Do you spend your day pouring over file after file? After a while, they pretty much blur together making you feel a lot less accomplished. Check out this really easy productivity hack that will keep you on the right track.
When you spend the majority of your day on the computer, time and memory seem to go out the window. In fact, a lot can be said about increasing employee satisfaction through breaks. But if you find yourself having a hard time recalling information you literally just looked over, then this easy hack may be right up your alley. TIME released an article stating that saving regularly actually increases your memory of what you’re working on.
“Saving one file before studying a new file significantly improved memory for the contents of the new file,” the authors write. “Saving has the potential to significantly influence how people learn and remember.”
So how did they get this information? Through experiments, of course. The researchers rounded up participants and asked them to study two separate PDF files and try to memorize the words on each. The subjects actually remembered more material from the first PDF if they successfully saved that file before heading over to the second PDF.
Benjamin Strong, the assistant professor of psychology at University of California in Santa Cruz was the head author of this study. He explains:
“Saving allows us to maintain access to more data and experiences than would be possible otherwise. Memory now works in concert with technology, and by saving information we are able to keep that information from interfering with the learning of something new.”
Think of your brain like your own personal hard drive. When you put new information in, you save it so you can access it later. Then, you’re free to move onto the next item you want to save. But you retain that first item and can recall it much easier if it’s saved. Psychologically, the act of saving something before moving onto the next task frees up our minds so we can turn our attention to the next task at hand. And if you find that you’re struggling with focus, we have some tips on improving concentration and productivity.
Strong explains that, in earlier research completed, he found that thinking of new things makes it incredibly hard to remember previous thoughts. He found that we need to set aside work and move on to other important tasks so we can get the most out of our memory and increase our productivity. Think back to your high school or college years. Those “all nighters” where you would stay up and try to cram as much information as possible into your head before a final exam. Do you remember much of that information, if any at all? Probably not. Hitting the save button during projects is a quick way to let your brain hang onto that information without keeping it in front of your face the entire time. Strong says:
“Saving may protect us from this type of thinking-induced forgetting by allowing us to think of new ideas while keeping our old ideas safely saved and out of the way.”
It’s a general rule of thumb to save your work regularly. You never know if your computer will decide to crash miserably. Now, there is the added bonus of saving to increase productivity. Strong also says that new information can overcome old thoughts, so saving or writing your new ideas right when they occur can help you avoid forgetting them.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your efficiency, try reaching out to one of our organizational productivity consultants for more information!