Quantcast
Can't Remember Much? Here Are Some Pretty Cool Memory Hacks.
Getty Images

Can't Remember Much? Here Are Some Pretty Cool Memory Hacks.

12 ways to (better) retain what you need to know.

Life & Travel

Boy, if I could dedicate this to a person in particular without putting them totally on blast, I definitely would. As someone who has a pretty good memory, there's a client that I've got whose memory is so atrocious that sometimes I genuinely wonder if they are gaslighting me. When I've brought it to their attention, something that they've said is between all of the stuff on their plate, them not getting a ton of rest and oftentimes feeling super overwhelmed, all of this can make recalling stuff pretty challenging.


I'm pretty sure that they are not a rainbow unicorn when it comes to this particular life challenge. So, I thought I would share 12 memory hacks for different kinds of issues. That way, I can just forward them a link (perfect) while hopefully helping a few others at the same time. Are you ready to make your own memory sharper — or to help someone else in your life who has this particular struggle? No worries. I got you.

1. Listen to Classical Music or the Rain

Two things that can relax your mind in a way that other things cannot are the sound of classical music and the sound of rain (I can definitely vouch for rain). Since they both have a way of releasing dopamine which helps to cultivate a sense of pleasure, when you're trying to commit a large amount of content to memory, try and avoid music that has a lot of words in it; that can sometimes confuse your mind. Classical music, rain or some other nature sound is way better in the sense of being far more effective.

2. Choose a “Random” Scent

This one right here is kind of buck. If there's something specific that you need to recall for a business meeting later in the way, try either spraying a scent that you wouldn't typically use or chewing a piece of gum that is not your usual flavor while you're trying to commit it to memory.

If you then spray that scent or chew another piece of that flavor gum right before the meeting, it can actually help to jog your memory. If it does, report back. I'm curious.

3. Read Out Loud

I once read that you're around 50 percent more likely to remember something that you actually said out loud. One researcher said that it has something to do with the fact that adding a production element to whatever you're attempting to retain helps to keep it on your long-term memory for a much longer period of time. So, if you're a silent reader who struggles with remembering what you've read, try reading out loud and see if that helps at all. According to quite a bit of research, it should.

4. Do Some Yoga

With the amount of benefits that come with yoga, it really is crazy that more of us don't do it. On the mental tip, it can help to reduce stress, relieve anxiety, fight depression-related symptoms, improve sleep quality (which also plays a huge role in keeping your memory intact) and it helps to keep your brain in great shape too. Matter of fact, on a science-based level, there are many studies to support the fact that yoga reduces the risk of several cognitive issues. So, if you're looking for a holistic way to improve your memory, sign up for a yoga class. You won't regret it.

5. “A Loaf of Bread, A Container of Milk and a Stick of Butter…”

Aight. The real ones know where this particular reference comes from —Sesame Street. If you need to run to the grocery store (or some other store), there are only a few items that you need to pick up and you don't feel like writing anything down, apply this skit and just substitute the words for what you actually want to buy. It might sound corny yet it's amazing how well it actually works.

6. Say Their Name When You Meet Them

There's a guy I know who calls everyone "baby" because that's how many women he juggles (chile, I already know). Thing is, I've known him long enough to confidently say that he pretty much sucks when it comes to retaining anyone's name unless you happen to be super close to him. If this is your dilemma, a way to help keep someone's name in your memory bank is to actually say it back to them when you first meet them. For instance, if you're at a work luncheon and your boss says, "This is Jackie Johnson," instead of simply saying, "Nice to meet you," go with something along the lines of, "Hello. So, do you prefer to be called 'Jackie' or 'Ms. Johnson'?" They will appreciate the courtesy and it will help you to keep their name locked in at the same time.

7. Study in the Afternoon

Say that you've got a test that you need to study up for. Even if you consider yourself to be a morning person or night owl, it's actually the afternoon that several studies say is the best time to study up. Without getting too deep into it all, apparently that is when our brains are better at combining new info with things that you already know. Definitely another argument for schools not needing to start at the crack of dawn every day. Yet, I digress.

8. Take a Pic When You Park

OK. Some of y'all are cynical. That I know (LOL). So, if you read this one and thought, "How is taking a picture of where I parked a memory hack?", here's the thing. I once read that 55 percent of people have forgotten where they've parked, at least once. If this is you and it's happened more than one time, taking a picture of where you've parked and immediately texting yourself can actually be pretty effective. The reason why is because, if you happen to forget where you parked in the first place, there's a good chance that you will read at least one text while you're out. Seeing a text to yourself will remind you of why you sent yourself one and that can get you to your car so much quicker.

