How to Quickly Improve Your Memory Using Number Associations


Do you have trouble remembering?

Do you have trouble remembering telephone numbers, birthdays and anniversaries?

Do you struggle to remember a sequence of more than seven digits?

It is the fusion of the emotional and logical aspects of the human brain that shapes long-term memory and recall of information. However, most people struggle to recall information because they simply don’t yet understand the power of patterns, imagination and association.

The Number Associations IQ Matrix map will help to shed some light on the process of remembering numbers through the application of shapes and rhyme.


Why Can’t I Remember that Number?

  • How do you go about remembering a telephone number?
  • Do you try and repeat the numbers back to yourself over and over again?
  • Do you attempt to chunk the numbers together into easily manageable groups?
  • Or do you try and look for patterns within the numbers that could potentially stimulate recall?

Many people use the above methods when trying to remember telephone numbers or any sequence of random digits. However in most cases, these methods are very cumbersome, and as a result people struggle to lock the numbers they are trying to remember into their long-term memory.

It seems that we tend to struggle recalling numbers more today then ever before. After all we are living in a world overrun with electronic personal organizers, computers, and mobile phones that store information with a few simple clicks. No longer must we use our memory to remember and recall this type of information. Why would we even bother? It is after all only a click away.

Let’s quickly take a look at three strategies for remembering numbers that most people tend to use. These methods include:

  • Repetition
  • Chunking
  • Pattern Associations

Remembering through Repetition

Repetition is a relatively effective technique for remembering lists and numbers, however on the downside it can be quite cumbersome and does require a great deal of concentration, effort, and constant rehearsal.

When a piece of information is repeated consistently and persistently over a period of time, it will eventually be transferred over to long-term memory.

Remembering through Chunking

Chunking simply involves grouping numbers together into bigger parts or chunks.

What if I was to ask you to try and remember the following sequence of random numbers: 2 5 2 8 9 9 7 2 7 9 2 9

For most people this is quite a daunting task that overwhelms the mind very quickly. However, what if I was to ask you to try and remember the following chunks of numbers: 252  899  727  929

Which list is easier to remember and recall?

If you are like most people you will recall the chunks of numbers (2nd example) much more readily then trying to remember them individually (1st example). The reason for this is that our brain’s short-term memory is limited in capacity. And therefore the better we are able to group information into related chunks the more information we will be able to remember and recall at any one moment in time.

Remembering through Pattern Associations

Another method for remembering numbers is to look for patterns related to significant numbers, dates, birthdays, and other information.

For instance here is a sequence of random numbers: 2 5 1 9 5 0 2 0 09

This sequence of random numbers would be rather difficult to remember for most people. However, if you chunk the numbers into patterns that are of significance to you — you will be able to remember the sequence much more easily.

For instance #25 could be your age, #1950 could be the year your Mum was born, and #2009 could be the current calendar year. So the patterned sequence looks like this: 25  1950  2009.

Is this easier to remember and recall then the sequence of random numbers presented above?

Many times for obvious reasons the patterns of numbers may not be so easily associated to significant events in your life. In such instances you must use your creativity and imagination to find association-chunks that work for you. Here are some examples:

  • The singlet number of your favorite basketball or football player.
  • The date of a famous historical event.
  • The number of a friend’s flat or apartment.
  • The time of a television show you watch on a weekly basis.
  • A time of day related to your work schedule.
  • The digits of your bank account.
  • The number sequence of a password.
  • And so forth.

Each of these digit-associations will help you to remember and recall a sequence of random numbers much more effectively.

The remainder of this post will focus on rhyme and shape associations that you can use to recall a sequence of random numbers. These two memory techniques are presented within the IQ Matrix map shown at the top of this post. Please feel free to download, print and distribute this mind map freely to your family and friends..


Number Rhyme Associations

Imagination and association are both critical components of memory and indispensable tools for remembering random numerical sequences. In fact studies have shown that our memories are dramatically improved when we consciously create storyboards of the information we are trying to remember within our imaginations. These storyboards create associations and deep patterns within our minds, that make recalling information easy and effortless. [see: visual thinking strategies]

Number rhyme associations allow you to associate numbers with rhyming words. Here are some examples:

  • 0 = Hero
  • 1 = Bun
  • 2 = Shoe
  • 3 = Tree
  • 4 = Door
  • 5 = Hive
  • 6 = Sticks
  • 7 = Heaven
  • 8 = Skate
  • 9 = Vine
  • 10 = Hen

Once you have taken the time to memorize the numbers and their associated rhyming words, you will be ready to use these patterns to remember and recall sequences of numbers through the use of the storyboard picture technique.

