Use Multi-sensory remembering: take a mental visual snapshot, as well as repeat it aloud in your head

Signing into anything takes about 10x longer now than it used to. Everything requires multi (at least 2) -factor authentication because we want to prevent getting hacked. Prevention is usually harder to justify since we don’t see the immediate benefits besides the “lack of something bad”, but if you’ve ever been through identity theft, compromised privacy, or the general feeling of not knowing what someone may have done that you don’t know yet, the peace of mind is definitely worth the extra security hassle.

The most common extra security step is a 2FA code sent via text message. If you want to avoid the 10 seconds of waiting for that message to come, which is mostly beyond our control, then try switching to using an application on your mobile device that provides tokens synchronized to your account; roughly, the way it works is the app and your account synchronize with an initial secret code and then use either sequential one-time codes or time-based codes to authenticate.

I am a regular human being but sometimes 6 digits are hard to remember at once. I see most other people entering their 2FA code in two trips as well, muttering under their breath 3 digits at a time. This mental strain needs a solution. Fortunately I have one: multi-sensory remembering

The trick is to use multiple senses to remember your 6-digit code. People can generally be divided into two camps: the visual camp and the auditory camp. The names are self-explanatory; visual people will look at the code and recall the image of the digits as they go to type it in, while auditory people will “say” the digits, either aloud or in their head. I am part of the latter group. By default I will use the sound of the digits in some rhythmic cadence or purely through repetition in short-term memory to transfer the 2FA code from phone to sign-in. Success rate of only needing one trip is pretty low however (maybe 60%).

By using multi-sensory remembering, so that I tap into both my visual and auditory senses to remember the 2FA code, my one-trip success rate is now close to 100%.