Here are some basic, but effective, tools for managing information and sharpening the memory:
• Take notes. The simple act of writing down names, dates, directions and facts can have far-reaching results. We can turn to our notes rather than rack our brains for information that is important but does not need to be memorized.
• Organize your space. Reduce the amount of information you need by organizing your space. Take the time to put important belongings away in a designated place. When not using your eyeglasses, keep them in the same location. You will have one detail to recall (the glasses are on the table), rather than multiple ones if you place them in a variety of locations throughout your home.
• Organize your important information. We have an excessive amount of information to manage. You don’t need to remember the exact content of important documents, such as insurance coverage and financial records, but you do need to recall where they are stored. Keep this information together in a cabinet or drawer to avoid scrambling whenever it is needed.
• Focus your attention. Multitasking can make it very difficult to take in new information. As we age, it is often helpful to give full attention to what we are learning. Distractions, such as background conversations or music, can diffuse our focus. Find a quiet place to read the instruction book and you may have an easier time programming your cell phone.
• Repeat the information. Speaking aloud can be a very successful way to learn. Repeating new information helps reinforce it in your mind. This can be a particularly effective strategy for remembering names and other information that is random and difficult to cluster in a memorable way.
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