You probably don’t forget your own birthday, although sometimes you may want to, but you may forget the birthdays of people who expect you to remember. The Loci technique is a method of associating locations with important information to help you remember an important date, like a birthday. For example, suppose the birthday you want to remember is November 4. Using familiar locations, here are the steps:

  1. November: In most temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, deciduous trees lose their leaves by November. Your first loci clue is bare trees on the way to work.

  2. Four: You pass four barns during a stretch of your daily commute. So after you notice the leafless trees, the four barns cue you to remember that the birthday is on November 4.

  3. Birthday present: The crass commercial billboards along your route remind you to buy a gift.

Of course, you may have to change your location cues if you move to the treeless desert or if the four barns are torn down to accommodate 600 new houses.