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5 Life Hacks Make A Day to Remember

by Bruce Goldstone on January 23, 2014

Seven morning chores—from exercising and changing the cat littler to bringing your lunch, ID, keys, cell phone and reading glasses to work—that you can remember with a mnemonic.

Remember your morning chores—Say CLICKER.
© iStock*

A Mnemonic Device for Every Occasion

A mnemonic device is any trick that helps you remember something you tend to forget. It can be visual, verbal, or both. Use the mnemonics in these 5 life hacks to make your life a little bit easier all day long.

1. How to Remember Your Morning Routine

Tasks pile up in the morning. Suppose you want to remember to exercise, clean the kitty litter, and take your ID, lunch, keys, reading glasses, and cell phone to work.

It’s easy to let one thing slip, especially when you’re groggy. So, make a mnemonic checklist by arranging your chores to spell a word. CLICKER does the trick here.

  • Change kitty litter
  • Lunch
  • ID
  • Cell phone
  • Keys
  • Exercise
  • Reading glasses

2. How to Get Around Town

In any town, the order of streets can be hard to remember. For example, in New York City, the numbers are easy, but the avenues trip you up.

New York City viewed from above, representing a reason to use a mnemonic device as a useful life hack.

Can you remember which avenue is west of Third?
© janniswerner / iStock

A simple sentence memory jogger can help you stay on top of it. In New York, for example, just think pigs to remember the Upper East Side avenues.

Three piglets lead to five piglets, forming a mnemonic device that's a useful life hack to help you remember the upper east side streets in Manhattan.

Upper East Side pigs (We’re not making a judgment, really!)
© Anatolii Tsekhmister / iStock

Three Little Pigs Make Five.

Third Ave, Lexington Avenue, Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue.

3. How to Look Smart When You Help with Homework

Mnemonics can help kids of all ages in lots of subjects.

  • Left vs. Right For those who get left and right confused (even though they know the words well), have them hold out their thumbs and forefingers.
Thumb and forefinger of the left and right hands become a visual mnemonic device and useful life hack to help you tell left from right.

Left or right? Just look down.
© Bruce Goldstone

 Like magic, the left hand shows an L.

  • Comparison Math  The < (less than) and > (greater than) signs are easy to confuse, but not if you think of them as a hungry alligator.
    An alligator with an open mouth becomes a mnemonic device and useful life hack that helps you use greater than and less than symbols.

    The Greater Gator
    © Eric Isselée / iStock

    Of course, the alligator always wants to eat the bigger meal, so the open part of his mouth points to the greater amount:

10 > 2  Ten is greater than two.       2 < 10  Two is less than ten.

  • Memorable Life of Pi Hard to remember the first seven digits of pi? Just tell yourself: How I wish I could calculate pi. Count the letters in each word and you get 3.141592.

4. How to Get a Dinner Party Right

It’s after work, and you’re getting ready for a big dinner party. No time to waste, and then a jar decides to give you trouble and just won’t open.

A woman trying to open a jar models one way a mnemonic device can be a useful life hack.

Which way do you turn a lid to open it?
© Jan Mika / iStock

Think: Righty tighty, lefty loosey. That means the top of the jar goes to the right to tighten and left to loosen. This rule works for most screws and bolts, too. (Of course, you have to know left from right. If not, see above.)

Finally, the food is ready, but what about setting the table. Do you remember which side the fork goes on?

A place setting, modeling a situation in which a mnemonic device can be a useful life hack.

Can you remember how to place a place setting?
© Spike Mafford / Photodisc

If not, just count: Fork and left both have four letters, so put the fork to the left. Knife, spoon and right all have five letters, so the knife and spoon go to the right.

Maybe you’re adding place cards, too. Mental pictures can help you spell guests’ names correctly. Suppose one of your guests is Sherry. But does she spell her name with a final i or y?

A basketball and a martini, representing a mnemonic device that serves as a life hack to remember if a name is spelled with an i or a y.

Would Sherry prefer a basketball or a martini?
© Francesco Santalucia / iStock (L), © Richard Cote / iStock (R)

If it’s an i, think of her playing basketball, for the dot on the i. If it’s a y, think of her with a martini, which looks like a y.

5. How to Successfully Call It a Day

Whew! You made it through the whole day, and you didn’t forget anything! But don’t forget your bedtime chores. If you need to floss, charge your cell phone, take your meds, and set the alarm clock, think FACT:

  • Floss
  • Alarm
  • Charge Phone  
  • Take meds

Oh, I see how mnemonic devices can hack life! What mnemonic tricks do you use to make your days a snap? Please tell us in a Comment.

*Top image credits: All images from iStock: ID © Tom Mc Nemar, lunch © Pictac, phone © Maksim Kabakou, glasses © Evgeny Karandaev, man © OSTILL, keys © cat litter © axelbueckert.

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