Who needs a good memory, with all the tech gadgets to help you?
Technology helps, but a good memory will serve you well when you need to recall someone’s name, or make a mental to-do list.
Here are four memory techniques to practice and improve upon:
1. Chunking. There’s a limit to how many random items your short-term memory can retain. Scientists say that humans do best when retaining no more than five to nine items.
“Chunking” allows you to organize items into meaningful groups.
For example, with a random series of numbers, like “4, 1, 3, 4, 7, 2, 1.” Chunking into groups —“1, 2, 3, 4” and “4, 1, 7”—makes the job easier.
2. Find a trigger. A common trick, this one involves attaching some meaning or gimmick to someone’s name. Example: Fred might be a speedy talker, so he becomes Fast Fred.
3. Word association. Remember “Roy G. Biv”? You likely learned the colors of the color spectrum through this word-association tactic.
Next time you need to remember two unrelated things, create a mental association between the two. To remember that Fishmongers seafood restaurant is on King Street, for example, you might imagine a fish wearing a crown and a king’s robe.
4. Visualize. Creating a visual picture in your mind can firm up a memory. For example, you might create a mental walkthrough of the grocery trip you need to make after work.