Why can't I save any information? (2023)

What would you do with a leaking bucket? You'd probably throw it out and buy a new one -- a bucket is only $5.

But what if you feel like your brain is leaking? You can't just throw it away, of course, but you cancanUse techniques to repair your "leaks" and regain your focus.

The inability to retain information can severely limit both your personal and professional life. If you find yourself constantly repeating information to your friends and colleagues, you may be wondering:

Why can't I save any information?

Whether you're trying to remember the names of the new team you're leading, studying a new subject to further your career, or perhaps learning a new language, the ability to remember the information you've learned is crucial.

There's certainly no shortage of access to information these days - it takes virtually no training to type a question into Google on your phone and get a satisfactory answer within seconds. Anyone can do it.

However, the ability to absorb information, store it, and then access it from your own head when needed is what will set you apart from the crowd.

In this post, we discuss some of the reasons why remembering things is difficult and, more importantly, what you can do to improve your memory.

Let's start.

Why do we forget things?

Before you can improve your memory, you must first understand why you miss some things. Here's what the average person remembers from common methods of gathering information.

You remember:

  • 5% of what you learn from a lecture (or work presentation/conversation).
  • 10% of what you learn from reading
  • 20% of what you learn from audiovisual media (YouTube or MasterClass videos)
  • 30% of what you learn by watching a demonstration
  • 50% of what you learn from participating in discussions
  • 75% of what you learn when you practice what you learn
  • 90% of what you learn when you teach someone else

We forget 95% of what someone tells us! How can we explain this?

To do this, we examine the work of the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, who developed the so-called forgetting curve.

Note: things forgotten over time, known astransience, is one of seven types of memory disorders described inThe seven sins of remembranceby Daniel Schachter. This post will focus on impermanence due to its relevance to daily life and work, but check out the other sins of remembrance as wellhis book.

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ThatForgot curveanticipates that information will be lost over time in a predictable manner if no attempt is made to preserve it. In the graph below, the red line represents the expected loss if no techniques are used. The green line represents the recall technique of repetition—repeatedly repeating the information at specified intervals.

Why can't I save any information? (1)

To put it another way (and much less scientifically):

We will all forget important information if we don't act.

But before we dive into techniques to sharpen your memory, it's important to consider some of the other factors that contribute to decreased memory.

information overload

No wonder: Our sensory receptors experience more stimuli than ever before. We listen to music or podcasts while we work out, we constantly switch our view from big screens to small screens, and most of us have read at least one email during a video conference.

But the sheer amount of this stimulus is incredible - Americans consume on average34 Gigabyteof data every day. For context, consider how 34GB looks represented as available space on your hard drive. That's about 5 films!

work stoppages (with a break every 3 minutes and 5 seconds) represent another form of information reaching you. This type of information, typically loaded with a sense of urgency, takes up a particularly large amount of RAM in your brain.

So next timeGoing through your inboxIf you're trying to get work done, ask yourself if this email newsletter is really thattheimportant before you spend valuable time and energy dealing with it.

Improper use of technology

Technology is our friend, but if you act like a jerk around your friends, chances are they'll react in the same way.

For example, we don't remember phone numbers anymore because we carry a Rolodex in our pocket or purse these days via our contacts apps. But we're getting worse and worse at answering cluesDanger!from our couch because we constantly use our phones to look up information we already know but can't retrieve fast enough.

research provesthat when we understand that a digital device does our remembering for us, we are less likely to remember it ourselves. Unfortunately, this has downstream effects that can be worse than the short-term memory loss itself.

Nicholas Carr, Author vonThe Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains, put it this way:

“The depth of our intelligence depends on our ability to transfer information from working memory, the scratch pad of consciousness, to long-term memory, the mind's filing system. When facts and experiences enter our long-term memory, we are able to weave them into the complex ideas that enrich our thinking."

This only underscores the need to use the kind of technology that will help you be more productive, focus on what matters most, and build good habits.

Note:We recently surveyed more than 1,000 knowledge workers for our2021 Workplace Wellbeing Reportto find out what helps people be most productive. Read our resultshere.

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lifestyle and age

We're not saying too many cheeseburgers will rot your brain, but we're notNotsay that either...

The blood vessels in your brain can become blocked or restricted when your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar are all too high. This was shown by a study from HarvardPeople who eat more saturated fat perform worse on memory teststhan those who eat less saturated fat.

And of course we all know thatMemory tends to fade with age, but that doesn't mean you have to let age hold you back! We will discuss tips for improving memory function in the next section.

They have no training or techniques

This is by far the number one reason why you can't retain information adequately - you haven't taught yourself how! Let's change that right now.

