From passwords to birthdays, remembering important information can be hard. In the middle of a busy day how are you supposed to remember your pin code at the ATM or whether you paid your utilities bill yet this month? Thankfully there are a number of tried and true tips for improving memorization that work – fast. Here they are.
1. Loc-i It In
The Loci Technique was started in ancient Greece and has proven highly effective for many people. It isn’t very complex. Essentially all you do is try to relate every piece of information you’re trying to remember with a particular location and image. For example if you are trying to remember that George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 then envision the words February 22, 1732 over the door of a coffee shop you often go to. Then when a test or person asks you when Washington was born you simply call up this image and look at the date emblazoned right over the front door.¹
2. Chunk It
Remembering information in chunks can often be effective. Organize things you have learned into categories and main “themes” and then start with the most important and go over it multiple times. From this branch out into smaller facts related to it. This way you can always remember something as well as what it’s related to and its broader meaning and significance. Using chunks and categories to remember information is like having a mental filing cabinet. Brain: call up finances; brain, call up birthdays; brain, remind me important holidays this summer – and so on.²
3. Tell A Story
Stories are one of the earliest human inventions and we tend to remember stories much more than just dry facts or figures. In fact stories cause our brain to pump out oxytocin which is a chemical that makes us feel more connected and engaged. If you’re trying to remember things from birthdays to information for work or your weekly schedule then try putting it into a story. It can be silly and wacky or dramatic but try to get into the story and drop the key information all over it. Then when you go through the sequence of events in the story you will recall everything you were supposed to remember.¹
4. Train Your Brain
Your brain needs exercise just like your body. Try doing mental workouts every day for at least 15 minutes and you will notice improved memorization and ability to recall important information. Brain training could include doing crossword puzzles and sudoku or even finding online brain training games. There are plenty out there and they test and refine your logic and problem-solving abilities. All of this leads to a more versatile and memory-adept brain.³
5. More Memory Tricks
Other memorization tips include acrostics and flash cards. Acrostics is when you make short memorable sayings that use the same first letter as something you need to remember. For example: Really Outdoors Young Guys Bike In Valleys in order to remember Red Orange Yellow Blue Indigo Violet (ROYGBIV, the colors of the rainbow) or Big Elephants Don’t Make A Sound to remember mathematical order of Brackets, Exponents, Divide, Multiple, Add, Subtract (BEDMAS).
Flash cards are just a simple way to write down or draw things you need to remember. Write the question on one side and the answer on the other. then go through them, shuffle and draw a question. Answer it and flip it over. Do this enough times and your memory will start getting right to the answers, helped along by the visual cues of the flash cards.⁴