How to Remember Stuff

Using your memory, using your head, how to remember stuff, how to remember things, how to remember

 What is a memory section doing on a project site?  Think about it, if you can't remember where you put your tools then you won't get much done.  This entire site is set up as a "how to" for just about anything related to projects & hobbies.  You work hard at work.  When you get home it's nice to sit down and relax your mind.  Home is not the place to worry about "the JOB".  "Work" here is fun, making it not really work!  I come here myself after work, sometimes to type my thoughts, sometimes to just explore my astronomy page.  Lets see, it seems like there was something I was going to talk about but I can't remember.    HA!  That's it!  How to remember stuff.  Do you see how easy it is to forget what you are doing?  I am not an expert on memory but I have read a book on it.  I don't remember what the name of it was or who wrote it but I did remember the stuff that was important to me.                                                                                                                                   

Let's take that last sentence "I did remember the stuff that was important to me."  Now we have hit on something.  Memories are acquired from something that happened to us and involve our senses.  If you have a memory that did not involve sight, sound, smell, touch or taste then I don't know how you got it.  Even in a dream we are using some of the five senses.  If your senses can instill a memory then lets use them in relation to what is to be remembered.  One rule to remember something, is to learn it.  I am working on a project and I can't remember where I put my tape measure.  Have you ever said that?  The thing is that if you had taken the time to learn where you put it, such as, stopping long enough to see it when you laid it down and creating a mental picture (sight) and felt the surface where you put it (touch) then you most likely would be able to recall the memory.  
Now I can find my tape measure.  Big Deal!  I want to memorize something hard like a big number or the phone book.  If you meet someone that has memorized the phone book then most likely they are selling a "how to improve your memory" book or something like that.  The truth is that you can do it too with the tricks that I am going to show you.  Remember, I said earlier "I did remember the stuff that was important to me"?  That is the key.  The other thing is to understand "recall".  For example; you go to a filing cabinet and pull a file.  You know which file to pull because of the label that is on the file.  When you open the file, there is the information that you wanted.  Without a system the information would be in the drawer but you would have a hard time pulling it out.  Have you ever said, "It is on the tip of my tongue but I just can't spit it out."  (I am from the south and we say stuff like that.)  The truth is that if you had put a "label" on your memory, you may have found it easier to have pulled it up and spit it out.   You mind works like a filing system.  You put information in, appropriate a place to "store" it so it is accessible in the future.  Without a good "label" or association, it may be very hard to recall it at times.  
How to put a tag on a memory.  When trying to remember a thought, attach something meaningful to it.  Something that is important to you.  Things that are meaningful to me are not meaningful to you, so I will use my associations and you use yours.  When I need to remember numbers, I use things that I easily relate to like racecar numbers, my age, 36 inches in a yard and things that have significance to me.  I always break large numbers into "groups" as well, it is much easier to remember several "groups" of numbers as opposed to one huge number!.  I once did an experiment to see if this method really worked.  I was looking at an insurance statement with a 62 digit number on it.  I have no idea what the number was for and I was bored so I decided to put to use the ideas I had read about in the "how to improve my memory" book.  I gave the number my full attention.  I wondered if I could memorize the number.  It was about this long; 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 only they were not zeros.  I kept track of my time until I thought I had it.  I felt good after 10 minutes so I handed the paper to my wife.  I started recalling the numbers and recited them them perfectly.  After that, I forgot about it.  The next morning I saw the same paper.  I had "labeled" and "associated" it so well that I again, handed it to my wife and told her I wanted to prove that I still remembered the number.  She was satisfied when I was able to recall the number BACKWARDS I could remember it as long as I wanted to simply by reviewing it about every two weeks.  It lost its importance so I dropped it and it eventually I forgot it.                                                 HOW TO REMEMBER STUFF
The number 258438897 is easier to remember if it is broken up as 258-43-8897.  You can associate meaningful "labels" to recall them.  Example:  One quarter (25)of the way around the hour glass (8), I saw Richard Petty (43) playing all 88 keys (88) on my piano in  '97(97), the year I graduated.  Now those relationships work for me, you will simply use #'s that mean something to you.  The beauty is that you don't have to tell any one how you did it.  When the time comes to say the number, just say "2 5 8 4 3 8 8 9 7" and don't tell them how you remembered it!.  If you make up a story using numbers you need to remember and the longer the story, the longer the number.  Say you have the number 15 and you can not think of a meaningful number at all.  Here is what you can do!  Picture a huge number 15 running after you through a field.  The five is going to take the one and beat you with it.  Now can you remember it?  What every tools your imagination gives you to use, use them, just keep them quiet.  Look for patterns in numbers and remember that.  This stuff comes in good on math tests.  Make little pictures out of your formulas.  The same thing works with words.  The word angel and angle.  Picture a angel from heaven using hair gel.  The other word will then be the other one.                                                                                                                     HOW TO REMEMBER STUFF
Give your self this test.  Go back and read the sentence about Richard Petty and visualize this happening for a second.  After you have seen it, don't look at of think about it again until tomorrow morning.  Then try to say it in reverse.  Put the pictures in order and say the numbers as they need to go.  Then pick your own numbers and do the same thing.  
Remembering a grocery list.  First pick a routine that you do everyday.  Take the time to detail it.  Use something like this to remember the food items.  Example; #1. The alarm clock goes off and you reach over and hit the snooze. (Image hitting a loaf of bread.)  #2. You sit up and place your foot on the floor (right in a bowl of milk).  You stand up (and hit your head on three boxes of cereal).  #3.  You walk down the hall to the bathroom (down the yellow brick road of cheese slices) and look into the mirror (and see a bottle of corn oil on your head).  You can do this in your mind all the way to work if you need to and you will never forget anything.  The trick is to remember to go to the store.  In this case place an item in a odd place so that you will see it and remember that it was sitting there as a reminder.    
The next thing is phonics.  Spring forward, fall back.  Enough said about that.  You know what they are and that they work.  Make them up when you need them.
Which months have 31 days?  Hold up your fist and look at your knuckles.  The first knuckle is January and in between is February.  The next one is March.  Long about July you will run out of knuckles.  Just start over on the first knuckle with August and keep going.  When you are finished you will see the all of the months that fell on a knuckle have 31 days.  
Look at the letters and see what you can remember.  What I would like for you to remember is to come back and spend some time here again.  You never know what you will find here next.  

Warren Yates          HOW TO REMEMBER STUFF

Copyright 2001  

Using your memory, using your head, how to remember stuff, how to remember things, how to remember