I'll be short.
I have identified that one of my main problems today is my memory, and so I'd like to work on it.
Searching for advice on the internet give way too many answers, and I really don't know which ones to trust.
Have you ever tried any exercices to improve your memory? Do you know any good blog posts about that topic?
Spaced repetition is proven to work.
Many of the supermemo articles are good -
(I don't know if all of them are, it's been a while. As always, be critical/skeptical, but some work)
A couple other points:
IMMEDIATELY try to implement something if it's interesting to you, and the chance that you do so goes up by a lot.
Re-read great books multiple times over a few months. It's what I do, especially with actionable content dense books like Getting Things Done, The Ultimate Sales Machine, Never Eat Alone, etc. Ray Dalio's "Principles" is one I re-read front to back multiple times, it's an amazing read.
Also, you could just rely on tracking/systems and forget stuff. I've given up trying to remember a lot of things, and instead rely on my calendar/to-do list, and just forget things until it's time to work on them again. It's scary, but it mostly works. Remember to back up anything mission critical like that!
Why not just memorize stuff rote?? I have a similar problem, I think my memory sucks. (It must be all that music that's stuffed in my brain doesn't leave room for much else...) So I've been memorizing a poem a week. So far I'm up to four.
Isn't it active recall that strengthens memory? like Hugh said... I've been writing down what I've done during the day.
Another good book on memory is Supersizing the Mind.
My top tip for remembering things, particularly ideas or thoughts about projects - write them down somewhere. This isn't actually so that you have the notes - 90% of my notes never get looked at again - but the act of writing the idea down seems to make it massively less likely you'll forget it.
You can use the same trick for books or any technical information - summarise the bits you need to remember in a blog post or simply a document you store somewhere. Particularly if you write two or three articles on the same piece of information, it'll get lodged in your brain.
Yes, memory palaces work extremely well. In general, any kind of association method (memory palace, visual link with item) works well for remembering arbitrary facts, IMO. I use 'em sometimes on the fly if I'm coming up with ideas and don't have a notepad handy.
(Still haven't figured out how to learn languages effectively, sadly.)
Good advice. I do something similar if I am going to bed and want to remember something when I'll wake up the next day. I take something like a tissue and just place it in the middle of the room, so when I wake up and see it the next morning, it immediately triggers what I want to remember.
It wasn't clear to me from your post, but you realize that the Major System is ultimately about creating images/pictures, right? Not just words. The idea is to make words that are easy to create images from. 2 is a "n" sound, and 1 is a "t or d" sound, so for example, 21 could be the word "net" - so you create a memorable image involving a net. The real power of the Major System comes when you combine it with the Memory Palace - you can store each "word" in a different location.
Of course, as you mentioned, the downside to the Major System is that it requires a lot of work up front. Most people usually only create words for every two digit combination 00 to 99. So if you wanted to remember 16 digits for a credit card, you would create 8 2-digit images/words and then store that information sequentially in a memory palace.
I'll second the suggestion to build systems to allow you to forget stuff. Improving memory is always a good idea, but no matter how good it gets, memory will still be the most fallible part of the human mind. Building systems that reduce dependence on it will always help you.
Once you get over the 'scary' part, you may find it quite liberating to be able to forget things, even important things, safe in the knowledge that you have systems in place to remind you of them at the appropriate time.
I have been working with a system to memorize some numbers, though I'm not sure what it's called off-hand. I associated each digit (1-0) with a rhyming word (ie: 1=sun, 2-shoe). From there I can remember numbers by creating a visual story that uses those objects at key points. It only took me a few minutes to get started (memorizing the list itself to build on.)
One thing that I noticed when first practicing was that some systems will work better than others, depending on the person. I also looked at the Major System (each number is associated with a couple vowels and you spell out words/phrases using those letters in order.) After practicing with it for a bit, though, I realized how much work I was having to do. I am definitely a visual learner and am far faster creating picture stories than coming up with even the most simple words.
Though it may be geared toward remembering numbers, I can also see where this will be useful in remembering lists. It will be simple to associate each item in the list with the key word.
I have done some reading about the Memory Palace (first introduced to the concept in the book "Hannibal") and just recently got to the point where I understood it. Apparently I was completely over-thinking it and just thought that I didn't get it. Recently have been building my palace to get started. Can't wait to see what kind of results I come up with.
Another quick and dirty trick that I use is putting something out of place.
For instance, if I have to make a call the next day and there's a document associated with that person, I'll leave that document on my table or by my computer. It works the same was tying a ribbon to your finger works.
And even better, you can do this when you're in a hurry or don't have a piece of paper nearby. Gotta run? Turn your laptop around if you need to send an email when you get back. In the shower when you decide to email a friend? Throw your towel on the floor. Need to take a package with you out the door? Put it by your shoes.
Just be sure to actually do the action before fixing these things. Or write it down. Or move something else out of place. Doing this allows your mind to focus on other important things. If you can't remember why something is out of place (for me, this is rare), keep it out of place until you remember.
Best book I've ever read on memory, by far, is Moonwalking With Einstein.
Seriously, if you want to improve your memory, get it now. Plus, a fun read, and will walk you through a plethora of memorization techniques including the "Memory Palace" method mentioned above.
I'd recommend using mnemosyne for SRS software. It's similar to SuperMemo, but with a simpler interface. I've used it for learning foreign language sentences and vocabulary, and it's been very beneficial.
You can download it here: http://www.mnemosyne-proj.org/
As far as memory techniques, I often use the Roman Rooms or "Memory Palace" method. To Sebastian or any other readers: does anyone else use this?
You can read an overview here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci
When this method is used effectively, it can produce some incredible results. Personally, I use it for remembering people's names, giving presentations without notes, dates/times, foreign languages (particularly Chinese Characters), PIN numbers, etc...as well as some more trivial things like memorizing the periodic table (just because this method makes it so easy).
As weird as it may sound, after using this technique, I sometimes have trouble forgetting memorized information - even months or years later, despite never consciously reviewing it.
Made my first comment on your blog recently and as promised, i'm here to make direct contact via email, officially deleting my name from the list of 900 :)
I'm blown away by the depth of the posts you make in response to emails from other folks for advice, so i'm gonna try my luck seeking some insights from you about my situation.
I just graduated from university about one and a half years ago.
So fast forward to today. Till now, i still only manage a low 4-figures monthly income from the internet business.
I was a pretty good reader as a kid. My mom recounts me sitting in the corner reading in pre-school instead of doing whatever other pre-schoolers did. In Kindergarten, I was praised for reading more books than any other kid. Throughout the elementary school summers, I dominated the summer reading programs in all the neighboring cities.
Eventually, I started to realize that all of these books are the same. Sometime when I was 10, I started to realize every book seemed to be about some derpy kid who eventually overcame his fears and saved the world, or at least his friend group.
I had the intellectual ability to read YA and adult books at the time, but not the emotional maturity. So, I hit a standstill.
Time passes on, I get into Classics (aka: any title whose name being uttered made me sound smart). I got a Kindle and subsequently got into Indie trash, at one point reading one book per day. Then the Kindle broke and I had no clue what to do.
I went through a massive overhaul on how I thought about reading, which leads us to how I read today.