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Life hacks: 5 memory tricks you won’t forget

Use these strategies to help boost your recall and productivity

Where’d I put those keys? Bananas, shampoo … what else did I need at the store?

We all forget things from time to time. Here are a few tips and tricks to help boost your everyday recall: 

  1. Pick your spots. Do missing keys turn up in the bathroom? Living room remotes in the kitchen? This might seem obvious: It’s easier to find what you’re looking for when you know where to look. Give items — such as keys, remotes, wallets, glasses, scissors and cellphones — a specific place to be. Then get in the habit of returning an item to its spot after each use.
  2. Think 3-to-5. Maybe you left home without your weekly grocery list. Now how do you shop without it? Try recalling the items you wrote down in related sets of three to five. The reason? When you’re trying to remember long lists or numbers, your brain prefers bite-sized chunks. So, for example, you might remember produce items in one group and toiletries as another set.
  3. Picture people. Do new names quickly slip your mind? Try associating them with images that are easier to recall. For instance, to remember Mike, your new neighbor, imagine him on a stage with a microphone.
  4. Leave yourself a clue. If you think you’ll forget a timely task, put something to jog your memory in a can’t-miss spot. For example, maybe you want to remember to pay a bill online the next day. Lay it on your laptop keyboard — or prop it next to the coffee maker — as you head to bed.
  5. Learn new tricks. You can improve how your brain works by keeping it stimulated. Challenge it with novel activities and tasks. Maybe that’s driving home by a different route or trying your hand at the piano.

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