Started to struggle with memory


For years I haven’t had any struggles with my memory, until year and a half ago, about half a year into my first job as IT engineer, it might have got a bit repetitive after a while, but I were able to learn new stuff, overcome new challenges that I have never dealt before with, it was fun in it’s own way, until I caught myself losing grip on my memory, before I could’ve easily remember numbers, passwords and any thing that I have heard at least once, it defined me as fast learner, someone that doesn’t have to take notes, remembers everything even after few days passed. I really starting to miss that side of me, because what I am now, is not what I was, I’m still interested in learning new things, even if it takes me longer, but for small details I have to take notes, and that is not what I had to do before.

I haven’t used any memory techniques or anything before, it was just part of me for as long as I can remember, but now everything is different, and I need help with that.

Have anyone here ever went through that? What recommendations could you give if any? I can’t hold on anymore even to a single shopping list even if it includes 8 items, from them I would forget 1 or 2 things and I am starting to hate myself for that, because it’s not what I want, my memory is the strongest side of me and I want to get it back to where it was.

(Josh Cohen) #2

Could it be from things like getting less sleep, less exercise, or increased stress?


Before working, while I still were on my degree, I was getting about 5-7 hours of sleep for about 3-4 years, after getting a job I started sleeping for 8-9 hours, sometimes even 10, because I feel tired after sleeping any less, unless sleeping more started messing with me, maybe more relaxed even than ever, might be because of not exercising enough. About exercising, yes, I do exercise a lot less, because of not having time to visit the gym while it is working. There was some stress for some time while getting hang of things, but later on I don’t believe that I had been more stressful than before


Your first priority should be to visit your GP. You need to reassure yourself that your memory problems are not symptoms of a more serious problem.


I have the same problem.
GP’s shrug their shoulders.
My wife tells me that it’s simply that these things I’m forgetting just aren’t important to me. Hmm!

There are at least 2 variables here:

1 exercise
2 computers and tech

Tech seems to have a negative effect on memory.
I’ve been reading some philosophy and the medium we communicate has a message in of itself. Thus, the dynamic changing nature of tech could change our memory.

I THINK the more I use tech the more I have this problem. Perhaps we need to journal our memory performance and compare to a journal made by the tech.

For the tech journal, I use ‘your hour’ on Android.
For the memory journal perhaps a standardised test of some sort the same time once a week would be alright?

(Josh Cohen) #6

I’ve noticed that having a smartphone has negatively affected me. Uninstalling most of the apps and turning off almost all notifications has helped me improve focus.

Related thread: Digital Minimalism.


I gave it some thought for the past few days about everything that I have went through past few years, and I have begun changing some things around, there was more small things than I initially thought. If there really are others that struggle with the same things, I really would like to discuss this matter about small things.

As for things that I had changed, there were quite a few, even though small, but to know if something about that will have any effect, months could pass to see if it has any effect.

Few bigger things that I had changed:

Exercising - I never exercised that much before, but for few years not I haven’t exercised almost at all, but exercised sometimes, never were quite able to exercise at home, I need external stimulation for that, so I have started going to the gym, if only for up to an hour every few days, will have to see if that leads me anywhere, maybe it will help with sleeping better, that’s the main reason for that.

Stress - Biggest thing that I have given most of my thoughts, I almost don’t have any stress anymore, well, sometimes, for example if important data is the matter on a “broken computer”, like faulty RAID array, working on things like that is stressing, but I lived on stress every day before, working my balls off, trying everyday to be better than everyone else, because as my name suggest, I am a perfectionist, if I’m not at the top, I have to work to be there, if I don’t like the project that I’m working on, I work harder on it till I like it. After starting working in no time I became one of the best in the company, at least in my field, and because of that a lot of stress went off my shoulders, because I was better than others, I learned to do things quicker, I reached my goal, meaning I had less stress, so yesterday I have joined a project just for fun, to challenge myself.

