Thanks for the memory Sherlock – I now have a mind palaceJanuary 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Posted in Daily Life | 21 Comments
Tags: Memory Techniques, Mind Palace, OCD, Sherlock Holmes
If you watched the wonderful Sherlock this week (how can you not be hooked?!), you will have seen him trying to recall the significance of the word H.O.U.N.D as part of an ever-deepening mystery surrounding Baskerville and a disappearance on the moors.
Sherlock recalled memories from his ‘mind palace’ and found the acronym H.O.U.N.D tucked away safely in one of the bedrooms of said palace – a memory he’d stored from the past.
If you read my post ‘I was saved by a raisin’ – the one I struggled through during the crowdsourced section of CyberMummy last year, you’ll know that I battled with some mild forms of OCD – including the inability to recall information – mainly ideas and must-do’s for the coming day. Because I also had slight obsessions with lists and stopped listing everything, my memory became even more important a tool.
So when Sherlock so dramatically visualised his ‘mind palace’ with lots of crazy waving and gestures, I decided to get myself a palace too. I have no delusions of grandeur so have settled on a mind house, which just so happens to be a three bed end terrace – just like mine. Makes sense for it to be a familiar place I decided.
So on Monday night in bed I remembered that I still hadn’t emailed an old contact about rearranging a cancelled lunch. I sat him on the toilet reading The Guardian. Come the morning, I went back to my mind house and found him, still sitting there, just where I left him and remembered to email him.
On Tuesday night I put a friends mother up on the shelf in the kitchen with all of my nice little dishes and bottles to remind me about an idea I’d had for a press release (I work in PR) about holidays and holiday habits -my friends mother goes back to the same resort every year. And lo and behold, I remembered the idea in its entirety when I thought back to where I had put someone.
On Wednesday night I put the host of a networking meeting I was attending the following morning in the kitchen cupboard nestled in with the washing powder and fabric softener – well he is only small. I wanted to remind myself of the theme for my ‘one minute’ – the bit where you have to stand up and make a good impression about yourself and your business. And again it worked.
I Googled this technique and found this page about memory recall and mind palaces – I’m not sure if I am going to need specific routes or whether rooms will continue to suffice, we shall see.
The principle is based on the Method of Loci and works on the basis that we are better at remembering locations that anything else. So by putting thoughts into specific locations, with symbols, icons and images to help us remember chains of information, we make them easier to recall.
“Why don’t you just write it down?!!!” my husband said. But if you’re almost in the land of nod and are enjoying that heavy feeling that comes when you are finally drifting off to sleep, you simply can’t move as far as a pen and paper or your phone – you just will yourself to remember. And usually don’t.
Next stop, putting this to the test when in the shower, driving, or swimming with my son – all times when really you shouldn’t be over-thinking anything but always seem to have those little brainwaves.
Only trouble is, if I remember every single one of these good ideas, I’m going to need someone to help me get them all done…