There are many reasons that people cite for wanting to improve their memory skills, but one of the most frequent ones we hear is “being able to remember my shopping list!” We’re all familiar with the annoyance of running to the corner store, picking up items, and returning home, only to realize that we’ve forgotten something. If you’ve gone out to get the ingredients for a special dinner for guests, this forgotten item might require you to change your menu plans at the last minute, which is always stressful.
Of course, you can write down your list of grocery items, but lists are easy to lose. To create a list that you’ll always have handy in your mind, create a linked list. This is a mnemonic technique that many people find easy to use to remember a series of things that aren’t necessarily related – for example, a grocery list. Here’s an example of one such list:
How can we link these together to make the entire list easy to remember? By creating images and connections that form associations between the items, two at a time. To start, think of an apple tree in the meadow, covered in blossoms (“flower” and “flour” are easy to link). Bees fly between the flowers and eventually produce something sweet; sugar is sweet, right? Now imagine a cow grazing underneath the apple tree. Cows give milk, and we make milk into butter. Cows are also a source of meat, so our cow represents both “butter” and “steak.” And what’s the cow grazing on? Let’s say “spinach” to make another link. Now, where’s this meadow located? Mentally place it next to a patch of tomato plants that are growing up a trellis. There’s a trellis on the other side of the meadow, too, only this one is covered in grapes. And if we’ve got tomatoes and grapevines, we must be in Italy, home of fine wine.
It only takes a few minutes to create a compelling and easy-to-remember image like this that contains all of the items on your list, with links between the items to tie them together in your memory. It’s a memory-boosting technique you can use with any set of items, and with practice you’ll be able to visualize images that represent anything you need to remember.
We grilled steak for dinner and served it with a wilted spinach salad and sliced tomatoes, pouring a good red wine to go with it, and slicing up a freshly-baked apple pie for dessert.