How to Improve Short Term Memory

If you’re looking to improve short term memory, a few very simple activities can help you do it. Short term memory is also known by some psychologists and neuroscientists as working memory. Your short term memory only lasts for about thirty seconds to a minute, and it deals with things you’re currently thinking about or things you just learned.

Memories in your short term memory slot decay very quickly unless they’re transferred to your long term memory, where they can stay for a few days. If you’re looking to improve your short term memory, learning to repeat information to yourself, distinguishing between what needs to stay in your short term memory and what needs to move to long term storage, and improving your attention and concentration can all help.

Here are just a few ways to improve short term memory.

Repetition is Key

You may have learned in grade school that one way to improve short term memory is to repeat information to yourself. Well, that’s still true today. Even mnemonics and visualization don’t seem to work as well with short term memory as repetition does.

Instead of worrying about some fancy memory trick to improve short term memory, just remind yourself to constantly repeat pieces of information you need to remember. Whether it’s a name, a phone number, or the page of a book, repetition will keep the information in your short term memory long enough that you can act on it.

Repetition can also be a good way to get information from your short term memory to your long term memory.

To Move or Not to Move?

To improve short term memory, you may want to become more adept at understanding when you need to move information to your long term memory and when you need to just leave it in your short term memory. For instance, the phone number for the library that you just got online probably isn’t something you need to memorize forever, so just keep repeating it in your short term memory until you dial it and can forget it.

If you need to improve short term memory and your ability to move things to long term storage, you might work on more elaborate memory techniques. Things like visualization and mnemonics can help you encode and store memories for your long term memory, where you’ll be able to pull them out when you need them later on.

One of the keys to improving your memory is to not try to remember every single thing, but to work harder to remember the things you do need to remember. You can improve short term memory by picking and choosing what you concentrate on remembering.

Pay Attention

Lots of memory-improving games like crossword puzzles, brain teasers, and Sudoku actually improve short term memory rather than long term memory. These games focus on your ability to reason and to hold various pieces of information in your mind at once. In order to do this, you have to build focus and concentration.

Playing these games, as well as practicing ignoring distractions when you need to concentrate, can improve short term memory. With time, you’ll be able to reason with more pieces of information in your mind at once, which can help you work through problems, whether in a game or in real life, more easily.

In addition to this, simply focus on paying attention to your everyday life. Think about what things look like when you park your car or put away your keys. Then, you’ll develop more focus, and you’ll be less likely to forget where you put your keys or your car!