Smoking - this is the one thing that I don’t want to change back, I quit smoking cigarettes completely around 2 years ago, I have my nicotine fix with vaping, or like some would say, with electronic cigarettes, it’s not the same, but it is working very well with my addiction, I’m happy with that, even though I sometimes miss normal cigarettes, but never slip back and not even try one.

Other smaller things would include eating habits, getting out of bed just after waking up and not being lazy ass for up to half an hour, showering every day (yes I had been slacking off on that and showering every other day, only sometimes every day, sometimes not at all at weekends).

There is one new thing that I had picked up for about a month now, every day before going to sleep I am trying to meditate, not just that, I just calm myself, clear my head and try to go through my day step by step, when I did got out of bed, when and what I ate, what did I do today for what time approximately, that way I sometimes start to remember things, that I wouldn’t just told normally if I would have been asked what have I did that day, it helped me to become more concentrated through the day, it is starting to become like a game now of what so interesting I could tell myself in the evening.

(Josh Cohen) #8

I don’t know if it could be related – it looks like the research hasn’t been done yet, but this article mentions: “Her group is now exploring possible effects of vaping on memory…”

There’s some information on memory and cigarettes here, but it doesn’t say whether the effects are from the smoke or nicotine. The article also says, “He and the other researchers acknowledged that their new study was small and relied on self-reports of smoking, which would be subject to inaccuracy and dishonesty on the part of participants”, so that doesn’t look reliable either. :thinking:

I agree with OldGrantonian that it would be worth checking with a doctor about anything that might be health-related.


Well, I did went to GP, it didn’t said anything new, got send to do few health test, results should come at Friday, but I don’t think that anything would be promising, still worth a shot and to spend few hours.

As for vaping related research, it’s pretty early for long term tests yet, it will be too early even after another few years, only thing that was tested on large scale was lung damage and other health hazards that smoking brings, compared to that, it’s about 95% healthier, but who knows about other risks it might bring, that is still grey territory. I might now have cleaner lungs (according to health tests, not just thinking that it is), but might have other problems that is unknown.



I have struggled with this problem for several years until relatively recently. Two things ended up making a difference:

  1. Reduction in caffeine
  2. Regular memory use

My reduction in caffeine stemmed from the fact that I started experiencing severe anxiety, inability to focus (and thus an inability to remember), and migraines during intense workouts. Though you may not have these symptoms, if you work at a job like me where there are a million distractions every minute, caffeine exasperates the difficulty concentrating on one problem at a time making memory alot harder to effectively utilize. I love coffee so i had to switch to decaf for now at least (I’ve heard it is a phase). Hopefully someday I’ll get to go back to caffeine.

The regular use of memory is probably a given but I’ve found that when i go long periods without pushing my mental faculties, they tend to deteriorate in certain areas, memory being the first to go. Fortunately, this forum helped me deal with that problem to a certain extent.

#1 above was really the biggest help. First world being what it is now, we are conditioned to always be “on”. Distractions are hard enough to deal with even without the effects of caffeine. Anyway, it might be something to consider.


I’ve been working in IT for a few years too, coded websites, small and big, and games.

I’ve had some memory problems too for a while, well actually, I always considered myself as having a bad memory; That’s why I got interested in mnemonics in the first place.

But last summer, I took a long break and made some changes in my career and lifestyle to focus more on my personal life and less on career.

The year before was the one where I was the most focussed and driven into coding.
I learned everyday about coding in a way or an other, and I practiced memorization as a hobby the rest of the time.
Yet, I still forgot the names and faces of people around me plus any random things related to me, my personal life and my relatives.

I realized that I was focusing so much on work that I didn’t even take the minimum attention needed to my personal matters for them to stick in my mind.

Think of it this way, spaced repetition is needed to memorize anything.

Most people remember the name, faces of new friends because they naturally let their mind wander around during the day.
That random wandering is enough to apply spaced-repetition to all your personal-life- related facts, such as your friends and relatives lifes and yours.

