Since the beginning of this year it has been necessary to remember a large volume of information within a very short period of time. Essentially the main method to deal with many pieces of information is to take a vast amount of notes, a task which can become laborious. Whilst well organised notes are effective (I use Microsoft OneNote for my note taking needs) it can slow down productivity with constant checking.
Instead I had to search for a better method to remember information and then I came across a memory technique, one which I first came to hear about through Derren Brown’s work.
What is a Memory Palace?
A memory palace is a method in which you can relate certain objects in your mind to a particular piece of information which needs to be remembered. Essentially it is remembering the layout of a familiar building and then placing objects in each room of your mind. This relies on a strong visual memory and the ability to associate an object with a piece of information or action.
How can I build a Memory Palace?
- Think of a location you are familiar with. This might be your home or perhaps your workplace. You must know the layout of the building in your mind.
- In your mind imagine you are walking through the building. In my house I imagine walking from the hallway and into each room consecutively. In each room I remember all the objects and always take exactly the same walking route.
- Make up objects to put in your house. These objects need to stand out in some way. They need to clash against the room which appears in your mind. For instance on my dad’s desk in my mind lies a very large gig ticket, this object reminds me that I need to go out and vote when I get home.
How is this Useful?
Imagine you need to revise a lot of information before an exam. When in an exam situation I always find myself relying on my memory to either remember the images of books I have read or sounds I have heard. Perhaps a discussion about Public Relations was playing on the radio and then I use that information to build a part of my Public Relations exam.
Instead the memory palace technique allows you to take one of the notes you have made ahead of your exam and then imagine it as an object in the building in your head. During the exam you walk around the memory palace in your mind and clearly remember each item in each room, which in turn allows you to recall information for the exam.
As a person who has Dyslexia my visual memory has always been a lot stronger than my analytical abilities. For this reason using a memory technique which relies on visual memory to remember written pieces of information is extremely useful. I have yet to test this technique in an exam scenario but I currently use it at Microsoft and it proves very effective.