One day you’ll be able to instantly improve your memory with artificial intelligence—well, maybe. 🤖
In the meantime, there are plenty of memorization techniques and tools to not only store information, but to also get better at recalling and memorizing larger sets of information.
Virtually everyone is able to sharpen their ability to memorize anything. In fact, research suggests with enough sustained practice over a span of about a week, the average person can increase their working memory capacity to higher recall capacity from one to as many as four items.
Minds are amazing places. But don’t take our word for it.
Read this blog post to find out how these 10 best memorization techniques can work for you and what specific tools you can use to improve your memory.
- How Does Memorization Work?
- How to Memorize Anything in a 4-Step Approach
- Verbal Vs Visual Memorization Techniques
- Top 10 Memorization Techniques You Can Use
- The Best Memorization Tools to Improve Your Thoughts
- Here’s Something to Remember—Do More With ClickUp
How Does Memorization Work?
Memorization works as a two-step process: encoding and retrieval. During the encoding stage, new information is stored in the form of memories by using different cognitive processes, such as elaboration, association, and visual imagery. These memories are then recalled during the retrieval stage through neural connections.
Research suggests certain memorization techniques are more effective for long-term memory of information than others. Some of these memorization techniques, such as spaced repetition and elaborative encoding, have been shown to be more effective for long-term retention.
Others, like chunking and mnemonics, tend to make the material easier to recall in the short term.
How to Memorize Anything in a 4-Step Approach
The act of memorization, well, just about anything, can be broken down into four general steps. Think of them as reps for your brain. It’s a highly plastic muscle that grows the more you use it after all.
Take these four steps to start memorizing more.
Step 1: Attention
First things first—focus on the material you are trying to memorize and be aware of it in real-time. In other words, don’t passively listen, read, or watch when trying to memorize things. Try to take your time and pay attention to each detail, allowing the material to sink in.
By doing this repeatedly, you train your brain to let fewer pieces of information fall through the cracks. ♻️
Step 2: Encoding
Encoding works with either long-term or short-term memory. To ensure the information you’re consuming sticks long-term, it often helps to connect the material to other related or similar ideas, concepts, and experiences.
This will help strengthen your memory and allow the material to be stored more easily.
Step 3: Storage
Once you have encoded the information and connected it to other known concepts, you should store the material in a repetitive way that is easy to remember, such as using a memory palace or flashcards (more on those techniques below).
This will help you recall the material on the spot, which is one of the best perks of improving your memory! 💪
Step 4: Retrieval
Finally, use active recall practices such as quizzing yourself, studying in a group, or using memory games to ensure the material is remembered correctly. Don’t forget to practice the material regularly.
You can practice these exercises with either recitation or active recall. This method of recall is based on the fact that memory weakens over time.
Verbal Vs Visual Memorization Techniques
When it comes to memorization techniques, two common methods are visual and verbal.
Visual techniques involve the use of images, maps, and diagrams to help with memory recall. This method focuses on creating a mental image or visual representation of the information being learned. For example, if you were trying to remember a list of items, you could create a mental image of those items arranged in a specific way. Some examples of visual memorization techniques are:
- Mind Maps
- Color coding
On the other hand, verbal techniques involve the use of words and language to help with memory recall. This method includes repetition, mnemonic devices, and acronyms to help remember information. For example, if you were trying to remember a phone number, you could repeat the numbers out loud or use a mnemonic device such as associating each number with a word that rhymes with it. Some examples of verbal memorization techniques are:
Let’s dive more into these techniques!
Top 10 Memorization Techniques You Can Use
Not all memorization techniques are going to work well for everyone. But there are a number of methods to try! Check out our list of the 10 best memorization techniques to help you get better at recalling data.
1. Spaced repetition
Repeat the material at increasing intervals of time. This method of recall is based on the psychological phenomenon of memory decay, which suggests that both memory and memory loss (or recall fades) through the passage of time.
An antidote to fading memory for both short and long-term retention is to periodically practice recalling or “repeating” what you’ve committed to memory.
2. Elaborative encoding
Link the material to other known concepts. Attaching what you’re learning in meaningful ways to your existing knowledge is a powerful way to remember information.
Elaborative coding is a type of mnemonic, which means a simple technique that helps with memorization. One way to make it easy to relate the new material to what you already know is by creating a visual Whiteboard.
Tools like ClickUp Whiteboards make it easy to link tasks and use your brainstorming techniques in an orderly way. Draw endless workflow diagrams, save them, and refer to them when you need a refresher.
Want to get started with a simple Whiteboard to start logging your ideas and workflows? Try ClickUp’s Introduction to Whiteboards Template!
Break up long pieces of information into manageable parts. This is an easy way to remember information as it is less overwhelming and you’re able to memorize smaller pieces of information much faster.
Some research shows that chunking reduces the toll having to memorize large chunks of information takes on the working memory. As you memorize information bit by bit, over time, it forms a larger data set that’s easier to recall and makes sense of the memory.
Using techniques such as rhymes, acronyms, or visual imagery to remember information in a memorable way is called mnemonics. It’s a way to make memorization fun. In fact, studies suggest enough spelling mnemonics training reshapes your brain networks to support better memory and for reciting information.
