I have a hard time concentrating. Truthfully, I sat down to write this letter to you 20 minutes ago, but only just started typing. During that time I’ve thought about what I have to do later today, what I need to pack for an upcoming vacation and what my dream meant last night.
As you age, your ability to focus and remember things might not be as strong as it once was. And although everyone experiences some degree of decline with age, others experience more than others. And to a certain degree, it’s natural: as you acquire new memories, old ones become forgotten.
But having trouble focusing can make it hard to accomplish daily tasks and form new memories.
Here are some tips than can help you stay focused and boost your memory:
1. Look at People When They Talk to You
It’s easy to forget what someone tells you when you’re not focused on what they’re saying, and it can lead to big trouble. I don’t know how many times I’ve been chastised for forgetting the milk, but it’s totally my fault! An easy way to avoid this is to look directly at the person who is talking to you and listen closely. If you miss something, just ask!
2. Run the Info Back
After a person has finished telling you something, run back your own paraphrased version. So when you hear, “Pick up some milk from the grocery store. It’s on sale at the store on 5th street,” you can respond with, “Okay, then. I’ll save a few dollars and get it at the store on 5th!” Problem solved!
3. Shut out Distractions
Another thing that can sabotage focus and mess with your memory is background distraction. For example, I almost always have music playing in my home. I love it, but it makes it hard to get things done efficiently or remember things I’m told. So when I’m working, or someone starts talking to me, I shut the music off so I can give those things my undivided attention. I know if I leave the music on, I will be too focused on it to give adequate attention to more important stuff.
So much of what you remember comes down to focus. When you make an effort to be more present in what you’re doing, it can make things far easier to remember and save all kinds of stress!
Source for Today’s Article
“4 ways to improve focus and memory,” Harvard Health Publications, last updated July 19, 2016; http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/4-ways-to-improve-focus-and-memory, last accessed August 24, 2016.