The world’s oldest memory technique, and how to use it

1. Build your own “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 the abstract (numbers, words, ideas). 
To create your own memory palace, pick a familiar space and populate 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. Picture walking into your house. Now picture an orange-skinned man standing on your TV wearing a bag as a hat (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. Keep doing this, and you’ll be amazed by how much information you can string together. 

– Courtesy of