10 ways to improve your memory

Now that you understand the cause of your problem, it's time to fix it. Here are 10 techniques you can use to improve your memory.

1. Allow time to review what you have learned

Remember our forgetting curve from earlier?

Why can't I save any information? (2)

Arguably the most direct effect you can have on your information retrieval is to use a technique calledspatial repetition— index cards. Review newer or more complex information more frequently, and review older and less complex information less frequently. This creates the ideal space to "remind" your brain of the new information a few times until it becomes permanent.

ifindex cardsIf you feel a little too youthful, there are other ways to achieve the desired effect. Schedule some time with your coworkers, friends, or family members to “teach” them the information you just learned. If this type of interaction is not possible, consider documenting your understanding of the topic.

Any opportunity to periodically review new information increases your retention.

2. Create associations

Creating associations is a proven way to improve your memory. It's the oldest trick in the book for a reason -It works out.

There are tons of ways to create associations, and it's best to try a few from this list and see what works for you. The more fun you have creating associations, the more they stand out.

Let's look at a few examples:

exaggeration/conceit

Are you meeting someone new and trying to remember their name? Make up a story in your head that she's running for President of the United States and that she ordered Air Force One to make an unscheduled stop just to meet you. There's no way you'll forget Katie's name when she's elected President.

context/particularity

Using the same example as above, combine something with her name to aid your memory. For example, think about the color of her shoes. After a few minutes, when you call up your memory to remember her name, you will think in your head:Katie with the brown shoes.

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Just be careful when saying your contextual association out loud!

visualization

A personal anecdote about this technique:

When introducing myself to someone new, I usually ask how their name is spelled. If it's an obvious name, like Bob, I ask if it's spelled normally. Sometimes I try to guess:"Kathy... with a K!"

Anyway, both of these approaches tend to lighten the mood, and the humor the situation creates helps me form a stronger memory. Once I've confirmed the spelling, I visualize the words written in black marker on a white name tag.

Why can't I save any information? (3)

Bonus:Dale Carnegie wrote in his bookHow to win friends and influence people: "A person's name is the sweetest, most important sound in any language to that person." The ability to remember names is a great way to bond with new people. So important that his business even has ita course in memorizing names.

3. Eat better

Take this as a gentle (if not very obvious) reminder that we could all eat a little healthier. Reducing your intake of sugar and saturated fat makes your brain work better.

4. Create space for memory with a memory palace

Remember the associations from Tip #2? There is an advanced technique called Memory Palace where you place the associations you have created in a "room" that you also create. Then you can revisit that room if you need to remember something in it.

Also known as themethod of loci, the memory palace technique from ancient Greek culture has been cited by many memory contest winners as the preferred technique for advanced memorization.

5. Train the muscle

Google isNotyour friend all the time. If you're stuck trying to remember the name of an actor from a movie, you know it (for sure!), pause for a few minutes before reaching for your phone or keyboard. Let your brain "train" you to remember, or you'll collapse in mild frustration.

This will help you with those pub quiz nights where no phones are allowed.

6. Use reading techniques

One of the reasons why we forget things in the age of information (overload) is that we skim instead of read - we don't give our full attention to the words and therefore to the ideas. With reading techniques likesubvocalizationcan not only make you a better reader, but also improve your ability to remember what you read.

7. Get more sleep

This is another gentle reminder that taking care of your body helps your mind function better. We're all busy, we all have work commitments, many of us have kids, but you have to put on your own oxygen mask if you're going to be useful. Sleep allows the brain to "reset" and tackle problems with a freshness you can't get any other way, i.e. H caffeine.

This has been shown, for example, by studies by Saarland University in GermanyA 45-60 minute nap after learning something new can increase memory by 500%.

take that away? Take time to rest.

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8. Use mind mapping

For visual learners, mind mapping can be a fantastic way to help your brain make associations with the information you've just learned. Unlike the more rigid structure of a bulleted outline, mind mapping gives you more freedom to link and position ideas in a way that makes sense to you.

When it comes to mind mapping, you're not limited to words either - feel free to sketch out your ideas and concepts. Establish hierarchies, form connections, and expand ideas with reckless abandon until you run out of whiteboard space.

9. Get to know the rhythm of your mind

If you must study, schedule your study time when you are at your sharpest. For many, this will be first thing in the morning, which likely ties into tip #7 – sleep better.

But of course that doesn't apply to everyone. There are natural cycles of high and low energy that your mind and body go through every day. Are you trying to record some dense material that you need to remember? It's probably not a good idea to do this task after lunch becausearound 3:00 p.m. we reach our lowest energy level of the day.

