Could workplace stress be affecting your memory? Have you found yourself asking someone: “What’s your name?” What are some tips that can help you manage this stress and improve your retention?
We have all done it. Walked into a room, stood there, and realized we had absolutely no clue as to why we went there in the first place. What about you? Do you feel like your brain is a little fuzzier than usual? Take comfort; you are not alone!
A recent article on LinkedIn highlighted that stress can damage our memories. Considering we are coming out of what is probably the most stressful past two years, it stands to reason that we are all struggling to keep our thoughts straight. This article will drill down on some of the triggers that can up our stress and share tips that we personally use to give our brains the breaks they genuinely deserve.
Key Questions/Topics Covered
Let’s talk about workplace stress and forgetfulness
The pandemic didn’t do us any favors as far as stress is concerned. As we slowly move out from the Covid shadow, workplace stress may be be lessened, but it will still exist. Our world has this crazy expectation that we need to remember every little thing. Every person’s name we have ever met. Every story we have ever been told. It just isn’t realistic. If anything, it just adds to our stress which in turn increases our forgetfulness. Face it; we can only cram so much information into our brains at any given time before it starts waving a white flag.
Here is a funny but eye-opening experience I had that really illustrates this. It was a few months back, and I was under a considerable amount of stress. I had just finished another marathon work session when I got up to go to the kitchen to get some water from the fridge. I didn’t make it. Instead, I found myself at the front door with my thermos pressed firmly to it, expecting it would somehow dispense water.
After I was done laughing at myself, I got to thinking: How many other things had I forgotten? I was a living example of the connection between stress and forgetfulness. It made me realize that there has to be a better way. Simply put, we need to reduce our stress and boost our memory skills. But how?
Mark’s tips and tricks to help you remember and stay on track
Mark meets an innumerable amount of people while training or at conventions. Is it possible for him to remember every individual’s name? Of course not! But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t try. The first tip he shared is that he immediately sets a precedent whenever he engages with a large audience, which is a stress reliever in itself. He simply states that he will do his absolute best to remember everyone’s name, but if he happens to forget to, he asks that people please share where they are from or perhaps the conversation that took place to help jog his memory.
Another trick Mark uses is to try and relate the person to a familiar person in his life; for Mark, it’s usually a movie character. He also tries to remember something that stood out to him—a piece of clothing or certain mannerisms or comments that the person made. These little mental exercises have proven to help him retain information.
Mark is also a huge proponent of effective time management. If you find yourself overwhelmed with too many tasks going on, then you need to stop and ask yourself: “Why is this happening? Am I doing too much?” There is lots of tech out there that can organize your day and help you create to-do lists to keep you on track. Figure out when you are at your best and build a reasonable and attainable schedule around that.
My tip to increase retention while decreasing stress
We need to become more self-aware and conscious of the warning signs of burnout. Working in property management, so many policies and procedures need to be followed. If we get overwhelmed and forget even one of them, we could be headed for trouble—for example, fair housing laws. Nobody wants to be in a situation like that.
Part of this is also recognizing that our work isn’t the only source of our stress. We all have other stressors in our lives, be it family, health, finances, and the list goes on. Once we have identified our pain points, we can begin creating a plan to make any needed adjustments to decrease our stress.
For example, I was struggling with back-to-back meetings. I know that it is sometimes unavoidable, but it just left me feeling exhausted with so much information competing for space. So I institute ten-minute breaks. I use Google to schedule my meetings, and by default, they always schedule for 50 minutes.
Those ten minutes between meetings are now mine. I get up, go for a walk with Baloo and get some fresh air. These micro-breaks not only help me assimilate and retain more of what was discussed, but they are also incredibly beneficial when it comes to reducing my stress.
Final workplace stress takeaway – Hey, I remember your name!
Stress, like it or not, is unavoidable. Some pressure can create beneficial challenges and keep us motivated. But when we find ourselves trying to get water from a door or not remembering anyone’s name, it might be time to take a step back and try a few of the tips and tricks you learned here today.
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