I found an interesting article on a method of improving memory. The subject of the post had a lot of the same concerns I do, such as not having enough time to learn everything that he might need to know, thus needing more efficient means of acquiring and retaining information. While the techniques he developed were primarily applied to language learning, perhaps they can be applied to other things, such as computer science. In any event, I think it's worth a read. Perhaps some of the people who've had academic and intellectual success throughout their lives have learned or developed similar techniques.