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Susan Orlins

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11 Easy Ways to Remember Practically Everything

Posted: 04/ 3/2011 5:25 am

I'm always striving to improve my memory. Below are some tips I use all the time to help me remember.

Remembering Grocery and Other Lists

  • Remember the first letter of each item and make a sentence. For example, Milk, Eggs, Sugar, Lemons becomes My Eagle Sings Lullabies.
  • Link the list: A mound of sugar with an egg cracked into the middle, lemon wedges all around and a naughty child pouring a carton of milk all over it.
  • For errands try to find a common letter: Market becomes "Safeway," dry cleaner becomes "shirts," bike repair becomes Schwinn, even if I have a Giant brand bike.
  • Use a memory palace with outlandish associations as Joshua Foer does in his new book "Walking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything." My variation would have a lemon with arms knocking at the front door, a big glass bottle of milk with arms greeting the lemon at the door, the entryway coated with sugar, and raw eggs all over the sofa.

Preserving Random Thoughts

If you don't have a pen and paper, call your voicemail with the message or text yourself.

Remembering Where You Put Things

  • Before putting something random away, ask yourself, "Where would I look for this?"
  • If your surroundings are organized, it's easier to find things. Invest some time organizing to save time in the long run.
  • In a recent article I wrote 50 time-saving tips, including my mother's mantras: "A place for everything and everything in its place," and, "Don't put it down, put it away."
  • Use Post-Its to temporarily label outsides of files and other drawers after you reorganize them.

Paying Attention

It may sound absurd that if you use a purse you would leave home without it. But that's happened to me plenty, typically when I'm carrying a couple of things I don't typically take, say, a sandwich. So when leaving home, before I close the door behind me, I ask myself, "Do I have my purse? Do I have my keys?"

Keys

Latch your keys to your purse, so you don't waste minutes searching your home or your purse for them. But then of course you need to remember to take your purse when you leave home.

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