I have developed a way to remember them by sanctioning them in my mind by categories… now this might not work for everyone but I think it has great cognitive benefits, much like playing Nintendo Brain Trainer games might have, because it is only a trick in so much it is something you have to focus on and practice.
I promise if you really do try and practice this method through repeating it to yourself, run through it in your head before you go to bed and then see if you can easily recall it not long after you wake up, that you will never forget your passwords again, even after having a month of work. You just have to train your brain.
The ground rules
- There is no backup. This degree of severity makes you enforce your own rules and treat it seriously.
- You need to remember them.
- You can’t write them down.
- You can’t post them in your facebook as notes to yourself.
- Only trust cloud computing solutions that encrypt and provide high levels of redundancy and personal secutiry such as Captcha log ins.
- Never tell anyone your passwords, apart from your spouse which is totally up to you.
- Don’t log on to internet cafes in the Philippines (or anywhere in the world for that matter unless you absolutely have no other choice) and access your bank details or any other highly confidential information that you dont want hacked.
Right so they are the ground rules.
The memory trick.
The trick is nothing more than practice, but first you have to create three categories for your accounts in your mind.
The simplest are probably the best, and make them really clear and obvious, we are not looking for Inception proof deeply encoded cryptic titles here. My suggestions are;
Three is a great repetition that the human mind can easily cope with as patterns of three occur constantly in nature and I notice in the way we do things. If I tell you something, then repeat what I told you, and then tell you again what I told you – you are likely to remember the thing that I told you.
Patterns are the key. Create patterns in your mind that you can associate quickly and easily with your three topics. I sometimes use colour association because I feel colours and that association of feeling with memory helps embed quite deeply the things I am trying to remember.
- Work – Red (fiery hard passionate colour)
- Personal – Blue (soft deep tranquil colour)
- Bank – Yellow (nice bright loud colour)
Notice mine are simple primary colour associations. Nice solid things to practise and remember.
Once you have got those systems in your mind then you can start to file your usernames and passwords away and think about them as the second layer to your memory system.
Level 1 is your directory level, the root directory of how you remember your passwords.
You remember them by colour association;
- Work is Red
- Personal is Blue
- and Banking is Yellow.
And the second level is where you put the things that belong in each category. Repetition I stress again is the key. Once you have the first level and layer of structure deeply memorised you won’t even think of it and your mind will instantly go the next layer down to access your facebook password and dish it out for you on a platter.
I suggest not using the same username for each category as well. See if you can create identities that suit or match how you feel about the three first levels of structure and give each one a user identity. Keep it simple and make it easy to remember so that you can practise memorising the trickier stuff by having more complicated passwords.
Another tip: Don’t make PIN numbers you or your family members date of birth.
That is too easy to hack, especially in today’s society of digital citizenship and hackers are out there looking for easy codes to crack all the time. Perhaps consider a password generator system to help you if you can’t make long complex ones that you can remember.
Here is my tip for making cracking your passwords harder.
Combine two easy words together that you can easily associate things with, but make no sense together as one word. Then add a single character at the end of them.
Something like motrobike and animals might work well. They are two words I can remember easily!
Have a look at that for a password, with a capital letter at the beginning of each word, and ending with a single character.
That is a behommeth 16 character password with uppercase and lowercase letters plus a character. Make it even stronger by adding just a single number:
And pretty easy to remember when you think about it right?
Structure, Practise and Repetition.
I just told you those three things, three times one after another. I bet you can remember right now without looking up, what our three categories are for filing our passwords in right?
Good. Now keep practising and starting filing those great usernames and passwords away in your very complicated but capable filing system that is your brain. And last of all but very importantly.
Change your passwords regularly. Yeah it takes practise and sounds like a hassle but it is worth it. I recommend at the very least TWICE A YEAR, change your really important ones.