Improve Your Memory While You WaitHave you ever been introduced to someone and immediately forgotten their name? It can be a frustrating experience. A few years ago, I made a resolution to work on that.

Like the muscles in your body, your brain can be strengthened and trained. With the right mental exercises, you can increase your ability to process and recall information. In fact, many memory training exercises can be performed in your spare time, when standing in lines, waiting in lobby areas and even while relaxing in the comfort of your own home.

Memory enhancement can improve your work productivity.

Practice Memorization

When you walk into a room, spend a few minutes studying the objects and furniture around you. Create a narrative in your head that describes each object in the room, including its color and position. Break information into small digestible chunks while you do this—shorter bits of information are often easier to remember than longer bits. When you’re done memorizing what you see, close your eyes and test yourself.

Play Video Games

Do you have a smartphone? Do you like playing video games? Studies show that video games designed to enhance cognitive function really do work. Some video games around the web are even designed to improve memory. You can find and download various memory-enhancing games online and play them in public places from waiting rooms to buses. Be considerate to those around you by using headphones to mask any sounds. I am waiting for my son to use this logic on me to play more Xbox.

Create a Sharp Focus

Pay close attention to whatever object or scene you’re trying to memorize. Stare at it carefully for at least eight seconds. As you count down in your head, allow your eyes to roam carefully over the object and look at it with more scrutiny than you would normally use for any ordinary subject of your attention. When you’ve done this for eight seconds, close your eyes and try to remember the object in its entirety.

Memorize Text

You already know that memorization requires you to break things down into small digestible chunks. In the case of text, lists, and long written documents, memorization must take place over a period of many days. If you’re attempting to memorize a long poem, commit a few lines to memory. Then repeat them to yourself the next day, and the day after this. Repeat slowly while adding more lines to the chunks you have already memorized.

Use Vivid Visual Images

Vivid visual images are more likely to stand out in our memory than ordinary or uninteresting images. If you’re trying to remember the names of the people in the room with you, imagine their names printed in bold letters on their foreheads. Repeat this practice whenever you encounter this person. Over time, you will come to associate this image with your memory of the person.

Get Plenty of Rest and Stay Healthy

If your body can’t function properly, neither can your brain. Studies published by Harvard Medical School show good memory depends on adequate sleep and eating the right foods. Inadequate sleep negatively impacts your body’s ability to acquire process and recall information. To improve your memory, increase your total sleep time to the recommended seven to eight hours per night. In addition, foods high in mono and polyunsaturated fats, like nuts, olive oil and fish, are believed to promote brain health and improve memory function.