Memory Tip: One is for Gun

One time on a cruise ship sea day, when there were only on-board activities to choose from, I attended a little seminar on improving one’s memory. Greg Gleason, who doubles as a stage magician at night, amazed and entertained us with his memory tricks and taught us “One is for Gun”.

“One is for Gun” is a method of remembering a list of words, items, tasks, or ideas. I thought it was silly, and doubted I would ever use it. For starters, I didn’t WANT One to be a gun! I can’t relate to guns; why couldn’t One be something else? (I don’t know…sun? fun?) And if I managed to remember what One was this time, would I get confused later when trying to remember a different One?

I must say, though, I have found it to be incredibly useful in situations where I don’t have my little notebook and pen handy. In the middle of yoga class, for example, or while riding my bike. Most of the thoughts that flow through my head while exercising are easily dismissed, and my focus restored. But sometimes I get a flash of inspiration, or the sudden desire to add a critical item to my To-Do list. And, by golly, One IS a Gun!

Here’s how it works: 

  1. One is for Gun: You are supposed to envision something vividly silly, or wildly exaggerated, associated with the item you are trying to remember. Example: If you need to remember to buy milk you could envision shooting the carton of milk with a pistol and watching it explode; or taking a rifle and knocking a bunch of milk cartons off the shelf with it and making a big huge mess. I often think of someone to whom I need to “shoot” a message (think  cartoon pistol with message that pops out and unfurls to say “Bang!”).
  2. Two is for Shoe: The minds-eye image could be of throwing a shoe at the person you need to remember to call and hitting them in the head with it; or the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe …if you wanted to remember something having to do with your children, or with old women, or with actual shoes…
  3. Three is for Tree: For me, this usually ends up being something to do with my family (family tree… get it?) or business networking (branches…connections…roots…). But it could just as easily be that you envision a giant redwood falling onto your car and smashing it flat, thus reminding you to stop for gas on the way home.
  4. Four is for Door: Are you getting the drift? Do you need more examples?
  5. Five is for Hive
  6. Six is for Sticks
  7. Seven is for Heaven
  8. Eight is for Gate
  9. Nine is for Line
  10. Ten is for Hen…I think…I usually don’t need to remember this many things…

As soon as I am able, I write the list down. I think, “What was item one?  One is for Gun…oh yes, I wanted to buy milk.”

I still think it’s silly. And that’s why it works for me. Maybe it will work for you too?

Please leave a comment if you try it, or if you have other memory tips to share!

Copyright 2009-2012 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
Social media links directly to this page are encouraged!
Please contact me for other types of reprint permission.


Share this:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

Don't miss out!

ENTER your email address below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email. (Don\'t forget to subscribe to my newsletters as well!)

Hazel's Books

Book cover: What's a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy

What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy

Cover of "Go With the Flow! (The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook)"

Go With the Flow! (The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook)

Cover of "Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror"

Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror