Want to sharpen your focus at work? Try honing your ability to retain and recall important details.
Matthew Jenkin shares five simple yet creative strategies for remembering more of what you read
It’s Monday morning and you’re sitting at your desk, trying to read an article that you’ll need to remember for a meeting later in the week. But wait – here’s an email from the boss you need to reply to. Suddenly the phone rings. Oh, and Sally from marketing is doing a tea round. Before you know it, your mind has been pulled in so many directions you’ve forgotten everything you just read. Sound familiar?
A recent survey by the University of California estimates that we’re bombarded with 34Gb of information a day, twice as much as 30 years ago. Office workers, meanwhile, are interrupted on average every three minutes. Small surprise, therefore, that our concentration spans are shrinking.
The digital age is also having a detrimental impact on our ability to retain information. Studies show that the ease with which we can find information on the internet means that recall memory (the ability to spontaneously call information up in your mind) is being replaced by recognition memory (knowing where the information is and how to access it).
Whether it’s giving a presentation or learning a new skill, recall memory remains essential for success at work. So here are five ways you can help yourself to retain more of what you read.
1. Hit the pause button
2. Try spaced repetition
3. Read and write on paper
4. Draw a mind map
5. Use online tools