Monday, 27 February 2012

Full date tags

For over two months I've been adding images to my mental calendar as memory tags to be able to remember each day.

I have realised I need to think of the full date when I review the memory tags.

I am in danger of becoming confused when scrolling back using the number of the day alone.

For example, I quickly remember that the 15th was when I met up with my brother in the Capital, but what month?

It doesn't take long to work out, but as the days pile up it will be far easier to have the month and year immediately associated with the image.

It is not just enough to see the image on the page of the calendar.

I'm now stamping the full date on the image when I first store it in my memory and each time I reconsolidate it in reviews of past days.


  1. Lembran - what a fascinating project. I am very interested in finding out what your method is of assigning a memory to a specific date. For example , today is Wednesday January 16th 2013. Do you translate that date into a unique mnemonic image and associate that image with one or more events from that day? You talk about a mental calendar, but one calendar page looks much like another to me! - David

  2. Thanks for your question David.

    I do literally imagine a calendar page - actually the same as the iCal page on my MacBook.

    So January 16th, 2013 feels like it is centred on the page for the month, it being Wednesday. I actually have a strong spatial awareness of where the dates sit as much as visualise it. When I think of the image for that day I feel it physically located in that space and say the date in my head as I imagine it.

    Now if I want to remember what I was doing on January 16th, 2012 - a year ago - I say the date and think of the calendar. I sense the date is on the extreme left and so know it is a Monday and the image pops into my mind (cycling by a river into work on a day when it has frozen at the edges for the first time of the winter). From this image I can remember other things about the day.

    Sometimes I can't locate the date immediately and think of surrounding dates until I have an image which is more firmly linked to a date. For example, I might not immediately recall what I did on January 11, 2012, but I know January 16 was a Monday, so the preceding Monday was the 9th, so the 11th was a Wednesday. If I can't remember the image, it will come back to me running through the surrounding days.

    Something I find a fun exercise, for example when I am on a run, is remembering back through the same day of the month. As I do so, I sense where the day is positioned on the calendar. If I used a mnemonic image rather than a calendar, I'm not sure how I would be able to do this.

    All of this has emerged over time, however, and has been part of the enjoyable discovery process of finding what works for me. As time has passed the methods I've used have changed, particularly for the reviews which I find are essential to entrench the images. They will no doubt continue to change as the days pile up.