This section is from the book "Applications of Psychology to the Problems of Personal and Business Efficiency", by Warren Hilton. Also available from Amazon: Psychology and Achievement - Applied Psychology 12 Volume Set.
There are other things to be remembered besides facts of outside observation. You are not one whose life is passed entirely in a physical world. You live also within. Your mind is unceasingly at work with the materials of the past painting the pictures of the future. You are called upon to scheme, to plan, to devise, to invent, to compose and to foresee.
If all this mental work is not wasted energy, you must be able to recall its conclusions when occasion requires. A happy thought comes to you - will you remember it tomorrow-when the hour for action arrives? There is but one way to be sure, and that is by making a study of the whole associative mental process.
Review the train of ideas by which you reached your conclusion. Carry the thought on in mind to its legitimate conclusion. See yourself acting upon it. Mark its relations to other persons. Note all the details of the mental picture. In other words, to remember thoughts, cultivate thought-observation just as you cultivate sense-observation to remember outside matters.
To train yourself in thought mem-ory, use the following exercises: a. Every morning at eight o'clock, sharp on the minute, fix upon a certain idea and determine to recall it at a certain hour during the day. Put your whole will into this resolution. Try to imagine what activities you will be engaged in at the appointed hour, and think of the chosen idea as identified with those activities. Associate it in your mind with some object that will be at hand when the set time comes. Having thus fixed the idea in your mind, forget it. Do not refer to it in your thoughts. With practice you will find yourself automatically carrying out your own orders. Persist in this exercise for at least three months.
b. Every night when you retire fix upon the hour at which you wish to get up in the morning. In connection with your waking at that hour, think of all the sounds that will be apt to be occurring at that particular time. Bar every other thought from your consciousness and fall asleep with the intense determination to arise at the time set. By all means, get up instantly when you awaken. Keep up this exercise and you will soon be able to awaken at any hour you may wish.
c. Every morning outline the general plan of your activities for the day. Select only the important things. Do not bother with the details. Determine upon the logical order for your day's work. Think not so much of how you are to do things as of the things you are to do. Keep your mind on results. And having made your plan, stick to it. Be your own boss. Let nothing tempt you from your set purpose. Make this daily planning a habit and hold to it through life. It will give you a great lift toward whatever prize you seek.