Refreshing Your Memory

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Of all the things we’ve lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, here’s one that may surprise you — your memory. And it could be impacting your work life, especially if you work remotely.

Fast Company contributor Art Markman, author of “Bring Your Brain to Work,” wrote about the phenomenon in January, explaining that the pandemic has affected our memory in three different aspects:

1. You’re worse at paying attention.

According to Markman, anxiety about illness and/or your job has made it more difficult for you to concentrate, which translates into not having as sharp a memory. The pandemic also has led to increased self-medication, such as drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, both of which can impair your brain’s ability to remember, he wrote.

2. You have lots of short-term encounters.

“When you engage with something for only a brief period of time,” Markman wrote, “your brain ultimately decides that you probably don’t need to have access to that information later.”

3. Your situation doesn’t change much.

Remembering something is easier when there’s a distinct factor associated with it, such as a unique location. But if you’re working from home, almost every event is associated with the same space, making those events more difficult to remember.

So, how do you combat this memory problem if you’re going to continue working remotely?

“It is probably still worth finding ways to get out of the house or working from some other locations periodically to ensure you have other situations that you can associate with some of the work you’re doing,” Markman wrote. “That might help to alleviate that feeling that you’re still stuck in March of 2020.”