Moms have a lot on their brains! But adding this trick to your arsenal will help you remember anything – especially when you don’t have time to write it down right away.
Moms are human. It’s as simple as that.
Yet, we go throughout each day carrying an impressive amount of information in our heads. Kid’s schedules, doctor’s appointments, grocery lists, menus, chores, that thing we’re supposed to be at Thursday afternoon…
It’s amazing we can remember as much as we do.
But there are also things we forget.
Have you ever asked yourself:
- “Did I remember to switch out the laundry?”
- “What was that thing I needed to add to my grocery list?”
- “When did I sign up for softball snacks?”
- “Wait, did I forget to shave my other leg again??”
I know I have!
But before you brush it off as the hormonal “mom brain”, think about all your brain holds and processes each day. Having a mom’s brain requires us to be aware of all that’s needed to run our families, households and personal lives all at once – and that’s a lot!
So it’s no wonder we’re always on the hunt for systems and tricks to help us stay on top of it all. From writing things down to routines and schedules that help us organize our day, there are a lot of helpful systems out there.
But what happens when you need to remember something before you have a chance to write it down? When you’re in the middle of doing something else, for example?
Luckily, there’s a hack for that. And that’s what I want to share with you today.
What are mnemonics?
Have you ever heard of mnemonics?
Mnemonics are memory aids. They work by creating associations or patterns that help us remember things easier.
They’re often used for students.
As a former cello teacher, I used mnemonics all the time to help my students learn the notes on the staff.
Here’s a quick example. The notes on the lines of the bass clef look like this:
To make it easy for my students to remember the notes, we used this sentence: Good Burritos Don’t Fall Apart.
Or, in elementary school, you might have learned the order of the rainbow by using the name Roy G. Biv. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)
Get the idea?
It’s an effective technique.
So how does this help you as a mom?
Moms have to remember a lot of information. And we’re busy! Which is why we don’t always have time to write things down right away.
To help you out, I want to introduce one of my favorite memory hacks.
It’s a different type of mnemonic method that uses a peg list, or a list of numbers associated with symbols. I learned this technique way back in college (like I said, mnemonics are great for students!) and I’ve used it ever since.
This technique has helped me remember up to 20 items I’ve needed to add to a grocery list as well as dates and other information.
Ready to give it a try?
This technique is simple, though it does take some repetition and practice to get it set in your head. But when you’re done, you’ll be surprised at what you can remember.
Ok, we’re going to learn this technique in 3 steps. And then I’ll test you!
Side note: It takes several tries to learn the method initially. But once you’ve got it down, it’s very quick to use. You’ll be able to remember things on the fly.
STEP ONE: LEARN THE SYMBOLS
The original list contains 20 symbols, but since we’re not students studying for exams, we’ll start with 10.
Look this list over. And then look it over again.
Your job is to memorize each number’s symbol. The best way to do this is to look at the cheat sheet while saying the numbers and symbols out loud. Your kids might think you’re crazy if they’re around, but you can impress them with your new memory trick later.
- High Five
Ok, now it’s time to learn the hand motions associated with those symbols.
STEP TWO: LEARN THE HAND MOTIONS
This might seem ridiculous, but trust me. Moving your hands in association with these symbols will trigger the memory in your brain more effectively.
First, grab your cheat sheet here. Then look over this list and practice doing each motion with your hands.
- Sun: Start with your two pointer fingers together, then move them down to draw a circle.
- Eyes: With one hand, put two fingers by your eyes then move them outward in an “I’m watching you” motion.
- Triangle: Start with your two pointer fingers together, then move them down to draw a triangle.
- Stove: Use one hand to touch each of the 4 burners on a pretend stove.
- High Five: Pretend to give a high five
- Sticks: Use one hand to pick up a pretend bundle of sticks.
- 7UP: Tilt your head back and pretend to drink a can of 7UP.
- Gate: Use one arm and open a pretend gate.
- Line: Use your pointer finger to draw a vertical line down.
- Hen: Bend your arms and flap down once like a chicken.
Silly? Of course! But that’s what makes it stick!
Practice this list at least three times before moving on. Make sure you say each “peg” out loud while doing the motions. “One, sun. Two, eyes. Three, triangle”, etc.
STEP THREE: TEST YOURSELF
Ok, now it’s time to use this list remember things!
Time for a practice “test”.
Write down a random list of 10 items, and number them 1-10. Don’t want to come up with your own list? That’s ok, try this one!
- Tide Pods
- Toilet Paper
- Ice Cream
Now, you’re going to memorize this list with your newly learned pegs.
Do the peg action for “1. Sun” (draw a circle with two fingers). Then find a way to relate that action to the first item on your list – which on my list above is Tide Pods. Don’t worry if it’s silly. I won’t judge…
Repeat for all ten items.
Need an example? For “9. Line” (draw a vertical line down with one finger), you could imagine you’re slicing a loaf of bread with that one finger.
Once you’ve found a way to connect each hand motion to each item on your list, set a timer for 3 minutes. Do each of the 10 actions, associating them with the 10 items from your list, over and over again.
Ready to test it out?
Without looking at your list, what was number 5? Number 3? Number 10?
If your answers were Diapers, Toilet Paper, and Ice Cream, you got it!
Now, don’t worry if you didn’t get it right away. It takes a little bit of time to get the pegs (numbers, symbols, and actions) permanently in your head. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Then you can start using these pegs to remember anything on the fly.
Putting it into practice
When you feel confident with the peg list, try it out on different things. The more you practice, the easier it’ll get.
Practice using at least the first couple of numbers every day for a week. You can try it on grocery list items, the order of your daily to-do list, or anything that can be associated with one of your newly learned pegs.
As moms, we have so much to remember. I hope this trick will help make things a little easier!
Do you have any tricks for remembering things? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
want to remember this?
Share this article: