2. Create a “palace” for your memories

Considered an advanced form of memorization, the Method of Loci  has you create a “palace of memories,” by visualizing a mental space, like a house, where each room contains a nugget of knowledge. By “walking through” the house, you can “collect,” and therefore, recall, items you need to memorize. Use your own home, or a place you know exceedingly well, and “store” the items/info you need to remember in each room. It’s all about leaning on and exploiting spatial memory, where your brain devotes a large portion of power.

How it can work for you: Your friend asked you to bring beer, tupperware, ketchup, and Monopoly to his party. Using this method, you visualize your own home, with the items placed strategically throughout. Inside your front door, the floor is drenched with beer. When you reach the kitchen, there is tupperware overflowing from your sink. In your bathroom, someone replaced the soap with ketchup. Then, when we get to your bedroom, your girlfriend is playing Monopoly in bed. This tour of memories, a story or sorts, will make it more difficult to forget something due to the vivid, easily relatable cues it brings to the surface.

4. Link your information together

Make a short story involving and linking the things you need to remember, and use that to keep what you need to remember in check with a connectable narrative. Even if what you need to remember is totally unrelated, piecing together a quick story will help you better contain loose objectives and details. Using the mnemonic linking method, you can make these connections

How it can work for you: Tomorrow, you need to pay the electric bill, pick up your dry cleaning, call your Mom, and record Family Feud on your DVR before 5 p.m. Your story: your power goes out, (PAY THE ELECTRIC) and you spilled red wine all over your favorite pants (PICK UP DRY CLEANING), the pants your Mom gave you for your birthday (CALL MOM). This upsets you even more, being the family (FAMILY FEUD!) orientated man you are. Narrative created. Objectives, stuck in brain.

5. Store your memories in chunks

Despite sounding like the newest Ben and Jerry’s flavor, the chunking method is an effective way to memorize large quantities of information off the top of your head. The human brain can hold approximately seven items (like numbers) in our working memory at a time, but separating items into “chunks” will help you encapsulate more info, using less brain power. It’s like putting all the information you need into separate storage bins, and pulling them out when you need them.

How it can work for you: Let’s use the grocery list example again, let’s say you need 12 items. Separate them into areas: food, cleaning supplies, drinks, and hygiene. Despite having a dozen items to keep fresh in your brain, having four categories, with three items in each, segments the info you need to store, and gives your brain an easier path to applying all that information.

8. Use memory pegs to remember long lists

The peg system is a more complex mnemonic device, but if you can master it, it can become a serious weapon in your memory arsenal. It consists of pre-memorizing a system that you can easily reference. Basically, you create a pre-set system (that never changes) that lets you reference connections and segment the information you need in a an easily memorable, unchanging, and rigidly organized list with vivid imagery to complete the puzzle. One very common pegging method is using words that rhyme with numbers. Sounds confusing, right? Check out this example…

How it can work for you: You can start a pegging system using rhymes, like this: 1=fun, 2=glue, 3=free, 4=door, and so on. This is your master list. When needed, you associate the words or items you want to remember with those pegs. If you are packing for a trip and need to remember to bring underwear, a toothbrush, a razor, and your bathing suit, you’d work them into your system.

Underwear: taking off your underwear often leads to FUN
Toothbrush: if you brushed your teeth with GLUE, you’d have some serious issues
Razor: razors aren’t FREE, in fact, yours cost over $200
Bathing suit: when it’s all wet, you hang your bathing suit on the DOOR.

This takes time and effort, obviously, because you’ll need to memorize a list (like the rhyming one above) first. But once you do that, you’ll be able to slot in whatever you need with relative ease. It may sound ridiculous, but it works for some people.

11. Use acronyms to consolidate info

Using the acrostic method is a nifty mnemonic trick medical students and common idiots alike can utilize to make processing and storing information as hassle free as possible. In the case of doctors, the phrase “On old Olympus’s towering top a Fin and German viewed some hops,” is used to help memorize cranial nerves. My guitar teacher taught me “Big Cats Eat Fish,” to help me memorize the two notes in a natural scale that only have a half step between them. And of, “H.O.M.E.S.,” is an excellent way to remember all the names of the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.)

How It can work for you: Aside from the examples listed above, using acronyms in daily procedure can be quite effective. Bringing up the classic example of a grocery list (guys, I am really, really bad at remembering groceries), let’s say you need bread, onions, Ovaltine, guacamole, eggs, Raid, and salmon. Just remember B.O.O.G.E.R.S., and you’ll be golden.