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How corporate executives can improve their memory at work and beyond
illustration by Todd Detwiler


"Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything"

Even in the era of Google search and smartphones, your memory matters. Why? For three reasons—the first two of which are from Olga Khazan, as reported in Forbes, and the third one’s from us:

1. Creating. “Creativity comes from a mind that knows, and remembers, a lot,” says William Klemm, a neuroscience professor at Texas A&M University.

2. Saving Time. “[People] squander 40 days annually compensating for things they’ve forgotten,” asserts author Joshua Foer in the book Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything.

3. Debating. In the heat of any real-time argument, there’s no substitute for having command of relevant facts, stats, and quotes, not to mention instant recall of who promised to do what at the last executive team meeting.

So, how can you improve your memory? Gabrielle Weidemann, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Western Sydney, offers two suggestions, as recently noted by Shane Parrish at FarnamStreetBlog.com:

1. Study. “Active study methods, such as rewriting information in your own words, quizzing yourself, or trying to teach somebody else,” are all useful.

2. Take breaks. Practice what Weidemann calls “spaced repetition”—or leaving intervals between study sessions. It also helps to rest directly after a review session, which “allows new memory traces to be consolidated better and hence to be retained for much longer.” In other words, review those meeting notes, take a break, and review them again. The meeting will be burnished into your memory.

#buildmemory

THE PLUS

Yes, there is an app for that.

Caffeine Zone is based on an idea that few people would challenge: Caffeine boosts short-term memory.

The app “generates a color-coded line chart of the user’s predicted caffeine level over a 24-hour period based on the number and type of caffeinated drinks a user consumes and when they are consumed,” writes Michael del Castillo in Upstart Business Journal.

“Different colors on the line chart represent areas optimal for different activities, such as sleeping and thinking.”

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