How can I improve my short term memory?

I’m 30 years old, and I’ve always had what I believe are short term memory problems. This is characterized by:

  1. Being given multiple tasks and notes. If for example I’m sitting with my boss and he asks me to do X, Y, Z, once he asks me for the second task (Y), I immediately forget what X was, because now all of my focus goes to what task Y should be. If I don’t write everything down, I’ll never remember.
    After a few hours or days, memories of the above come to me and I can think about it more clearly, but it doesn’t always happen.

  2. Drawing a detail out of memory. If I am asked multiple questions one after the other, I sometimes get confused and fail to answer. Only after some time (hours, or maybe days), I’ll think about this and remember the answer/s.

  3. Forgetting words during a conversation. This one is pretty strange. I think about the sentence I want to say, I think about that particular word, I know I’m going to use this specific word, and then while speaking, I just forget the word I wanted to use. Stranger thing is that I can think about some of the letters of that word, but I can’t remember it whole. Again, only after some time (during the conversation usually) I manage to remember what that word is.

  4. Remembering certain events that occurred during that day. For example if I meet with family, and the kids are doing or saying sweet and fun things, after this is over, I just have a hard time remembering what happened.
    Same goes with movies, or TV shows. If there is a long conversation, during the conversation I just can’t bring myself to remember what they were saying 10-15 seconds ago. Or, after a movie ends, I forget a lot of details.

  5. Being asked to do multiple things by multiple people. I don’t know if it’s really a memory problem, but lets say my boss asks me to do something, and 5 minutes later a friend asks me to help him - I completely forget that I was given an assignment just 5 minutes ago and go help my friend. This really annoyed a former boss of mine :slight_smile:

That’s it, though I can’t help and wonder if I forgot some other problems. I do believe I have good long term memory. I can remember details that are not significant to me at all (for example a detail about the friend of a friend) or names, and other stuff, but like I said, the short term memory is the problem.

I am asking this question here because I want to know if there is something that can be done about this. Be it memory exercises (I’m doing some already), supplements, diet (I hear fish is good but unfortunately I’m not a big fan :slight_smile:) , whatever, please let me know.

Thank you!

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I’m sometimes having quite similar problems, also tend to forget a word during a conversation, so I would really like some advice too. Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

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You seem to have “attention” related issue!

Try “meditation” to strengthen your attention and lower your stress.

Try “Pythagorean memory technique” everyday before going to sleep or after waking up. This will force and train your brain to pay attention to details,and to recall things!

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Wow, read about the Pythagorean memory technique, it sounds amazing! I’ll definitely try it out starting today.

Also, what you said about attention, it’s also true I believe. I see it mainly when:

  • I listen to someone and just like that can start thinking about something else, so I miss on some things said.

  • I try to read something important, but get bored after a while and just get up from my chair and start moving around, or go lie on the bed. This actually happened when I read about the Pythagorean memory technique!

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For anyone who hasn’t seen it, there is a page about it here: A Bedtime & Morning Exercise for Life Memorization (Pythagoras)

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Do you have a good sleep schedule? Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep daily. Makes a major difference. Also you could bump up your caffeine intake but avoid getting addicted. I can’t function at my full potential or focus without an espresso shot daily and that’s a bad thing.

I’m sure these tips combined with the correct techniques should fetch you decent results.

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I highly regard sleep, regardless of memory, so I make sure to sleep 6-8 hours (try to go to sleep at about 22:00 and wake up at 6:00, while in theory it’s 8 hours, it does take time to fall asleep, sometimes I wake up at night, etc.).

I don’t drink coffee at all, only tea, and am trying to drink only caffeine free tea, so no problems here I think.

Thanks for the tips, I am really excited to continue using the Pythagorean memory technique as well, as was suggested by @elitely.

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Welcome nettek! I have exactly the same problem s as you. Focus on creating and using memory palace s an have saved me from most times these affect me so you’re at the Right place!
And the more I develop my creativity needed to create and link images to my memory palaces, the sharper my mind gets also, which is one of my most important and satisfy ing discovery.

Also regular use of brain games help, I use brainhq and every day they have a free one . Also readspeeder.com has a game free 100% that I use after which I forget less + attention goes up.
Ps. It’s more the attention problems that lead to forgetting like you described, and man, I know it’s tough and discouraging.
I also strongly suggest breathing exercises also like the 4-7-9 or 478 breathing exercises https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRPh_GaiL8s

Cheers , and have fun no matter what, lower the stress as much as you can related to learning and start small

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If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s also a memory & brain games page on the site. :slight_smile:

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I also find dr.weil’s breathing method,that you mentioned here,is very effective for falling asleep very fast. It amazes me how fast I fall asleep after doing his breathing method for sleep! Crazy!

@cameri Thank you for the tips, and the links.
I do have a question about the memory palace. From what I read, it’s used to memorize stuff. How does that help with attention problems? Or does it not at all?