The most of usknowsthat fact, but fewer of us are capable of itPlotthereon. One of the main reasons for this is that we don't really plan, structure, or track our efforts to understand our highest energy level. Consider making onePersonal life dashboardThis allows you to experiment with different times of the day and actually track your results.

10. Set up your environment for focus

Why can't I save any information? (4)

Have you ever noticed that when you have an important deadline, you often - suddenly - find several other things you findgot todo before you start working on your main project? Working from home could mean cleaning your desk, washing your dishes, or even vacuuming your workspace.

We put off the big, hairy problem because it's so much easier to take care of the smaller, hairless problems.

If you want, you can easily spend all day in your inbox—replying to emails, unsubscribing from newsletters, and clicking on promotional offers. It's easy, but at the end of the day your main project is still not finished and your energy level is now lower and you probably won't be able to complete the task with the clarity and focus it needs.

At Superhuman, we believe email is a useful and necessary tool of the modern workforce, but we know it's misused by many. Superhuman is packed with features and design aesthetics that allow you to spend less time in your inbox so you can spend more time on things that move the needle for your profession.

By setting up your work environment, including your screen, with minimal distractions, you set the stage for a productive work session.

Regain your focus and regain time with Superhuman Mail

Keyboard shortcuts, AI triage, reminders, scheduled sends, beautiful design

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Why can't I save any information? (5) Why can't I save any information? (6)

FAQs

Why I cant save my files? ›

Some programs do not give you the Save option until you make changes to the document you have open. If the "Save" option is not available (grayed out in the file menu), this usually indicates the file is unmodified, so saving it would have no effect. Make changes to the file and try again.

What to do when Save As is not working? ›

My 'save as' key is not working.
...
Please follow these steps:
  1. Select Start > Settings .
  2. Choose Update & security > Windows Defender.
  3. Select Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  4. Select Virus & threat protection, and then choose Virus & threat protection settings.
  5. Under Controlled folder access, turn it on or off.
20 Jan 2021

Why is word saying I don't have permission to save? ›

When that happens, Windows may show the "you don't have permission to save in this location" error message. To fix this, you can go through your antivirus program's settings and whitelist your app or program from there. Alternatively, you can also temporarily disable your antivirus program and then save your file.

Why is it not wise to save Documents on the desktop? ›

While it's okay to use the desktop temporarily for storage, it's likely to quickly spiral out of control and become a mess. Unless you are strict with maintenance, you'll eventually succumb to these issues: No file backups: Many file backup programs ignore desktop files by default.

Why can't save anything on my phone? ›

If your phone is running Android 6.0 or higher, your application permissions could be messed up. In the Settings screen, select Apps, find the application that cannot save (Camera, Chrome, etc.), and select it. On the App Info screen, select Permissions and make sure Storage is turned on.

How do you save a file? ›

To save your file: Press CTRL+S or select File > Save.

Why are my pdfs not saving? ›

Change your storage settings.

Open the file in Acrobat. Click File and choose Preferences at the bottom. In the Preferences panel, select General and check the box beside Show online storage when saving files. Press OK.

How do I enable Save As in Chrome? ›

Most files: Click on the download link. Or, right-click on the file and choose Save as. Images: Right-click on the image and choose Save Image As.

How do I activate save as? ›

The faster keyboard shortcut

In any document, simply use the combination of the Option + Shift + Command + S keys to directly invoke the Save As command. Doing so will open up a window letting you choose a file format (if applicable), as well as the save location of the file.

How do I turn off Allow permission? ›

Change app permissions
  1. On your phone, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap the app you want to change. If you can't find it, tap See all apps. ...
  4. Tap Permissions. If you allowed or denied any permissions for the app, you'll find them here.
  5. To change a permission setting, tap it, then choose Allow or Don't allow.

How do I unlock permissions in Word? ›

Unlock a protected document

On the Review tab, in the Protect group, click Restrict Editing. In the Restrict Editing task pane, click Stop Protection.

Why can't I save my file in Word? ›

If you've turned on AutoSave, turn it off. If you've used Track Changes, then turn it off and resolve all the changes in the document. Then use Save As to save out the document under a new file name. If you still can't save your edited document, then there is a good chance that the document is corrupted in some way.

How do I save documents to my desktop? ›

Click File on the top menu, click Save, and save your document in your Documents folder or to your desktop for easy retrieval later. If you're saving something for the first time, Windows asks you to name your document.

