Friday Quick Tricks: 3 tips for a better memory

image 1. Pay attention

You can’t retrieve information that doesn’t go into your memory in the first place – it’s like searching for a  file your never saved. If you want to remember something, make a point of noticing it – consciously.


Want to remember where you parked the car in the 52-story movie car-park? Make a deliberate point of noticing the location (Red 45, or whatever) and even telling yourself ‘I’ve parked at Red 45’.

Cletus memory tip:

Take a photo of the ‘Red 45’ pylon with your camera phone. And don’t let Lurlene leave the phone in the car.

2. Hang it on a hook

Mnemonic systems are great for organizing your memories for easier retrieval. The idea is to link new information you want to remember to existing stuff you already know well.


Say you want to remember 5 items to pick up at the shops: a magazine, toothpaste, chocolate, an iPod case and coffee beans. If it’s a path you know well, you could choose landmarks along the way: the entrance to the lane, the tunnel, the oval, traffic lights and the Chinese restaurant. Now you just link the new items you want to remember to the already well known landmarks. Be creative and OTT to help your memory.


  • A huge pile of magazines blocking the lane entrance
  • A choir of buskers brushing their teeth for money in the tunnel
  • Chocolate bars jogging around the oval (give them sweat bands or leg warmers for a nice retro touch)
  • Music blaring out of the traffic lights (if it’s anything from an Australian Idol contestant you could have people moaning and covering their ears for added realism)
  • Coffee beans spilling out of the windows and doors of the Chinese restaurant.

Try it – it really works!

Cletus memory tip:

So does a list. Shell out for some post-its and save them brain cells for alcohol to do its work.

3. Play it again, Sam

Repetition strengthens the neural pathways and this helps ‘set’ a memory. Mental rehearsal is a great way to establish those pathways.


Want to remember someone’s name when you’re introduced? Repeat the name aloud immediately (‘Charmed, I’m sure, Mr Hypotenuse’), then repeat it mentally after a few seconds, then after a few minutes and then perhaps after a half-hour.

Cletus memory tip:

Or you could just akks the dude what his dang name was again.

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Image: clsawyer

By Michele Connolly

Choose to be happier – and you will be.

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