Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.
Celebrating 25 years in business! CPD Member - The CPD Certification Service ilm Recognised Provider

How to Improve your Memory

How to Improve Your Memory

How to Improve Your Memory

Here are ten top tips to improve your memory:

  1. Don't be distracted. Concentrate 100%.
  2. Use your imagination to associate what you wish to remember, with something you already know.
  3. Organise the information, so related things go together.
  4. Organise the information into a logical sequence.
  5. Visualise the information in the form of a mental image.
  6. Repeat what you want to remember at least five times.
  7. Soon after you have learned it, try to use the information.
  8. Periodically review information and drill it into your long-term memory.
  9. Eat fish; and stay away from alcohol.
  10. Sleep well. Go to bed early.

1. Don't be distracted - concentrate 100%.

The main reason you don't remember things, is that you never really learned it in the first place.

For example, when you are introduced to a new person, how often to you fail to really notice their name because you are distracted by their visual impact?

How often have you "read" a book, but not really concentrated on the meaning of the text, and when you finished reading, you found that you could not remember what you have read?

The main cause of memory failure, is the failure to concentrate.

So, the first way to improve your memory is to consciously concentrate 100% on the content.

Switch-on your brain; be determined to remember.

2. Organise the information so that "related things" are put together.

Your brain will more readily recall information that has been categorised into similar sets.

Take a look at this list.

Tiger, square, elephant, rose, grass, triangle, goat, circle, tree, sausage.

It would be more easily remembered if you organised this list into the following sets.

Sausage..... tiger, elephant, goat ..... square, circle, triangle .... rose, grass, tree.

Your brain will find things easier to recall if you first; group similar things together into categories.

3. Associate what you wish to remember with a memorable image.

Another way to improve your memory is through imagination and association.

Memory is best served when you associate what you want to remember, with something you already know, or can easily imagine. For example:

If you want to remember a person whose name is Elizabeth, then associate them with Queen Elizabeth. You can then picture them sitting on the throne, like Queen Elizabeth.

If you want to remember that the Americans joined WW2 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, imagine: an American flag riddled with bullet holes, with a Japanese soldier blowing into a peashooter and "firing" a stream of pearls through the American flag, with the flag bursting into flames. That image ties the American flag to bullet holes and Japanese and pearls. That image is enough to serve as a memory.

4. Organise the information into a logical sequence.

Your brain tends to remember only what it can understand. It tends to forget what it cannot understand.

The best way to understand and therefore remember something is to organise the information logically.

Try to organise things into a logical sequence.

You might organise information:

  • By size, smallest to the biggest (goat, tiger, elephant), or
  • By time, first, second, third, or
  • By location, closest to furthest, or
  • By cost, cheapest to the most expensive, or
  • By complexity, simplest to the most complex (circle, triangle, square), or
  • By quality, the worst to the best, or
  • By likeability, least preferred to most preferred, or
  • By problem / cause/ solution, or
  • By cause and effect, or by many other methods.

Impose order on the information and you will remember it better.

5. Visualise the information in the form of a mental image.

We all think in pictures. And memory is best served when you translate information into visual images, that are either a picture of what you want to remember, or it symbolises what you want to remember.

For example:

  • If you want to remember the word elephant, then picture Dumbo the elephant.
  • If you want to remember the word Justice, then picture a set of scales.
  • If you want to remember King George III, image George Clooney wearing a crown and talking to a bird (third).

6. Repeat what you want to remember at least five times.

Memory relies on repetition.

What does memory rely on?


Repetition is the foundation of memory.

You will remember something only if you repeat it at least five times.

If you repeat something five times, then the repetition will drive it into your memory.

Anything less than five repetitions just won't work.

It has to be repeated at least five times.

Get the idea?

7. Soon after you have learned it, try to use the information.

Have you ever heard the phrase; Use it or lose it?

It's true. Whatever you don't use, you'll lose.

If you don't use the information your brain will soon lose it.

So, try to use the person's name.

Try to use the multiplication tables.

Try to use your memory.

If you don't use your memory, you will lose your capacity memory.

8. Periodically review information and drill it deep into your long-term memory.

Sometimes your life does not provide you with opportunities to use the information you are trying to remember. In that case, you must impose a schedule of review.

For example, if you are an English person studying French, your opportunities to speak French on a daily basis are sparse.

Therefore, you need to instigate a regime of review.

You need to set time aside to go over old-ground and reinforce any knowledge that has started to fade away, due to lack of use.

You can do your reviews at odd moments on the train, or in the evenings. It's quite interesting to go over stuff that you THINK you know; but you discover that you don't know it, as well as you thought.

9. Eat fish; and stay away from alcohol.

Your brain is a biochemical machine that needs the physical resources to do the job. You can get the physical resources from eating well and drinking well.

That means eating plenty of fish and staying away from alcohol (which wrecks the brain function).

10. Sleep well. Go to bed early.

Your brain needs enough rest and recuperation. That means, go to bed early; and get 7 or 8 hours of regular sleep. Then your mind will be alert and well-functioning.

Our country needs many more alert, well informed and well-functioning brains.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Further Reading in Personal Effectiveness

  • How to Stop Worrying
    Many people spend too much valuable time, fretting and worrying over things which have happened; or might happen. Fretting and worrying doesn't change anything other than your emotional state.
    Read Article >
  • How to be Successful in Six Hours
    Success is not an event, it is a process. By breaking your goals down into smaller steps, you will find that you achieve greater success in the long term. Try the six-hour method of breaking down your day into manageable, achievable sections.
    Read Article >
  • The Difference Between an Asset and a Liability
    Do you have anyone in your life who takes a lot, but does not give much in return? Do you have any habits that are holding you back? Are you maximising your assets? Try a quiz to discover how good your work habits are.
    Read Article >
  • How Can I Make People Like Me?
    Everyone wants to be liked by others. Being honest and trustworthy, is a good start. Here are ten tips to remember if you want to be liked and admired by others. Try one today, you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
    Read Article >
  • Having the Last Word
    Many people have to have the last word in an argument, maybe it makes them feel powerful, or perhaps they just like arguing. By letting them have the last word, you then become the one with the empowerment, indicating that the discussion is closed.
    Read Article >

Looking for Personal Development Training?

If you're looking to develop your Personal Effectiveness Skills, you may find this Personal Development Training Course beneficial:

Open Training Course Pricing and Availability

13 - 14 December
Manchester City
£900 +VAT
18 - 19 December
London - Central
£900 +VAT
18 - 19 January
£900 +VAT
22 - 23 January
£900 +VAT
More dates and locations available
Save £100 on this course

Next Open Course Starts in 12 days, Manchester City, places available Book Now >