to find something? Try repeating the item’s name until you find it in order to keep you focused.  Can’t remember where you put something down?  Retrace your steps. Go back to the spot where you last remember having the item, look all around and try to re-enact your  last moments with that item. To ensure this does not happen again, Re-DO or set up a system for where items should go, label the location (e.g., sunglasses or keys) and always put them in their place (this system will improve your procedural memory).  
5. Making a list … checking it twice.. 
Lists are a great way to remember numerous tasks. The trick with TO DO lists is to CHECK THINGS OFF as you complete it.  By checking off items, you feel a sense of accomplishment while reminding yourself of all the other tasks that still need to get done. 

6. Keep It Simple.  Multitasking is not more productive!

Picture this – cooking dinner, doing the laundry, helping your child with their homework, all the while trying to focus on a phone conversation.  It can be very easy to get confused or forget steps along the way.   Focus on one task at a time – it will help you pay attention to the task, allowing you to get it done faster and more effectively. 

7.  Forget what you are reading?  Underline and Annotate
When you spend time reading something and then afterwards ask yourself “what did I just read?”, it is time to underline and annotate.  Underlining helps you focus your attention and forces you to ask yourself what and why is the information important.  Annotating (writing a few notes) the important information in the columns next to the paragraph helps to encode the information into your memory.

By:    Kris Cardoso                                      &              Simone Friedman
         Communicative Disorders Assistant         Speech-Language Pathologist


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