I love the brain-building website Lumosity.com. Here are some great tips from a recent email from Lumosity.com: Ancient techniques for improving your memory.
1. Build a Memory Palace
Used by the ancient Greeks, the “memory palace” technique is based on the fact that people have a far better memory for the tangible (physical spaces, images) than for the abstract (numbers, words, ideas).
To create your own memory palace, pick a familiar space and fill it with vivid representations of whatever you want to remember. The odder these images, the better.
Let’s say you need to buy a bag of oranges, then pick up a dog at the pound. First, picture walking into your house. Now picture an enormous orange tree growing through the middle of your couch (that’s your bag of oranges). Then mentally travel to your bathroom, where you see a tiny one-pound dog sitting on a scale. You’ve now created a “memory palace” that will make your to-do list very hard to forget.
2. Break information into bite-sized chunks
In 1955, psychologist George Miller discovered that most people can only hold about seven “chunks” of information in their head at once. While the precise number varies depending on the context and the individual, scientists agree that the number is relatively small.
Get the most out of your available memory chunks by grouping information intelligently. Let’s say you’re given the numbers “7 4 7 6.” Instead of storing them as four separate chunks, you can transform them into one memorable date: July 4, 1776, Independence Day in the US. Keep doing this, and you’ll be amazed by how much information you can string together.