Monday, 12 August 2013

Muscle memory

Recently I've only been including one day per month in my reviews for periods longer than six months ago.

This had been progressing fairly well, despite having a few days where I struggled to recall one of the images pinned to my mental calendar as a memory tag.

The same happened again when I tried to recall 12 March 2012 - I was recalling the 12th day of each month, it being 12 August 2013 today. The image for 12 March was really eluding me, despite my being able to recall the images for days either side.

I've not yet let a day pass without finally remembering every elusive image. I decided to restart the review the process, this time recalling the 10, 11 and 12 day of each month.

The missing image for 12 March 2012 came back in a flash as soon as I pulled up the image for 10 March: visiting a nearby town. The image for 12 March was finding my wife's mobile phone, which she feared she might have left in the café when we visited that town. In fact, it had fallen out of her bag in the car.

I had remembered the image for 10 March in my earlier failed attempts to trigger my memory. There was something about the quick succession of images that was important. My brain seems to have developed muscle memory of stepping from day to day on my calendar when I review every day of the past month. This is not invoked if I try to recall a day in isolation.

It may be that I should make this three-day-per-month approach the norm so the muscle memory does not fade, but at present I'll hold it in reserve as an emergency technique. I would still like to become adept at one day per month reviews. They will be far quicker.

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