Why Can’t I Remember Little Things?

by Dr. Joe Pace, Organizational Psychologist

3 School-Room Strategies To Improve Memory

Most people struggle with a loss of memory to one degree or another. In conversations, our brain is working so fast that while you’re talking, you’re brain is actually still thinking.  I call these "taking side trips”. The brain moves five times faster than we speak so it fills in the void, getting you side-tracked or forgetting your original point all together.

Wait. What were we talking about? 

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Consider that on average we have about 50,000 thoughts a day, most of which are negative.We tend to remember things that are important to us. The brain will associate what’s important with “why” it’s important and “what’s in it for me” – the value. 

But how do we remember the things our brain doesn’t naturally retain?

Underline it

A good teacher will say something like, “Pay attention, this is going to be on your test”. The student remembers that because it was pointed out as being important.

Repeat it

Again, repetition is the key. Most people need to hear things at least eight times, some 16 some 32.

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If the teacher appears when the student is ready, it is repetition that will ensure an important piece of information is retained.

Make it catchy

You all remember the old saying “Thirty days has September, April, June and November”. It is catchy and honestly a little annoying, but you remember 100% of it.   

Consider that jingle you hear over and over on the radio. It’s outrageous and you just can’t get it out of your mind. Marketing people understand these concepts and want you to remember who they are and what they do. It will work for you, too.


What tricks work for you when you really need to remember something?

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