January 12th, 2011 at 3:11 am
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Memory fitness plan: Develop effective memory props

by Kathryn Kilpatrick, M.A. CCC/SLP

Memory props are essential. You may feel like you are constantly bombarded by information and finding a way to make note of it for future reference is essential. Day 4 of the memory fitness program focuses on what you can do to upgrade your strategies.

First of all, do any of the more challenging projects during your prime time. When you are presented with a lot of information at a time when you are tired, distracted or not feeling well, you need to make better use of your memory props. Write down the information and put in those extra details. You have probably come across a note and had no clue what you meant. Taking a few extra seconds can save you a lot of backtracking.

You can remember better without all the distractions. If you are interrupted, ask the person to wait a minute or ask if you can get back to the person later. If you are calling someone, you might ask that person if this is a good time to talk. This has been one of the most helpful strategies I have incorporated into my busy schedule and it works!

You can reduce stress and frustration by improving your organizational skills. Reducing clutter can make it easier to find something in your environment. First, choose one small area that is cluttered. Begin sorting it out. Are there some things that you can throw away? Do some of the things need to be stored in a different place?

When sorting the mail, divide it into piles. Have the waste basket there and throw away the junk mail first. Then have a pile for things that are urgent such as bills or things you need to handle right away. Create a pile for magazines and other things to read in your spare time. Another pile can be those items that need to be filed away. When you have a little time, then you can more easily handle the items you have already sorted. You may find yourself wasting less time looking for something and by not handling the same piece of paper many times.

Repetition is an excellent way to develop your ability to focus. When you think of something you need to do, repeat a key word over and over. Let’s say you need to feed the dog, say the word “dog” over and over again. If you get interrupted by someone or have to take a phone call, repeating that key word may help you to recall what you started out to do more quickly.

Visualization is another very powerful tool. One person attending my memory fitness program shared a technique that works well for him. If he has to pick up clothes at the cleaners on his way home, he sees his clothes hanging from the tree in his front yard several times that day. Typically, when he writes a note, he forgets to look at it. As crazy as this may sound, you are more likely to recall something that is out of the ordinary. Use your positive attitude technique from day one of the memory fitness plan to explore new memory props, especially if the old ones have become less effective. For details on the 7 day program, refer to Create a Memory Fitness Plan.

“Nothing is truly lost. It’s just where it doesn’t belong.” SUZANNE MUELLER

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