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There’s a lot more your brain can do when you understand how it works best.
It can help you remember detailed facts. It can keep you firmly focused on your goals. And, it can unleash a creative side you didn’t know you had.
Before I explain a simple technique for giving your brain the space it needs to function optimally, let me tell you about…
The Secrets to Learning and Retaining Knowledge
There’s no doubt about it that technology has brought us an abundance of information. Whether through 24-hour streaming news or Wikipedia, there’s more data available now to the average person than ever before.
But, guess what?
This easy-to-access data hasn’t made us either better thinkers or better learners.
In fact, studies show that most people spend around 50 minutes per day on Facebook alone. That’s a big chunk of someone’s waking hours! And, of course, it’s not just Facebook–Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube (to name but a few!) are also stealing valuable time from most of the population.
The information and stories we see on these apps rarely stick in our minds (can you remember what you read on Facebook last summer?). It’s always quantity over quality. It’s no wonder then that social media apps are not regarded as good places to learn.
However, it’s not just social media apps that fail the learning test.
Formal education has its own issues when it comes to learning. Students like you and me are effectively force-fed information that we have no option but to try and remember if we’re to pass our exams and graduate from college.
While this might sound reasonable, you only have to look at how unprepared for work and life most students are after leaving college. They have lots of knowledge – but very little experience in applying it in real life.
What I’ve discovered over the years is that unless we use the information that we’re exposed to – we’re bound to forget it.
Let me give you now an example of poor learning and effective learning.
Imagine for a moment that you’ve decided to learn how to play the piano. While you don’t own a piano, you’re confident that by watching a 12-part YouTube series on how to play the piano, you’ll make some positive first steps. You even join a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to new piano players.
You could watch piano tutorial videos for months on end, but without actually putting your fingers on a piano keyboard – you’ll never make any progress.
If you really wanted to learn how to play, then you’d be much better off taking lessons with a tutor. And ideally, you’d also get yourself an acoustic or electronic piano – to allow you to practice at home.
Take this learning route, and I guarantee you’ll make good progress.
It’s the difference between hearing about how to play piano, and actually getting on with playing it!
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with watching piano tutorial videos if you’ve got a real tutor too. But always remember, that knowledge without application usually leads you down a dead end road.
My advice is to filter out information that won’t help you in life (think social media feeds!), and focus on the stuff that you can put into positive action in your life.
Get Smart with Your Smartphone
Let’s face it, there’s so much information bombarding our brains throughout every day that it would be impossible to retain even a fraction of it.
Whether via TV, radio or the internet – the stream of information is incessant.
If we try to keep up with everything, we’ll end up feeling not just overwhelmed – but massively stressed, too.
Fortunately, there’s a simple way to ensure that you can capture and retain the important information that comes your way.
How does this work?
Through the use of what I like to call your Digital Brain.
Just think for a moment how good it would be if you could instantly capture your ideas, and come back to them at the touch of a button.
Well, with the assistance of your Digital Brain, you’ll be able to do just that. No more struggling to remember things.
Your Digital Brain is of course nothing other than your smartphone. A device that you no doubt carry with your wherever you go. And your smartphone is really just a miniature computer.
And, in contrast to a human brain, computers are fantastic at storing information. They can capture and store almost unlimited amounts of data – and with extreme reliability and accuracy.
Computer memory has three key elements:
- Recording – storing the information
- Organization – archiving it in a logical manner
- Recall – retrieving it again when you need it
Let me give you an example of how your Digital Brain can help you out in your day-to-day life.
It’s 7:35 in the evening, and you’ve finally found online the holiday you’ve been searching for over the last few days. As you click to make the booking, the first thing you’re prompted to do is to sign up for an account (you’ve never used this particular site before).
You use your email address as your username, but your standard password isn’t accepted as it’s too short and lacks a special character. You spend a few minutes thinking of a new password. You enter it. And it’s accepted. However, a few minutes later… you’ve already forgotten it!
This common scenario could easily be resolved if you’d made a note of your password with a secure notepad app such as Safe Notes.
Even if you’d had to come back to the holiday booking site in a year’s time, your Digital Brain (with the assistance of the Safe Notes app) would be able to provide you the information you need in an instant.
As well as giving you the ability to capture, store and access information, your Digital Brain also provides you with an unexpected benefit: the freedom to think!
That’s right. When we stop trying to remember everything, and let our Digital Brain take the strain, our mind is set free to think creatively and positively. You’ll also experience much less mental fatigue and fogginess.
These Apps Will Give Your Memory a Boost
As you’ve seen so far, your smartphone can act as a second brain – and help you store and recall all the information you need to know and remember.
But to get the most out of your smartphone, I recommend installing one of the following apps (if you haven’t already):
Airtable – works like a spreadsheet but gives you the power of a database to organize anything and everything.
Evernote – helps you capture and prioritize ideas, projects, and to-do lists, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Google Keep – this free app allows to quickly and easily capture what’s on your mind. You can add notes, lists, photos, and even audio.
Each of these apps will give you the power to jot down notes at the touch of a button. And it’s just as easy to find and display these when notes when you need them.
There is of course just one obstacle to overcome before you can really start benefiting from you Digital Brain. Namely, your habits!
You’ve probably spent decades trying to remember and recall things using just your human brain. This way of thinking will have become a very strong habit for you. That’s why you’ll need to make a determined effort to keep noting down new and important information into your Digital Brain. My recommendation to you is to do this for at least 30 days. After that, you should find that it becomes an automatic thing for you.
Your human brain energy is too precious to be wasted on information overload. So instead, let your Digital Brain sweat the small stuff and free your mind for greater things!