I used to say I have some kind of “partial memory” – If I find an event important, I will remember it forever. If not, I’ll bet that I never heard about it. Even though I did. I’m sure I’m not the only person with such memory. But I’ve decided to work on my memory and find the best memory hacks to increase my focus and improve my memory to remember events, names, dates, etc. even if I don’t find them crucial. Let me share my top 3 memory hacks to remember basically everything.
1. Increase your focus and use your imagination
Let’s start with my first memory hack – increasing your focus.
We all know that tricking your mind is a rather challenging task. This means that simply “convincing” yourself that you have to increase your focus, listen closely and remember an event that is “VERY” important for you most likely won’t work for many of us. Therefore, we have to find another way to increase our focus.
What I usually do is the following: When there is something I want to remember (even though I don’t find it that important at the moment), I use all my energy to stay focused while I’m receiving the information. In between, I try to use every piece of information to make an interesting, fun, bizarre, strange story out of it (the more bizarre the story is, the earlier you will remember it). This is one of the most important and useful memory hacks!
If I try to remember dates/numbers, I imagine myself typing those numbers on my smartphone while dancing around wearing strange clothes, or I imagine myself standing in front of an ATM, again typing the numbers and seeing those numbers on the screen.
If I try to remember names (especially the strange ones), I try to use the “chunking method”, which means I separate a strange name into different smaller pieces of the name.
For example: If your name is Marcella (I love the name, but it would sound quite funny/strange in most countries in EU), I will separate the name: MARC-ELLA. Now, if you say MARC, you can basically pronounce it like MARS (the planet) or MARK (a guys’ name). Now imagine this girl you just met – Marcella – waving from the Mars.
Quite funny, huh? Well, it’s also quite easy to remember it.
ELLA, the 2nd part of the name, is a more common name in EU. Therefore, most people will remember it quickly. Next time you think of the girl you met at a party and had a strange name, you immediately see this girl waving or dancing on the planet Mars and you’ll always remember her name is Marcella.
You can use this technique for basically everything. Sometimes it’s quite easy and sometimes you’ll spend a lot of energy to remember a name. But the more focus you put on it, the harder you try and the more imagination you use, the easier it will be for you.
2. Repeat the information during the day
Once you have the image in your mind, you have to repeat it several times until you store it in your long-term memory. It’ll rarely happen that you’ll remember information without repeating it.
Let me share with you one of the most important memory hacks.
As soon you as you create a mental image, try to repeat it once or twice. If we look at the previous example of Marcella, just imagine Marcella dancing on Mars for some time (as long as you can without looking or feeling awkward).
If you are in conversation, this won’t be possible. In this case, you’ll have to use your first next chance (once you are alone) to retrieve the memory and stick to it for a while. Depends on how strong your imagination is, you’ll have to repeat this image/information for 2-5 times before you remember it.
Sometimes you’ll be able to create such a powerful mental image that there is no way you will ever forget it. Another time you’ll have to work hard on it to be able to quickly retrieve the information.
In any case, try to repeat this new information for a couple of times in the week after and I bet you’ll never ever forget it!
3. Use mind maps to make a bigger story
I know, remembering one name is much simpler than remembering the whole story.
If there is a bigger story you want to remember, you should consider making mind maps.
You know when you were, as a kid, drawing those big mind maps in the school? Well, I had to do them all over again. I put the main topic in the middle of the picture and then I drew the branches around. I used those branches to write the most important information on it. Then I drew smaller branches and I wrote there other pieces of data. And so on.
You can do the same thing for basically everything. You can use tools like Mindset MindManager to draw those mind maps. Or you simply make those mind maps in your mind. Train hard and it’ll get easier creating those mind maps.
Mind maps are essential for remembering stories and more challenging information. All those memory hacks will help contribute to your memory!
If you repeat my top 3 memory hacks, your memory won’t really improve, but you’ll learn techniques that will help you remember more.
And that’s what memory training is all about – techniques to remember better.
Btw, what was the name of the girl I mentioned before? Do you also see her waving from the space?