MindPerformanceHacks 2fRememberTenThingsToBring

Hack #1: Remember 10 Things to Bring

You need never forget your keys again. Always remember the top 10 things to bring when you leave your house.

You can read the full text of this hack at oreilly.com.

Additions & Suggestions

Concrete ideas to modify and expand this hack go here.

A few additional rhymes beyond 'ten' (though a couple are verbs rather than nouns): 'eleven' is "leaven" (bread dough), 'twelve' is "shelve" (or "delve"), 'thirteen' is "dirt queen" (the Queen of Pentacles or Discs from a tarot deck, or perhaps a very grubby Queen Elizabeth), 'fourteen' is "Floor Sheen".

Make one of your pegs a "wild card" and use it to remember things that aren't a regular part of your list: a bill that needs to be mailed, for example, or a deposit that needs to be taken to the bank. Often, it's enough simply to use the wildcard as a cue that there's something that needs remembering, but creating a mnemonic image will enhance your chances of remembering the right thing when you're about to walk out the door.

-- PaulSnyder - 2007-11-13

I just happened to read another version of this hack today, in Peg Bracken's "The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book", in the context of remembering what to get at the grocery. She extends it up to 20 with the following mental pegs (from Peg):

One = RunSix = StickEleven = football teamSixteen = Licking
Two = ZooSeven = HeavenTwelve = DelveSeventeen = Leavening
Three = TreeEight = GateThirteen = HurtingEighteen = Waiting
Four = DoorNine = WineFourteen = CourtingNineteen = Pining
Five = AliveTen = DenFifteen = LiftingTwenty = Horn of Plenty

Some of these aren't totally intuitive (to me), but I don't think they'd take a huge amount of effort to remember, either.

-- MartyHaleEvans [[DateTime?(2007-11-17T09:41:32Z)]]


Since writing the hack I've been thinking of George Carlin's comedy routine "A Place for Your Stuff", in which he goes on vacation, visits someone's guest house, stays on their boat over the weekend, and so on, each time bringing successively smaller collections of his "stuff" until he's down to just a toothbrush. I find that sometimes I just want to bring the stuff in my pockets, not my murse or satchel, and sometimes when it's just a quick trip to the the library or the post office, I only want my keys, ID, and debit cards. I'm trying to figure out an elegant way of "tagging" relevant subsets of stuff in my mental list. Any ideas?

-- Ron Hale-Evans [[DateTime?(2006-01-30T04:35:41Z)]]

Interestingly enough I had the same problem some time back when trying to remember items I needed for camping vs. vacationing vs. day to day carry items. The sytem that I finaly settled on was simple. All that I do is create seperate lists of items that I need for individual tasks, and then mentally link all the items together using the task at hand as the first item on the link.

For instance, camping makes me think of tent, which makes me think of tent poles, which makes me think of an axe. Another one is school reminds me of calculator, which makes me think of pencil, which makes me think of paper and so forth.

I'm sure that my system isn't as elegant as it could be, but it seems to work well for me.

-- Michael Frink 2006-09-08

I have just started reading the book and I have run into the same issue. The ideas that I had to go against this was to tag with colors or with an event. With colors you have a few things that would be lots of colors, which could be a special * glob kind of color, and then other things that would only be one color. For example: my calculator is #8 (bait) and I only need it for classes, so the hook could be cyan (c=class) or something along those lines. Or my glasses, I ONLY need those for class and driving, so I could have their hook (war, #4) be cyan and reD (reD=d). And then the event one is kinda like what Michael wrote. For a tage we make a situation that creatively uses all the hooks for that tag. Example: class; I walk in to a math class and the teacher is fishing w/ bait (8) in tea (3) because a student is pointing a gun (1) at a huge blob of goo (2). The goo is having a war (4) with some ticks (6). That may be sketchy, but you get the point.

I also have a question: does anyone else have things in their list that are mutually exclusive? For example if I have my calculator I have pens already because the pens are in the calculator bag. But if I go to the mall, I want a pen, but certainly not a calculator. Any thoughts on that one? -- Arthur Axel "fREW" Schmidt 2007-02-24



Errata go here.

Hack Author

Ron Hale-Evans

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This is a page for a hack from the book MindPerformanceHacks by Ron Hale-Evans.