9. Put "It" on a Handle

Say that you travel a lot and you are notorious for leaving your phone charger. Something that can help you out is to put your suitcase by an outlet that is close to the door. Then wrap your charger around its handle. Hey, it's hard to forget something if you've gotta yank it out of the wall in order for you and your suitcase to get out of the door.

10. Explain It to Someone Else

This particular hack, I can totally vouch for because, how can you truly remember something that you don't fully understand and how do you know whether or not you understand it unless you can thoroughly explain it? One of my friends will call me often if she has a presentation and she's concerned that she won't retain all of the facts. After explaining it to me about three times, her confidence goes way up because it's clear to her which makes it easier to keep in her head, long-term.

11. Watch Something on the Topic

Speaking of presentations, do you have one that you need to give on a particular topic, you want to include some extra details yet you're already struggling with the data that you're currently trying to memorize? Try watching a documentary about it. It can be more entertaining than just reading and you'd be amazed how some of the little tidbits that were in the doc will remain in your brain.

12. Put Something on Your Pillows

One more thing. If once you get home from work, you know that there is something that you need to do, either before turning in or in preparation for the next day, put something like a book on top of one of the pillows on your bed. Since that's not where the book belongs and it is literally in the way of you getting the rest that you need, seeing it as you return for the night will help to trigger your memory so that you can complete the task.

That way, you can go to sleep soundly, knowing that you accomplished everything that you needed to do that day. Sweet.

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

Featured image by Getty Images

Your July 2022 Horoscopes Are All About Happiness, Release & Divinity

July is the month to focus on allowing yourself to receive. There are beautiful opportunities for blessings this month when you can get out of your own way, and release self-doubt. With Cancer Season here, emotions are flowing, love is showing up, and home is wherever your happiness is. The power of attraction is strong this month as Pallas enters Gemini on July 4 as well, and deep insights are prevailing. July is the time to gain the clarity and answers you have been looking for, and decide where to move forward from there.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
How To Focus Less On Who You Attract In Dating & More On Who You Entertain

The law of attraction is tricky. A few years ago, I felt something was deeply wrong with me because I kept attracting people who hurt me. No matter how hard I tried to fix myself, and alter my energy, the same type of people kept coming my way. I'd talk to my friends about it and ask them, "Why do I keep attracting this type of person? Why do I keep having the same experiences?"

Keep reading...Show less
Here’s What’s Streaming On Netflix And HBO Max In July

There’s nothing like finding a good TV series or movie to watch on your favorite streaming services. The summer is the perfect time to explore what’s new and exciting or revisit an oldie but goodie. Both Netflix and HBO Max have some exciting and new releases for July. From HBO Max’s Rap Sh*t, which is presented by Issa Rae to the season three premiere of Ludacris’ Netflix animated series Karma’s World, there are plenty of options to choose from. So get your streaming on below.

Keep reading...Show less
Kelis On The Importance Of Having Black Women On Her Team

As a Black woman, Kelis knows how important it is to work with other Black women, help each other and give each other opportunities. The “Milkshake” singer has always been a voice for female empowerment with her popular female anthems like “Caught Out There” and “Bossy” and in a chat during Refinery 29’s Unbothered Presents The Glow Up festival, Kelis opened up about the Black women behind her legendary career and how Black women should create safe spaces for ourselves.

Keep reading...Show less
10 Romantic Date Ideas That Absolutely Bring The Heat

As you may know by now, the summer produces some of the best and most nostalgic soundtracks of our lives. The mood is set by fun and light sounds of the past and present, giving you the playlist that you need for the summer you want. Summer, no matter how hot, is a magical season where anything can happen, especially in the romance department. Long nights and short days act as a backdrop to new beginnings, summer flings, and the possibility for more (depending on what you’re looking for). But it doesn’t mean the romance has to be dull, regardless of the timeline you’re hoping to create. Like I said before, summer is what you make it so the options are limitless.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
A Black woman looks into the camera and gives a closed-mouth smile. She's wearing a black turtleneck

Miss Diddy Kicks Off BET Awards Weekend With 'A Toast To Black Hollywood'

Her annual event to celebrate the culture has a new name and more intention than ever before

Latest Posts