How do I save something to my desktop? ›

Create a Desktop Shortcut for a File or Folder
  1. Navigate to the file or folder on your computer.
  2. Right click the file or folder and a menu will appear.
  3. Click the Send To item on the list. ...
  4. Left click the Desktop (create shortcut) item on the list. ...
  5. Close or minimize all open windows.

How do I reset my save mode? ›

The easiest way to turn off Safe Mode is to simply restart your device. You can turn off your device in Safe Mode just like you can in normal mode — just press and hold the power button until a power icon appears on the screen, and tap it. When it turns back on, it should be in normal mode again.

How do I save everything on my Android phone? ›

Manually back up data & settings
  1. Open your phone's Settings app.
  2. Tap Google. Backup. If these steps don't match your phone's settings, try searching your settings app for backup , or get help from your device manufacturer.
  3. Tap Back up now.

How do I save everything on my phone? ›

Start a backup
  1. On your Android phone, open the Google One app .
  2. At the bottom, tap Storage.
  3. Scroll to the device backup section. If this is your first phone backup: Tap Set up data backup. ...
  4. To find your backup settings, tap Manage backup. To back up the data on your phone, turn on Device data. ...
  5. Tap Back up now.

Which button is used to save the file? ›

Save and rename Microsoft 365 files

Tip: To quickly save a file, press Ctrl+S.

How do I save a file and email it? ›

Save a message as a file on your computer or in the cloud

Double-click to open the message you want to save, and on the File menu, click Save As. In the Save as dialog box, in the Folder pane, choose a folder, and then the location in that selected folder where you want to save the file.

How do you save files in Google? ›

File Upload or Folder Upload. Choose the file or folder you want to upload.
...
Drag files into Google Drive
  1. On your computer, go to drive.google.com.
  2. Open or create a folder.
  3. To upload files and folders, drag them into the Google Drive folder.

How do I enable saving in PDF? ›

To save a PDF, choose File > Save or click the Save File icon in the Heads Up Display (HUD) toolbar at the bottom of the PDF. The Save As dialog box is displayed. Choose the location where you want to save the PDF and then click Save.

How do I restore my PDF settings? ›

Restore the Acrobat Preferences folder (Windows)

Quit Acrobat. Move the Preferences folder to another location (for example, C:\Temp). Restart Acrobat. If the problem recurs after you restore the Acrobat Preferences folder, then the problem isn't related to the Preferences folder.

Why can't I save PDF Chrome? ›

If you do not see these controls after you open a PDF in Chrome, move your cursor on the PDF file to reveal the controls. If it still does not work, then right-click to reveal the "Save as" option to save the PDF. If you still cannot see the "Save as", then you need to disable the PDF Viewer and revert to Adobe Reader.

How do I save on Google Chrome? ›

You need to be online to save a page.
  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. Go to a page you want to save.
  3. At the top right, click More More Tools. Save page as.
  4. Choose where you want to save the page.
  5. Click Save.

How do I save a file in Chrome? ›

To save the page, image, or document you're viewing:
  1. Press Ctrl + s.
  2. At the bottom, enter a name for your file.
  3. Optional: To the left of the file name, change the file type.
  4. In the left column, choose where you'd like to save your file, such as Google Drive. My Drive.
  5. Select Save.

Where is the Save button on Google? ›

Documents: On the Google Docs toolbar, there is the traditional Save button. Otherwise, in the upper right-hand corner, there is a Save and Close button.

How Do I Save or Save As? ›

Save As, on the other hand, is a command in most apps' File menu that allows you to create a new file or save it in a different place. The shortcut key for Save is Ctrl+S or Shift+F12 or Alt+Shift+F2. The shortcut key Save As is F12 or Alt+F+A.

Where is Save As on my computer? ›

Save a file

Or select File > Save As. Select where you want to save the file. You can save to your computer, OneDrive, or another location.

Should app permissions be on or off? ›

As you're managing your app permissions, it's important to make sure to keep them at a minimum. Only give your Android apps permission to access what they need to access on your device to provide the functionality you require from them.

What apps should not be on my phone? ›

Some apps can collect the data from your phone and share your personal information with third-party advertisers for money.
...
  • UC Browser. ...
  • CLEANit. ...
  • Dolphin Browser. ...
  • Virus Cleaner – Antivirus Free & Phone Cleaner. ...
  • SuperVPN Free VPN Client. ...
  • RT News. ...
  • Super Clean – Master of Cleaner. ...
  • Fildo Music.
27 Dec 2021

What is permission control on my phone? ›

The Android permissions controller is a part of the Android operating system that tells apps what they can and can't access. When you install a new app, the Android permissions controller is what gives you the option to allow or deny permissions for that app.

