Thursday, April 7, 2022

Focus

I read a recent article about memorization. What caught my attention was the headline: "Why We're All Forgetting More Things Right Now."  

According to the article, "[o]ur brains are like computers with so many tabs open right now....This slows down our pressing power, and memory is one of the areas that falters." (Quoting neuroscientist Sara C. Mednick).  As I look at my computer screen right now, that's not only my brain but my computer too.  It might just be that the reason that we have difficulty creating and retrieving memories is that we aren't focusing our attention on the tasks at hand.

In summary of the article, here are four tips to improve memorization and memory:

  • First, don't force memorization because frustrations then creep in and "override the parts of our brains that retrieve memories." Id. Instead, "take some deep breaths to calm your brain down and try again." Id.
  • Second, don't multi-task.  Id. In my own words, if a task is important, it deserves all of us, not just part of us. So practice paying attention and put yourself in a position to remove distractions.
  • Third, develop brain calmness.  Id. That means taking breaks, meaningful breaks, with others, with yourself, in nature, and get sleep because sleep "clears out the toxins that can clog [our] mental processing." Id.
  • Fourth, "be socially present." Id. The article talks about approaching "conversation intentionally." Id. That requires a lot out of us, but those around us deserve our attention - completely and fully. And, I'd add, approach reading and learning and problem-solving in law school intentionally conversational.  Take with the cases as though the judges are present before you. Speak out your study tools and outlines.  Challenge yourself with flashcards or other problems.

So, take pauses, be kind to yourself and others, when present be really present, and put away the distractions.  

Sometimes I think that is why writing is so beneficial for me.  It takes focus, attention, and being truly present with the task at hand. It's also why I run from writing so often.  I suppose, like many, I like to go from experience to experience, never really seeing, or really experiencing at all.  That's not exactly the right path for a rewarding memory or life.  (Scott Johns).

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/2022/04/focus.html

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