Can’t Remember Recently Added Contacts?

When I started college, I always worried about many things. One of those worries was not making enough friends early on. I would be left out on many beneficial things. I could be missing out on late light meals with friends, going to watch the latest movies, group work outs, trendy spots, and even small study groups (with smart people).

To avoid this from happening, what did I do? I grabbed everyone’s contact numbers! The only thing though was that, I grabbed so many numbers that I could not remember whose number belonged to whom. I would meet that person later and forget how or where I met them, sadly. But it wasn’t too big deal since I was only close to a few people at the time. They were the only group I spent most of my time with.

Eventually I started working and I needed to work with A LOT of people. To work with them, I would need to contact them often. This also means that I would need their contact number as well as the clients’. Sometimes after obtaining their contact info, I would save them on my contacts list, only to later realize… I CANNOT remember the name of who that person was. That person essentially becomes lost in my contact list among several hundreds to thousands of people.

Now this can become a big issue…I mean, I used to be someone who memorized random things for fun and easily too…

What Happened to My Memory Capacity?

When I was young, I was put through A LOT of schooling. I went to regular school for 5 days a week like everyone else. In addition, I was put on tutoring and Chinese school on Saturdays and Sundays. This means I was practically going to school 7 days of the week (no idea how I did that back in the day).

During Chinese school, I memorized countless amounts of information from lesson chapters to writing characters to even essays. My memory capacity was quite exceptional! When it came time to memorize things in regular school, I can safely say it was easier for me than most people.

Later I transitioned to high school with that memory capacity. In addition to academic content, I would memorize random things for fun such as people’s phone numbers and even my classmates’ student ID’s. I would never need to use an agenda because I would just remember my to-do list and events on my calendar ALL in my mind.

Basically if I think and plan to do something, my mind has a mental agenda recording everything. I would also remember the directions to any place if I drove there at least once so it was like I had an internal GPS system. Things were going good and there was not much to be stressed about.

Things Took a Turn for Me…

Then came the day I finally finished Chinese school around when high school ended. I was REALLY happy, I could enjoy my weekend like normal folks and I would no longer need to be put on that intense mental training.

I also started to adopt a more chill, lazy lifestyle avoiding memorize things even in regular school thinking that I am wasting time and would not have to ever use this information. This went on for some time and this was where things started to take a little turn…

By not consistently exercising that area of my brain, my memory capacity started to decrease. I would easily forget names of new people I met or barely remember more than 7 things of a list. I would even easily forget what I had for breakfast. Depending on the activity, I might even panic when I am thrown with too many steps. Brain became a bit more foggy and absent-minded.

What Are Some Methods to Improve Memory Capacity?

Have you ever wondered how some individuals are able to remember the exact order and suit of a full deck of cards? It is quite an amazing feat and seems almost like an ability of a superhero. But there are strategies to help with that.

For example with memorize numbers, 10 digit numbers can seem like A LOT and quite intimidating. The key here is to break it down into parts. From those 10 digit numbers, you can break it down to manageable parts.

The FIRST 3 digits = the area code (I.e. 800)

The SECOND set of 3 digits (before the dash) = 123

The LAST set of 4 digits (after the dash) = 4567

Additional Method

Sometimes these numbers do not mean anything and can be hard to remember still. Another key thing to do here is to attach meaning here. It can be personal/meaningful or it can be random/silly. Now whenever you want to recite numbers, you just need to remind yourself of the meaning you create and Voila! You will also remember the number AND the order.

For example if the number was 800-654-1397, I can break it down to:

800 = toll free area code number (I imagine that automated voice, “call us toll-free, at one-eight hundred….)

654 = it’s a horizontal backwards line in the middle of the numbers keypad or count backwards from 6 down to 4

1397 = imagine drawing a rectangle on the numbers keypad starting from upper left to upper right to lower right to lower left

This does not ONLY have to be with memorizing phone numbers but it can be with anything like academic content. If you break down what you are trying to memorize into more manageable chunks and add meaning to whatever you are trying to memorize, it will make remembering that content that much easier. In a sense, if you can incorporate other senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, auditory) into the process, the more memorable something can become. Be as creative as you want!