But if you’re focussed on one work or an other all the time, then you don’t have that minimum of attention dedicated to your own life-facts.

And I don’t know about you, but personally, in school, I would sleep or day-dream half of the time, that must have been what let me stay sane at the time.

Now that I’m working however, I don’t get “breaks” where I just get to listen to someone tell me something I already know that lets me day-dream…
Hence, my stress became to high last year and I needed a huge break to catch-up on years of ignoring myself, then changes to develop a better life-style.



As for me, even if I’m focusing on work, I still find some time for other activities, like having a beer or two with friends, playing chess just for fun and etc.

And as I mentioned before, I am a perfectionist, and I looked at school, especially in later years as a challenge, not as daily routine, that was one thing that kept me sane and on top of the class, because my goal was that top of the class, being better, if I’m not, I would just spend more time, same thing happened when I started working, I didn’t knew how to do micro soldering for example, but as I learned how to solder before, micro soldering only took few days of practice and that was it, I was let to take care of clients computers that needed soldering, if I didn’t knew how to do something else, I learned it, work hours or not, I was learning. Nowadays it’s not that much of a challenge to figure something out, because majority of things that I do, I already did before and practice makes it perfect.

As for faces and names, I was and am terrible with that, people that I chat more, I can recognize, put names on faces, but seeing someone shortly just for one time before, I just can’t recognize them even the day after that.

For last few weeks some extra stuff that I put myself into is starting to help a little bit, even if I need to repeat something to myself for few times, I don’t need to look at my notes as much, even tho I’m nowhere near with my memory as it was before, but maybe, just maybe I can work my way to it even if it was just a natural thing before.

And an update about GP - all test that I was put through, nothing unusual, everything is just fine, so nothing new on that.


My recommandation would still be to move your priority from learning technical stuff,
to be more engaged socially.

Look up the researches about the mental health benefits of socializing.
If you want your memory to feel more “natural”, I’m pretty sure that socializing, exercice and a bare minimum of meditation and sleep is the way to go, rather than more techniques and brain-hack.

Socializing seems to be the biggest factor and it’s less obvious than the others in my opinion.

You can always google it, there seems to be a bunch on research on that matter.

Plus, even if it’s not helping memory as much as you’d expect, it’s still good habits to have anyway so there’s no wrong in trying it :slight_smile:

(rav) #14


I get worried about memory as I tend to check things so many times, I am a student and for my disseration thats why ive decided to look into memory. For me I believe its my short term memory which likes to play up, but i think it can be controlled if i change my habits.

But in terms of forgetting numbers and passwords, its likely to be caused by stress, maybe the responsibility of having a new job. So a lot of external factors. Im looking into training techniques that could maybe help adults improve their working memory. If anyone would like to contribute it would be a great help in understanding at what age we begin to juggle with memory and if these training techniques could help us in anyway. Please fill in a survey, it includes a memory test and pass it on to friends and family.

Participant Invitation

Study Title: Using the development skills of memory in children, can this technique be used to improve Working memory in adults?

You are invited to take part in a research study that I am conducting as part of my studies in psychology at the University of Derby. The study looks at Working Memory training and age. The participants will be asked to perform a word recall test and half of the participants will also be asked to perform a Working Memory training activity. The study will take 25 minutes. If you are interested in taking part in the study.

Best wishes,

Researcher: Ravinder Gill, [email protected]

Supervisor: Rhian Worth, [email protected], Telephone number: 01332 592818.

In order to take part in the study:


1- you have to be fluent in the English Language

2- you need to be between the ages of 40- 71

3- take the survey on a PC or laptop device.

Please choose from the options below:

Survey option 1 with training:

Survey option 2 no training:

Thank you for your participation.



Okay, people can only hold between 4 to 6 items in thier mind without any memorising techniques by repeating vocally in the mind (phonological loop). So this is normal for everyone and with 8 items that shouldn’t affect your judgment of memory because it isn’t linked to performance.

Okay, techniques start with loci and go from there! Good luck!