For instance, you are at a party, and end up meeting this wonderful person who you would like to get to know a little better. They give you their phone number, however you don’t have a means of recording it on paper or on a mobile phone. Lucky for you, that you are a skilled storyboarder. 😉

The number you are given is: 35216773

Without even thinking, you create a storyboard of the number in your mind using the rhyme associations discussed above. You imagine in your mind that…

You are walking along a path in the forest when you suddenly see a beautiful big tree (#3). As you look up at the tree you notice a hive of bees (#5). You are feeling a little mischievous and decide to throw your shoe (#2) at the hive. As the hive breaks apart, a bun (#1) fall to the ground. The bun looks somewhat unusual, which makes you feel a little cautious and hesitant to touch it with your hand. You therefore decide to poke it with a stick (#6). As you begin to poke, two heavenly angels appear to come out of the bun (#77) and fly straight up your nostrils. The next thing you notice is that you are growing roots, branches and leaves. Yes how ironic, you are turning into a tree (#3).

Having created the quick storyboard in your mind, you should now be able to remember and recall the telephone number within a matter of a few seconds.

This storyboard will stay with you until you are able to write it down or record it into a phone.

In many instances you may find that you remember this story for days, weeks and sometimes months with minimal repetition or thought. The key to this type of recall is to make sure that the story is presented within your imagination as vividly as possible, using as much color, movement, and involving as many of your senses as possible.

You can use this technique to save multiple random number sequences at the same time by creating different settings, time periods, backgrounds, and colors for your stories.


Number Shape Associations

The number shape associations work in exactly the same way as presented within the previous section. However instead of matching numbers with rhyming words, you are instead matching numbers with shapes that in some way resemble these numbers in visual form.

Please view the IQ Matrix map at the top of this post for a visual representation of the relative associations.

Number shape associations allow you to associate numbers with related shapes. Here are some examples:

  • 0 = Donut
  • 1 = Paint Brush
  • 2 = Swan
  • 3 = Heart (on its side)
  • 4 = Yacht
  • 5 = Snake
  • 6 = Elephant Trunk
  • 7 = Boomerang
  • 8 = Snowman
  • 9 = Snail
  • 10 = Cricket

As an example, you are yet again given the following telephone number: 35216773. However, this time you will create a storyboard by using number shape associations:

As you are walking along a lake you come across a beautiful golden heart (#3) lying face down on the sand. You are about to reach down and pick up this heart, when all of a sudden a large snake (#5) wiggles out of the water and gobbles it up. The snake swims away into the lake when suddenly a swan (#2) grabs the snake by the tail and flings it in your direction. As the snake flies through the air you notice that it has now turned into a paint brush (#1) and it is leaving streaks of color in the sky. The paint brush falls to your feet, when suddenly an elephant’s trunk (#6) reaches over, picks it up off the ground and chews it in its mouth. After chewing for a few moments, the elephant spits out 2 boomerangs (#77) and flings them through the air. The boomerangs soon angle-back in your direction and end up hitting you on the heart (#3).

Yet again, this story should be easy to remember and recall. And it should only take you a few seconds to piece together when given a random sequence of numbers to remember.


Final Thoughts

Numbers are relatively easy to remember and recall if we take time to learn and master a few simple techniques that enable us to fuse imagination and association together in creative ways. There are of course other more advanced methods for remembering, storing and recalling numbers, however the techniques presented in this post should be enough to get your memory juices flowing, and will hopefully enable you to recall random number sequences far more effectively. However, to recall lists of items, you will need to use the memory cottage technique.

If you have used these memory techniques or any other methods for remembering random sequences of numbers, than please feel free to share your comments below.


Number Associations

Download Using Map Free Maps

Did you gain value from this article? Would you like to keep these concepts at the forefront of your mind? If so, then you might like to download the accompanying mind map reference poster to your iPad, tablet or computer. The map presents you with a quick overview of this article. It’s designed specifically to help improve your memory and recall of this information so that you can better integrate these concepts into your daily thoughts, habits and actions. Your purchase will also go a long way towards supporting the further development of these maps.

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Adam is a life coach, mind mapper, doodler and visual thinker. He founded IQ Matrix in 2009 and has created over 350 self-growth mind maps. He also has a Free 40 Day How to Doodle Course where he teaches how to doodle using simple daily lessons. Read more about Adam’s story, and how he created the concept for IQ Matrix. Feel free to also get in touch and send Adam a message here.