A simple example of this technique is reciting your ABCs to music to make them easier to remember. Maybe your art teacher taught you “Roy G Biv” as a mnemonic way to memorize the colors of the rainbow in the right order—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
You get the idea. 🌈
5. Active recall
Test yourself on the material you’ve learned regularly to test your memory. The more you do this, the easier it gets to recall new as well as older material. For example, if you’re a student, active recall is a handy study technique.
When you practice active recall, you’re essentially forcing your brain to recall the information you want to memorize without any help. This method is great for memory retention.
As we mentioned earlier, using visuals is yet another effective way to memorize content. When you create mental images of the material and associate them with a visual representation, this technique immensely helps to commit information to memory.
Using software to build Mind Maps help with the visual part of the process. With ClickUp Mind Maps you’re able to quickly map out your plans, ideas, and processes into eye-popping visuals. Make connections from your visualizations and add context to your memorization process so you create visuals around ideas you want to remember.
Connect like information with other like information. Clumping similar pieces of information together, especially if it doesn’t have to be memorized in order, makes it easier to remember.
This technique is especially helpful when working with numbers or terms that start with the same first letter. Our brain processes the first letter and helps us associate the information we need.
Repeat the material you’re learning out loud. Yes, even if you’re by yourself. The human brain loves it!
However, it’s helpful if you do this technique with a friend. Much like you learn the lyrics to a new song by hearing it and singing along, recitation helps you memorize information in the right order. We know you’re remembering that catchy jingle to that commercial right now. 🎵
Organizing related items together in a structure that is easy to follow and remember. This makes it easier to recall complex information chronologically. This is a great example for those who need to commit information to memory in a specific order.
In fact, some like to use this technique for creating a grocery list because it allows them to visually organize the items in a familiar place or layout.
10. Memory palace
Creating a memory palace simply means using your imagination to create a mental map of the material you’re learning by associating it with a place you know well. When you visualize familiar spaces and connect them with individual pieces of information, it’s easy for your brain to recall new information that’s linked with familiar spaces.
To make this memory technique work for you, first, take the time to pinpoint your memory palace. Will it be your childhood home? A familiar park? Your old school?
From there, mentally point out features in that space that stand out. Make sure you point these out in order. This memory palace technique works off a mental image.
If you visualize walking through a house, you may first encounter a brightly colored front door. Once inside, you’d encounter stairs, then a dog, and if you keep walking, you’d run straight into the kitchen.
Now associate each of the most notable features you visualize in your memory palace—like the ones we just listed—with an important piece of information until each point is associated with a space in this storytelling technique.
Finally, to recall the data, visualize your journey through this memory technique one more time and try to recall each piece of information associated with each space or notable item. Do this enough times, and you’ll make memorizing new information and other learning material a breeze!
The Best Memorization Tools to Improve Your Thoughts
You know about memorization techniques. But you’ll also need tools. Here’s a look at some of the best memorization tools to start using to improve your memory efforts.
Use tools like ClickUp when your brain is at its limit trying to memorize tasks, lists, and reminders. With mind mapping tools, Whiteboard, and even its Notepad Chrome extension, ClickUp equips you with all the tools you need to store information quickly and easily.
A great tool for memorizing facts, definitions, and general information is simply using flashcards. They worked for you when you were studying for the big test in grade school, so why not use them for more help with your memorization?
Audio and video recordings
For those that prefer verbal memorization techniques, auditory learning could be a great way to use recordings of your own words to retrieve information. Audio recordings are effective verbal memorization techniques to help you with long-term memory.
Another great way to do this is to record a video of yourself. Visual memorization techniques work for some when recording a video of themselves completing something. This is a great idea for the visual learner that needs to recall how they did something a long time ago.
And if you’re trying to remember a process for work, it may help to use screen-recording software to record your actions. Tools like Clip in ClickUp make it easy to play back your recordings and actually see how you did something.
Quizlet is a popular online learning resource that offers multiple memory techniques and tools, such as flashcards, quizzes, and games. This resource works like a building technique to help improve memory over a length of time.
Learning with a friend or in a study group helps to encourage more active recall of the material, and ultimately, retain information. Whether in a deep study session for history lessons, learning a new language, or generally needing to retain a ton of information in a short amount of time—we’re looking at you, medical students—peer learning is one of the more successful memory techniques.
There are plenty of memory apps available that can help you find the right memorization techniques for your situation. Several of these apps have games built into the help you exercise your mental muscles.
Using mobile or desktop apps for note-taking or writing summaries of your material are helpful to reference later. It’s also a way to use repetition to commit information to memory as you write it repeatedly.
Educational games or puzzles are engaging and fun ways to strengthen memory.
Here’s Something to Remember—Do More With ClickUp
Whether you use Whiteboards or Mind Maps to visualize and connect the information to commit to memory or you decide to create flash cards, committing information to memory is easier than you might think.
However, it starts with the right productive mindset, some memorization tools and techniques, and a willingness to learn a method. Start a free ClickUp account and see how easy it is to use its visual tools for memorization.