Here is a YouTube video with similar strategies: Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do


A Tool that Helps with Remembering Recent Contact Numbers

Putting in that extra effort to improve our memory capacity is always a good thing even if the improvement is small. With time, all those small improvements will add up! Mental degradation illnesses like Alzheimer’s or Dementia can be significantly delayed and we can live more fulfilling lives without having to worry too much if we have forgotten to do something.

But, work is still work (or school) and we might not be able to train our brains quickly enough to start memorizing contact numbers and the associated person quickly enough to the point where it becomes second nature just yet. Fortunately, there are phone applications that you can download like “Recent Contacts” (or something similar). Currently, I use an iPhone X. There may be a version for the Android phone as well.

I was so thankful when a good friend of mine introduced me to this application. I tried many ways to boost my memory and it sometimes cannot be helped but I just cannot remember the recent contact number.

It was VERY difficult trying to regain the high memory capacity I once had when I kept training it. This tool helps record all the numbers that you input into your phone. It takes note of the time and date and most importantly, the name of the person! With this tool, you will NEVER forget who your newly added contacts are.


There are times when even after inputting that new contact into your phone and Recent Contacts is able to pull it up for you, you may still not remember the full details of who that person is. Therefore, it is always good to type some details into the note section of the number when adding to contacts list. For example, new contact A “likes to eat A, B, C and loves to do A, B, C. Birthday is on A, B, C.” Details obtained is dependent upon your preference. Of course, you’ll learn more about them with time so this step is only temporary.

Recent Contacts may not be available for all phones but there are similar applications for other phone platforms. Therefore, you may have to play around with some of them a little and use the application that is most user-friendly for you. This one is free while other applications may not be so.


I am a firm believer of the phrase “use it or lose it.” The more we put into practice something, the better we get at it. This includes even our memory capacity. There are methods to boost your memory but that ability may not be attained overnight. If you train consistently, you may be able to attain a very high memory capacity and even delay certain mental illnesses. Remember to not be so hard on yourself it you are not able to pick it up quickly. Sometimes we just have days of brain fog.

However, there are times when we may still need tools especially for our important day to day tasks like at work. Tools that can perhaps aid in the process of remembering recently added contacts. Applications like Recent Contacts can greatly help with that and remove a lot of unneeded stress off your shoulders.

Did you enjoy this life hack on how to remember your recently added contacts and even how to improve your memory? Please leave a comment below!

48 thoughts on “Can’t Remember Recently Added Contacts?”

  1. I love your suggestions for remembering phone numbers.  I’m going to have to try that!  I, myself, am a big note taker.  I will sometimes put the notes in my phone or on a notepad I keep on the desk by the front door (this depends on where I might be when I think I will need the information).  For example, I might write, “Mary and George, yellow house across the street, dog: Polly, 3 sons in college”.  In my phone in the name section, I might write down how I know them.  “George Smith-bank manager”.  This way if I don’t remember the name, I can just search “bank manager”.  This also works in reverse so if I’m scrolling or searching, I don’t have to think, “Who’s George Smith?”.  I guess we all have our methods, right?

    • That’s the beauty of making memory stick. There are many ways to go about it with no limitations and one is encouraged to be creative as possible in the process. It becomes kind of fun after a while actually.

  2. Oh, thank heavens there are actual lessons on how to improve memory. Do u know of anyone who thinks their memory just left them, after they returned from particularly high altitudes? That’s what’s happened to me.

    This was such a helpful post about improving memory. Thank u. I sure think I shall be able to remember particularly complex numbers with that hack. I am looking forward to more nuggets from you about this stuff.



