Here are 5 steps to have your brain process and encode faster and better.
1. Train your memory
Memory training is practising the skill of memorisation through a series of exercises. There are countless exercises to train your memory. More importantly, is the ability to improve your performance on those exercises which builds up mental capacity, processing speed and strengthens the neural connections created in the brain.
2. Record your results in a spreadsheet
How will you know if your memory and processing power has improved? By measuring your progress and performance of course. Personally, I use a spreadsheet and add the columns, “Date, Exercise, Result, Comment”. You can of course add more or less.
Each time you train you add your results into the columns. The more you train, the more data you have to predict patterns and ultimately, how you can improve and get better.
3. In one of the columns write your learnings and mistakes
Write down your leadings in the ‘Comments’ column, otherwise feel free to create a separate one. Learnings can be questions like:
How did you feel during the activity?
What made you achieve that particular result?
Is there a pattern you can see from your mistakes?
If you had a good run of results, what can you put that down to?
Did time of day make any difference?
When did you first notice an improvement in performance?
Are you getting stuck anywhere?
Has your performance plateau’d?
4. Look back at past training and try to learn from mistakes
Now analyse all your data from a higher level which includes your results, comments, learnings, time duration, how long you’ve been training for, and so on. What can you see?
If you haven’t trained much, you won’t see much here. However if you’ve trained a list of memorising random words more than 100 times you might just start to learn how your brain works. You can use this to learn more about yourself, how well you will now implement these sills into daily life, as well as build the resilience to push through mental plateau’s.
5. Train some more and record further results
It doesn’t just finish there. Just because you’re able to improve doesn’t mean your training is done. In fact, you’re probably just getting started. When asked how many push-ups he could do, Mohammed Ali said he only starts counting when it hurts. As a competitor this was huge for me. But that’s just me.
You don’t need to train until something hurts. But training not because you have to, but because you want to be mentally fit is a far greater approach to training. Unless you’re unable to, you don’t physically just stop training. So why stop mental training?
This has a knock on effect in real-life applications such as faster learning, knowledge acquisition, problem solving, creativity and mental agility to concentrate and focus for longer periods without tiring.
Keep going and you will not only improve your mental performance. You will gain new perspectives, learn new things, and solve problems you thought you never ever would.