Since we haven't yet discovered a way to add more hours to the day, the best we can do is be more efficient with the time we have. These tips will help you retain more information without sacrificing time spent toward other activities.

1) Review the same information in different places.

There is evidence that suggests we are able to retain information better by studying the same thing in different locations. When we learn information, we tend to link what we retain to our surroundings at that moment. For example, if you're studying in a coffee shop you may associate a certain memorized fact to the song currently playing or the taste of the latte you're drinking. When we have more things we can relate to what we've learned, it can help trigger our memory when trying to recall facts later on.

2) Test out the "memory palace" technique.

Also known as the method of loci, the memory palace technique is a type of memory enhancement dating back to the ancient Romans and Greeks. The technique teaches students to link physical locations with specific items--for example, the windows on a building's exterior with the names of presidents. When you are able to form a relationship between the two, you will find that when imagining the visual later on you can also recall the item. It may sound a bit tricky, but as you'll learn in this TED Talk, anyone can do it.

3) Allot yourself a break every 30 to 60 minutes.

After an extended time of reading or studying, your mind will start to slack. Rather than try to push through it, it's better to take a 10-minute break. By dividing your time into 30- to 60-minute sections with short breaks in between, you can make the most of each period and avoid wasting time trying to force yourself to pay attention. Allow yourself a few minutes to relax between each learning burst so you can reboot and head into your next session mentally refreshed.

4) Stop scrolling and shut it down.

Mobile technology is great, until it becomes such an incessant distraction you can't get through a page or finish a download without checking your phone. Whether you're an email addict or a social media monitor, you need to stop letting your phone be a part of the time you've dedicated to doing work. If you find it hard to ignore the notifications, try putting your phone in Airplane mode or turning it off completely.

5) Don't open a new tab.

That plus sign is enticing, but every time you open a new tab you take valuable time away from the project at hand. To stop unnecessary browsing when you should be learning, use a productivity app like StayFocusd. This Chrome extension lets you decide how much time you want to waste on Facebook or watching videos on YouTube by giving you customizable options to block specific sites or forms of content. Cut down on mindless clicking and stay on track with an app that keeps you accountable.

Published on: Dec 1, 2015