Just when you thought you already know a lot of memory tools and techniques, we have more in store for you in this chapter.
Being disorganized can surely take up a lot of your time, and it can negatively affect your efficiency. Your memory works the same way. Much like folders in a filing cabinet, you can also create mental folders to retain details in an organized manner.
How do we do this?
We create mental folders out of aspects that we can never forget or that are stored in our long-term memory, like days of the week and parts of the body. For this example, we shall take the parts of the body which are the hair, eyes, nose, lips, shoulders, chest, tummy, thighs, knees, and foot. Please take note that you can choose other body parts that are more familiar to you.
Let’s say you have a list of tasks to do. If task number 1 is watering the plants, you can imagine your hair having flowers and leaves growing all over it. The flowers in your hair are happily dancing about as they are enjoying the fresh feeling of water being showered upon them. If task number 2 is cooking fried chicken for dinner, you can visualize your eyeballs to be shaped like whole chicken. The chicken looks so juicy while being fried to perfection.
Do this with the rest of your tasks. Assign a task to each file folder and create an exaggerated and humorous visualization for it. Have fun.
The Story Method
This method requires the creation of a whole story, but it doesn’t have to be extensive as long as all the things to remember are included in the story. It establishes a connection between all the objects, where the sequence of events are easier to remember.
For example, your best friend requested you to serve these 7 dishes on his extravagant homecoming party, namely: prawn, crab, spinach, salmon, roast beef, pasta, and pizza. To remember them, you can come up with a similar story like this: The prawn and crab were walking side by side until the spinach came and yelled at them to pay their debts. Salmon and roast beef came along to stop the quarrel, but pasta and pizza showered them all with a water hose because of the disrupting noise being created.
It doesn’t matter if your story sounds silly. You’re not writing a book or report anyway. And remember, the sillier the story, the easier it is to remember.
The Facts Association
We are continually acquiring items of information regarding all kinds of subjects, and yet when we wish to collect them, we often find the task rather difficult, even though the original impressions were quite clear. This is because we have not properly classified and indexed our bits of information, and do not know where to begin to search for them. It is like the confusion of the entrepreneur who kept all of his papers in a cabinet, without index, or order. He knew that "they are all there," but he had hard work to find any one of them when it was required.
When you wish to consider a fact, ask yourself the following questions about it:
- Where did it come from or originate?
- What caused it?
- What history or record has it?
- What are its attributes, qualities and characteristics?
- What things can I most readily associate with it? What is it like!
- What is it good for—how may it be used—what can I do with it?
- What does it prove—what can be deduced from it?
- What are its natural results—what happens because of it?
- What is its future; and its natural or probable end or finish?
- What do I think of it, on the whole— what are my general impressions regarding it?
- What do I know about it, in the way of general information?
- What have I heard about it, and from whom, and when?
If you will take the trouble to put any "fact" through the above rigid examination, you will not only attach it to hundreds of convenient and familiar other facts, so that you will remember it readily upon occasion, but you will also create a new subject of general information in your mind of which this particular fact will be the central thought.
The more other facts that you manage to associate with any one fact, the more pegs you will have to pull that fact into the field of consciousness and the more cross indexes will you have whereby you may "run down" the fact when you need it.
7 Principles of Memory
The principles below may be applied to every aspect of your daily life: at home, at school, at work, and in your leisure time. Know that memory definitely involves learning, and both are complimentary activities for better survival and achievement in our modern world.
- Learners learn from their behavior. Thus, learner errors should be minimized in order to achieve better memory and mastery of skills.
- Learning is most effective when correct responses are reinforced immediately. Feedback should be informative and rewarding whenever the response is correct as discussed above regarding memory and motivation. Punishment may be effective if used but data also shows that it may also inhibit learning than increase learning and memory improvement. It may temporarily suppress an incorrect response, but the response tends to reappear when the punishment stops. Punishment can also be emotionally disruptive and may become an interfering cognitive dissonance in the process of learning and storing of information. For example, children who are punished for making an error while reading aloud may become so upset and distracted by the punishment that they will commit more mistakes.
- The frequency of reinforcement determines how well a response will be learned and retained.
- Practicing a response in a variety of setting increases both retention of data and the transferability of these data into other information. This means one may involve a constant rethinking of ideas or imaging the self in a reactive activity (silently talking to oneself in order to elicit conscious response) in order to enhance better thinking and memory.
- Motivated conditions may influence the effectiveness of positive thinking and memory and may play a key role in increasing the level of performance in memory retention.
- Meaningful learning is more permanent and more transferable than memorized learning. Understanding what is memorized is better than just practicing how to become a good memorizer.
- People learn more effectively when they learn at their own pace.