    • Hi there Aparna! I am glad to hear! In terms of whether one feels like their memory left them after returning from high altitudes, I don’t think you are the only one! I am guessing you are traveling by plane in that instance? I think what happens is that in order for memory to be optimal, we need a certain level of healthy stress (not too much, not too little) and a good, steady intake of oxygen from breathing. Perhaps when you are at those high altitudes, you could be jet-lagged (tired) and/or oxygen deprived (less oxygen at higher altitudes) at the moment which aren’t necessarily the best conditions for optimal memory. My memory doesn’t work as well too when on “vacation mode” or during extreme stress like when preparing for an interview or when cramming for an exam in school.

  3. Some great suggestions on how to improve memory. I strongly believe that the saying “if you don’t use it you lose it” applies to everything, including our brain so I’m constantly using every opportunity to train it. When I need to make a sum of two or three numbers, I do it in my head instead of using a calculator and I also try to remember long numbers. I will try your methods as well. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hello Lenka! I am happy to hear that you like these suggestions. I too am trying to find ways to train my brain in every way possible to keep it as sharp as possible, although the urge to take it easy also keeps fighting back. “Use or lose it” is definitely easier said than done. I try to remind myself that if it doesn’t work out for me today, then there is always tomorrow.

  4. This is interesting for me. I am a 67 year old female who is always working on methods to remember details, especially numbers. I think I am going to try your suggestion for the phone numbers. For the exercises I have mastered, I have used visualisation to remember numbers and, like you say, if you give it some meaning, then you will remember.Thank you for the tips .

    • Hello JJ! I am happy to hear that you are still finding ways to remember details! With the available technology today, it does help make life a lot easier because it does a lot of the work of remembering things for us. Although convenient, it also backfires in a sense because we start to rely more on technology and not on our own ability to remember things. I think finding the right balance is always key.

      The strategies in this article also tie with learning a lot. Everyone has different styles of learning and there are 3 main ones: visual, auditory, and tactile. Education back in the day was almost purely auditory making learning a bit more difficult due to the passiveness in the delivery of content. Pure auditory learning will be difficult for the visual and tactile learners. These days, education has grown to be more interactive through incorporation of visual and tactile approaches through programs like Khan Academy. By adding all these learning styles altogether, it allows for optimal retaining of content.

  5. Hi Mike. Remembering phone numbers is something I have always struggled with. Thank you for sharing your strategies for memory. I like the phone number strategy and the “recent contacts” app. I didn’t know about that app. I have an Android phone, do you know if there is a “recent contacts” app for my phone? 


    • Hello Evelyn! I am glad you like these strategies for memory. The recent contacts app has saved me a bunch of times. This app should be available for Android phones too; in fact, my friend who suggested this app to me had an Android phone.

  6. LOL Mike, I had a memory like an elephant when I was younger. It all goes to heck after a while though, right? I am thankful everyday for online tools that help me find and remember people I meet, as well as a ton of other stuff! Thanks for the memory suggestions. You are right – use it or lose it!

    • Hello there, Marsha! I too had that elephant memory once but definitely lost it with time. I did not even have to study for school back in the day since I would just remember everything (to a certain point). I wish I had that ability again and definitely thank goodness for the tools available today.

  7. Hey Mike. Another great post showing how to deal with day to day problems. I’m constantly trying to train my brain and memory by solving all types of puzzles. Also tested few phone apps which were advertised as ‘brain trainers’ but to be fair I wasn’t stunned with results. Looking forward to test your method of memorizing contacts, seems simple and effective.

    • Hello Cogito! These days I’ve been trying to find ways to improve my brain function and memory as well and I too have noticed those “brain trainers” were not necessarily as great as they say they are. Perhaps it is more suitable for those who have been out of school for a really long time and haven’t had too much brain stimulating activities since then. There is a bit of a learning curve to those programs but eventually we grow accustomed to it and can practically do it on autopilot. 

      Being on WA and allowing our creativity to manifest itself in the process and working out our brains in this manner far outweighs those “brain trainer games” and it is also more productive! By taking part in this type of activity, it will definitely help keep our brains in good shape.