Why is my Word document locked? ›

The file might be locked because: The file is shared and another user is currently editing it. An instance of the Office app is running in the background with the file already opened. The file has been marked as Final and can no longer be updated.

How do you unblock permissions? ›

Change settings for a site
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app .
  2. Go to a site.
  3. To the left of the address bar, tap Lock. Permissions.
  4. Tap the permission you want to update. To change a setting, select it. To clear the site's settings, tap Reset permissions.

Why is my Word locked? ›

This may occur if one or more of the following conditions are true: Word previously quit improperly and, therefore, did not delete the owner file. A second instance of Word is running in the background with the document already open. The document is shared over a network, and another user has it open.

Why is my Microsoft Word locked and won't let me type? ›

Simply select “Step Protection” button to unlock protected part of the document. In case the Word document is marked as final and you can't edit it. You just need to click the “Edit Anyway” button that highlight in the head of the page. It is only one-time operation, so you have to perform this step everytime.

Why can't I edit my Word document? ›

Follow these steps to edit: Go to File > Info. Select Protect document. Select Enable Editing.

Where is protection in Word? ›

First, open the Office document you would like to protect. Click the File menu, select the Info tab, and then select the Protect Document button.

How do I force a Word document to save? ›

Open Word and select File, Options. In the Options dialog box select Save from the left hand menu. Note the AutoRecover files location.

How do I quick save a document? ›

Tip: To quickly save a file, press Ctrl+S. Save a file with the default values.

Should you save files on the desktop or in documents? ›

Remember: only files saved to (or within) your Documents folder are backed up. Many people use their desktop to store documents. These files will not be backed up unless you move or copy them to the Documents folder first. If you are getting a new computer, ITS may ask you to save your files to your Documents folder.

How do I save a document to a folder? ›

To save a document to the new folder, open the document, and click File > Save As, and then browse to the new folder, and click Save.

Why can't I save my Word file? ›

If you've turned on AutoSave, turn it off. If you've used Track Changes, then turn it off and resolve all the changes in the document. Then use Save As to save out the document under a new file name. If you still can't save your edited document, then there is a good chance that the document is corrupted in some way.

Why won't my PDF file save? ›

Change your storage settings.

To fix the problem, follow these steps: Open the file in Acrobat. Click File and choose Preferences at the bottom. In the Preferences panel, select General and check the box beside Show online storage when saving files.

Why can't I save a PDF file on my computer? ›

Ideally, if you can't save a PDF document, then you need to check the display settings of the Adobe Acrobat Reader. To do that, you can just launch the application and go to its Menu > Edit > Preferences to get a new pop-up window.

How do I enable saving in Word? ›

AutoSave is still not on when you open a file with the Microsoft 365 app from OneDrive
  1. Go to File > Options > Save.
  2. Check that the AutoSave box is ticked.

How do I enable Save as PDF? ›

Select File. Choose Save As. Select File Format at the bottom of the window. Choose PDF from the list of available file formats.

How do I save an online PDF to my computer? ›

Save the PDF to your own computer
  1. Click and hold the mouse on the link to a PDF document (Control and click), then choose the Save This Link As/Download Link to Disk (depending on your browser) from the pop-up menu.
  2. In the Save As dialog box, select a location on your computer, then click Save.
1 Jul 2022

How can I copy and save a PDF? ›

Save a PDF
  1. To save changes to the current file, choose File > Save.
  2. To save a copy of a PDF, choose File > Save As.
  3. In Acrobat Reader, choose File > Save As or File > Save As Other > Text.
  4. To save a copy of a PDF Portfolio, choose File >Save As Other > PDF Portfolio.
6 Sept 2022

How do I save a PDF in Windows 10? ›

How do I save a file as a PDF in Windows 10?
  1. Open the file you want to save as a PDF document. ...
  2. Select the print option (typically File → Print…) or type "Ctrl + P” as a shortcut.
  3. Choose Microsoft Print to PDF from the list of available printers in the Print dialog box. ...
  4. Finally, name and save the PDF file.
2 Sept 2021

How do I save a file on my phone? ›

On the file menu, tap Save As. You can save your files locally to your device or save them to the cloud so you can share with others easily.

How do I create and save a file? ›

Create a file
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides app.
  2. In the bottom right, tap Create .
  3. Choose whether to use a template or create a new file. The app will open a new file.

How do I save a folder on my phone? ›

Create a folder
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Drive app.
  2. At the bottom right, tap Add .
  3. Tap Folder.
  4. Name the folder.
  5. Tap Create.

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