THE INC. LIFE

Is Your Poor Memory Hurting Your Career?

How Entrepreneurs Can Improve Poor Memory

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BY Anna Johansson - 11 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Are you astounded by people who can rattle off long movie quotes or recall perfectly an event from their childhood? Some people are blessed with an excellent memory, while the rest of us have difficulty remembering what we had for dinner the night before without some mental strain.

If you fall into the "poor memory" category, is it possible that might be holding you back in your career? Wouldn't you like to remedy that?

Give Your Memory the Boost it Deserves

Not being able to remember where you put your car keys or failing to recall something your spouse told you before heading out to run errands are annoying examples of forgetfulness. But that's all they are: annoying.

Neglecting a project deadline or failing to recall something else your boss told you are much more serious instances. Most people are able to take basic memory for granted, but there's a certain percentage of the population -- perhaps you are among them -- that has to work hard to counteract the pitfalls of poor memory.

Otherwise, it can hurt your career and cause you to miss out on promotions, lose customers, or commit careless errors that hurt your professional reputation. Every individual is different, but fairly simple memory-boosting tips appear to work across the board.

If you're attempting to improve your memory, you might try a few of these.

1. Deal With Health Issues

If your memory is performing very poorly, there's a possibility you have an underlying medical condition that affects your capacity for recall. For example, did you know that chronic snoring is often connected with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)?

Addressing a potential case of sleep apnea and snoring could give you a noticeable improvement in memory. Other conditions and diseases that affect memory include dementia, Parkinson's disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Make sure you stay on top of your health and treat both minor and serious illnesses at their onset.

2. Try Memory Techniques

Recognizing you have a problem with retaining information is half the battle. Once you're aware of your deficiencies in this area, you can become proactive.

Memory expert Christopher Taibbi suggests employing an effective cognitive technique to commit information to memory. Write down a list of words and each time a new piece of information is given to you, try to associate it with one of the items on your list.

For example, if the word "shoe" is on the list and someone tells you that the meeting is on the third floor, you might picture three shoes next to each other on the floor. Or perhaps you call up the mental image of the number three written in black marker on the bottom a shoe sole.

Another method is to select a neighborhood where you lived and associate the things you need to remember with structures or streets that surrounded your home.

Simple memory techniques like this empower us to associate information with other organized items, which is what the brain naturally tends to do. The more techniques you can add to your repertoire for various situations, the better off you'll be.

3. Get Physical Exercise

Believe it or not, physical exercise plays a substantial role in keeping your brain healthy and improving cognitive functioning. Aerobic exercise is especially good for the brain because it keeps the blood pumping.

Physical activities that require significant hand-eye coordination, such as playing tennis, are also great for building the brain.

4. Eliminate Stress

Finally, did you know that stress alters your brain? In fact, elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can deplete brain cells and hurt your memory (among other things).

If you want to improve your mental retention, then you need to find ways to reduce unnecessary stress from your life.

Take Memory Seriously

Some people are born with better memories than others; that's a scientific truth. But there's also plenty of evidence to suggest that memory is a skill that we can sharpen over time.

Perhaps it's time you started to prioritize your memory? Not only will this make you more confident in your personal life, but it's likely to have a positive influence on your career as well.