6 Ways to Boost Your Memory and Concentration

Learn how to exercise your mind and train your brain to recall more information, which will give you a leg up in business.
Brain power

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Your real estate business can pull you in multiple directions with many people. Your schedule would likely overwhelm most human beings. Sometimes, it’s tough to remember everything.

Being able to access your mind’s full potential will give you an edge over others in the business.

“Obviously, if you’re able to focus, concentrate, and remember better, then you are going to be able to make stronger connections with all of your clients and agents, and in turn, gain more business,” says Luis Angel Echeverria, memory training expert and founder of AE Mind. He also authored the book Better Memory Now.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to remember a conversation you had with a potential client or agent, so you can bring it up the next time you run into that individual? “Most of the memory issues that we face come from a lack of focus,” Echeverria says. “We have trained our minds to be attentive to multiple things at the same time, so when it comes down to paying attention to one thing, our mind begins to wander off.”

Everyone has memory lapses to some degree, says Daniel Schacter, the William R. Kenan Jr. professor of psychology at Harvard University. He has researched many aspects of memory and concentration, and wrote Searching for Memory and The Seven Sins of Memory. Memory isn’t perfect at any age. But as we get older, certain aspects of our memory become vulnerable and can distort things, Schacter says. Once we reach our 50s, 60s, and 70s, we are less effective at recalling memories without cues or reminders.

In the real estate industry, a memory lapse could mean losing a deal or client; it could also lead to mismanagement at the company level. Here are six ways to boost your memory and concentration to help with all your areas of life, including your real estate business.

1. Recall, retrieve, and repeat. Schacter explains that the most common complaint among people who are getting older is remembering names. Most the time, when we meet someone new, we often don’t remember their names because we are focusing on other things. Schacter has a simple technique to hang on to names. First, repeat the name to yourself. Process the name and get in in your memory with some meaning behind it. Wait a few seconds, then recall the name again in your mind. Do this several times but stretch out the retrieval on a longer time span. Spacing out periods of study can help improve memory and is particularly helpful when you need to try and understand complicated information such as a new real estate procedure or task.  

2. Exercise. Cardio workouts not only help your body but can also be very effective for keeping your memory strong, says Echeverria. He listened to Dr. Majid Fotuhi, medical director at the NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Center in Virginia, speak at the USA Memory Championship about his studies on the effects of exercise on the brain. “Throughout a lot of his studies, it has been proven that the size of the hippocampus—which is linked to long-term memory—grows with regular cardio exercise,” Echeverria says.

3. Take more detailed notes. On Monday, you take out your orange sticky pad and write the name John, but by Wednesday, you’re wondering who John is and why you wrote the note. Sound familiar? Schacter says you can’t simply rely on writing down a phone number or a name. Sure, it seemed obvious at the time you wrote it down. But details help memory. Make sure you write enough information so that you can deal with the situation properly, even if it’s a week later. And if you put information in your calendar, make sure to enter enough details to help you understand what’s involved in your appointment.

4. Meditate. If you set aside time to meditate in the morning and make it a habit, you will improve your concentration levels throughout the day, Echeverria says. “Even if you have to start off with just three to five minutes and work your way up to 10 to 15 minutes, just do it,” he says.

Try these meditation exercises recommended by Echeverria: 10 to 15 minutes of positive visualization where you visualize your day, week, and month fully finished, with you accomplishing all of you goals; 10 to 15 minutes of complete mental silence where you focus on a blue beam of light in your mind’s eye.

5. Stay busy. Research from the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study that involved 330 adults ages 50 to 89 showed those with higher “busyness” scores also had better cognitive function scores than those with lower busyness numbers. Busyness effects episodic memory, which is the memory of past events, such as times and places.

6. Incorporate daily memory training exercises. Positive thoughts create a positive environment in your mind so it can grow, Echeverria explains. “Start off by telling yourself that you do have an amazing memory and that you can focus,” he says. He offers hundreds of free videos on his website, AEMind.com, that reinforce the benefits of positive thinking and train people to improve focus and memory.

“Remember that visualization is key to your memory. If you use that more often, and you will see your concentration and memory skills improve,” Echeverria says.

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