It takes much less time and energy than you may think to improve your memory. The main key is to use your imagination, focus on what you are trying to accomplish and follow through.

Your mind is capable of all sorts of diverse activities. It is constantly on, there is no ‘turn-off’ switch. In just seconds your mind is able to process information and retrieve it from all different areas of your brain. On demand, most of the time, your mind is able to process what you are seeing while someone is talking to you. It is capable of multi-tasking, but occasionally you have some information in the wrong file and it takes just a little more time to find it and pull it back. Much like looking for your car keys, the information is there but it takes some hunting to get it back.

How often have you been embarrassed by a lapse in memory? Most of the time these lapses are slight and insignificant, but what if you start to forget bigger things? Usually it doesn’t mean you are starting dementia, but simply you have to unclutter your mind and get it back into focus.

My name is Ron White, and I am a memory training expert, memory keynote speaker and two-time USA Memory Champion. I want to give you 10 easy tips that will start to put you back on track to a better memory.

1. Focus and pay attention. Most often our memories are not what they should be because we simply aren’t paying attention. If someone is talking to you, look at them as they speak. Focus on what they are saying. It only takes 8 seconds to completely focus on something and have it effectively transfer from short-long term memory.

2. Play the ‘Name Game.’ When you are about to meet a new person look at them as they approach you and find something unique about them you can associate with, like their regal nose or full lips. Pay attention to their face as they are introduced, and then repeat their name back to them to not only make sure you heard it correctly, but to reinforce it in your mind.

3. Utilize your surroundings. Use little tricks to help you remember, like moving your watch from the wrist you usually wear it on to the other. When you look at your watch, and realize it’s on the wrong arm, you will remember why you put it there to remind you of something.

4. Exercise for your body and your brain. Exercise gets the blood circulating throughout your body and to your brain. Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen you take in daily. If you increase your oxygen you will increase your brain power.

5. Use visualization and association. Form pictures in your mind to help you remember, associate them with something personal. You are more apt to remember something that is personal to you than just random thoughts.

6. Practice memory chunking. When you have a list of items you need to remember, group them into smaller sections that you can recall easier. Example: If you have 12 vocabulary words, group them into 3 or four words to learn at a time.

7. Practice the Loci Method – Take something familiar, like a room in your house, and put items you want to remember on a piece of furniture. Then, when you want to recall them you will link them to the furniture piece they are placed on. You can do this physically or in your mind – or you could use a bus route, or houses on the block – anything you can associate with to make it easier to remember.

8. Restrict drinking. Light to moderate drinking (occasionally) can not hurt you, but excessive drinking can damage your memory, and your liver.

9. Get plenty of rest. A well rested body is a well rested mind. Make sure you get plenty of sleep (6-8 hours nightly). Lack of sleep makes it hard to concentrate.

10. Seek help for depression. Studies show that prolonged depression increases the size of the hippocampus and decreases memory. If you are depressed, talk to someone who can help you.

Most of all – Practice! All great athletes have to practice in order to perfect their craft. Practice and repeat what you want to remember. Practice makes perfect!