Use Memory Schemas / Think Conceptually
We rely a lot on what psychologists called "incidental memory" — the assumption that we'll instinctively remember what we see, think, or hear later. But that often fails, and if you really want to remember this week's grocery list, there's ways to be more intentional. "Memory recall is a lot better when you can fit whatever you're trying to remember into a schema, which we've all got built up in our head over many years," Clark says. A schema is just a larger pre-conceived and familiar concept in our head, whether it's "home" or "family." So if you're trying to remember something new — like the fact that your wife asked you to pick up organic milk after work — associate it with one of these larger schemas: Don't just remember "organic milk", but associate organic milk with your wife, or with the thought of home. "Give it a connection in your head," Small says. "Just by making that effort to encode will increase the chances of remembering it."
And if you're trying to remember new faces or facts about a person like a coworker or potential date, Alice Healy, co-author of Train Your Mind for Peak Performance suggests the best way is to connect that individual with someone you already know. "Make a connection between a set of facts about someone new to someone old, like your best friend or mother," Healy says. "We've found in our work there's a huge benefit from relating what you have to learn with bodies of knowledge that you already know."