  8. What a terrific site you are developing here with so many “life hacks”.  I enjoyed reading on a different page about the benefit of microfiber towels and here you are touching on another subject that causes problems for so many. “remembering recently added contacts”. The way you describe breaking the digits up into groups 1st, second and final is a great tip. The ABC method is also a system I have used in the past, as well of course of repeating the person`s name numerous times after just meeting them.  More difficult today with so much more being done remotely. !  But still possible.  Love your site.

    • Hello there, Trevor! I am happy to hear that you’ve been enjoying my articles. Repetition is another great way to help with remembering something, I use that regularly too on top of the techniques. These techniques can be applied to any other aspect of our lives that involve memory (school, work, etc.) and not just with remembering recently added contacts.

  9. We all use memory capacity as we get older but I think you’ve touched on the reason here:  When you stopped your relentless training after high school, your brain got lazy.  “Mind Games” are essential to everyone who wants to stay sharp mentally!  Your suggestion of memorizing blocks of information is a great trick!  The association game helps.
    And, of course, downloading a Recent Contacts ap also works.  Thank you for this great list of ideas to combat our memory lapses!

    • Hello there, Cynthia! Mind games are a great way to stimulate the brain. Glad you were able to find this article helpful for you!

  10. Great suggestions! It sucks that our memory starts to fail us as we age, but it is what it is. I have noticed it too. I can’t retain things as I used to when I was a teenager.

    Some people say sudoku is great to enhance your memory. I’ll have to give it a try.

    I didn’t know about the Recent Contacts app for iPhone. I will download it. Thanks for the tip!

    • Hi there, Enrique! It is terrible that our memory starts to fail us as we age, but if we constantly train it, the decline can be significantly reduced. Sudoku is a great way to stimulate the brain but it is also good to change things up every once in a while. Unfortunately, our minds can get used to things and will not be as stimulated with the same activities. Learning a new language, skill, or hobby can be other great ways to stimulate the brain.

  11. A mental agent is a wonderful thing. That’s how we practice our brains every day. Exercising is the key to everything you want to achieve in life. Only by training and dissemination of memory can we get excellent results. We have different methods and tools at our disposal that can make our daily lives easier. They need to be tested! I wish you many successes in all fields.

  12. Greetings,

    I’m not the best speller but I see the word “Infact” is spelled incorrectly on your website. In the past I’ve used a service like or to help keep mistakes off of my websites.


    • Hello there, Brenda! Thanks for looking out and I will use those services. Do you happen to recall which post it is?

  13. It looks like you have a couple spelling errors on your website such as the word “Infact”. Check out a service like to help. We’ve used it in the past and liked it.

  14. I think you misspelled the word “alot” on your website. If you want to keep errors off of your site we’ve successfully used a tool like in the past for our websites. A nice customer pointed out our mistakes so I’m just paying it forward :).

  15. It looks like you have a couple spelling errors on your website such as the word “Infact”. Check out a service like to help. We’ve used it in the past and liked it.

  16. Hey Mike! Wow this is really handy! I always get spam in many ways, shape, or form! By far the most annoying has been the spam callers! I have started to ignore for a bit but sometimes I do have important calls waiting for me, so then I have just been answering them for now. But this tactic you have? Just wow. I am going to use it more often now!

  17. Hey Mike! This is some useful info to know! Gosh, I have no idea how many times I forgot the info of someone I just recently added! I will definitely abuse the heck out of this app! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Hey Mike! Thanks a bunch for this! I am definitely guilty of forgetting recently added contacts especially since I meet a lot of new people. Fortunately, most reply to me first which saves me. However, I cannot rely on that all the time!

  19. My memory has gone down the shitter now. I can’t remember anything for long anymore let alone the new people’s contact info that I add! I will definitely be using this app you suggested.

  20. This is probably one of the most helpful posts I’ve read in a while! This is definitely one awesome life hack that I definitely need. Thanks for sharing this! I will definitely be using that app!

  21. Hey Mike! At the place I work at…I have to meet new people every single day! You have no idea how many times I have added a contact and forgotten what I named them as!! I’ll be lucky if I happen to have the time to message them right away! I will be sure to use the strategies you provided!


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