I also have a question for everyone about the Pythagorean memory technique. It’s a somewhat dumb question but I have to ask.
From what I understand, you need to recall every detail of the day when you go to sleep, but on the other hand, it should take only 5 minutes. So, for example, if I watched a TV show, am I supposed to recall everything that happened in the show, the dialog, the events, etc, or am I just supposed to remember that I watched a certain episode?

It completely changed the game for me. Memory palaces indirectly help me TREMENDOUSLY with my attention.

I’ll try to explain but please take it easy on me, it’s an emotional subject and I doubt that I’ll be able to correctly express how. Here I go!

From my personal experience with attention deficit, when I try to follow someone in a conversation, before I am done focusing on the first word he said, the person has already spoken a dozen! So I end up discouraged, stressed, lost, and I am forced to put all effort into fooling the person by pretending to understand and to follow.

I later realised that what I thought to be short term memory problems when immediately forgetting lyrics to a song, listening to someone, forgetting what I am reading, what have you, were actually this same attention problem.

Memory palaces made me realize this because I don’t need to get stuck on the first word anymore, instead I encode everything in images which in turn I put in a memory palace, all on the go, and if I didn’t understand, I recall it and make sense out of it then. When I recall and when I create the palace, I am the creator, attention no longer is a problem, it seems as though with every image I create my disappearing focus and attention refreshes, and boy is it a breath of fresh air!
I got better with time, way better, and now it just doesn’t matter whether I am more or less attentive.

Anyone can do it I believe, you just have to start small but don’t stop, a bit everyday grab one tiny thing you want to remember, make an image out of it, and stick in weirdly in your shower, or in your favourite spot in a restaurant or wherever, then next time, when you think of something else to add, you can put on the cash register, etc.

The problems you shared with us, I had them all, now I don’t thanks to memory techniques. The effects these have and have had on my attention and my memory and my life in a whole are so big I’m at a loss of words.

Perhaps one has to live it to fully understand it. Or I’m not so good with words, by the way, sorry for the too long of a post!

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The Most common problems in human - Depression, Over thinking, late night sleep.

If you living simple and easy life So you would be never get the short memory issue.

I faced this problem and doing meditation, yoga.

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First, thanks for sharing your story (and no need to apologize)! It was really nice reading how you had a problem and then overcame it.

The problem you described at the start of your post is somewhat similar to mine. I don’t really have any problems following conversation at the beginning, but if I’m told multiple things I’m starting to lose focus. So far, from what you said and what everyone here said, it is an attention issue. I can understand that - today I was at some lecture and, not surprised, I just forgot almost everything.

I do have a question however. You say you use the memory palace technique to recall what others are saying to you. But how do you manage to both listen to a person and encode their words in images, place those images in your “palace”, etc. ?

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It took me a long time to get and it was not planned. It actually started out when I started to record bits of info I wanted to put in a memory palace. I got faster and faster. One day, I just couldnt keep up with a friend that was sharing something important and I had been fed up for a millionth time with my listening problems and ashamed of pretending to be listening and understanding… and I guess I just gathered all the courage needed (believe me, I had no clue what I was doing for the first seconds) and only after I realized what I had tried to do and got a glimpse that it was possible.

So the times where I really miss too much of whats being shared with me, I start to transform some of the words coming out of my friends mouth in images, just like I was doing with my recordings (audio)and my reading, and just focusing on my creations I naturally get back to understanding what is being said without missing a thing, or almost.

I just realized how far fetched this sounds, but I bet if you tried you could do it to

PS Sorry, as you may have guessed, Im Cameri :::: ericam Didnt mean to have 2 accounts… just have a problem with my other which is on my tablet. sorry for the possible confusion

So the first time you started doing this was when talking to your friend?

From what I know, the memory palace technique is placing those images in some “route” (for example, the way you take when you walk from your room to your kitchen). Is that what you do?

Confirm that this is doable, you even end up getting the ability to think in images exclusively and abstractly.

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Actually no, it was when I started doing it with my audio recordings. I hadn’t thought about trying it when in an actual live conversation. I mean, you have the face expression, everything that comes with human encounters… But one day I just surprised myself starting to listen in images, like Ive been doing with reading and my audio for a while now,and it was just a matter of practice to get to placing the images in a memory palace.

Keep in mind it’s not verbatim and far from it, an image every few words and it varies. But it does the trick. And for once in my life I don’t forget everything and know what is being said to me.

What’s cool is the palaces I use on the go for this I don’t need to plan them beforehand, I just use whatever comes to mind, sometimes being our body’s, sometimes the place were at, or some place the first set of words make me think of ; AnD I practically never recall more than once and it doesn’t show. Also I almost never kept track of these palaces and those pretty much dissapear.

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I just wrote a few post with real examples of me doing this. You might think it’s different but it’s not, it’s actually the exact same process. I used audio from a language course.

If you try this you’ll perhaps think you can’t, but just start with just one word , or like me, with an image. Around 10 years ago when I discovered memory techniques (thank you sooooo crazy much Dominic O’BRIEN!!!) I just went on pexels website and right there on their first page I used whatever images were there and try to place them around my room, etc.