The Family Time as a Memory Palace

The Family Time as a Memory Palace

The Family Time encompasses various layers of information to facilitate the connection between timelines and the knowledge they contain. To better memorize information that we often forget, thus causing much frustration, Family Time encourages the use of a very special, ancient, and powerful memorization technique: the memory palace, also known as the method of loci or places. Every national and world memory champion uses this technique.

The memory palace technique is an ancient method of improving memory by associating information with vivid mental images and placing them in a structured, imaginary environment. This powerful method allows for the organized storage of vast amounts of information, facilitating their recall when necessary. By using Family Time, the memory palace technique can be applied to integrate planning, learning experiences, habits, tasks, and events, both small and significant. The benefits of using this technique include better organization, deeper learning, and stronger connections with the world around us.

The planners described in this guide are designed to serve as the foundation for your own memory palace, a visual space that encompasses your work, tasks, and aspirations, as well as the very landscape in which we live and our shared culture. This memory palace is a place you can inhabit alongside many others, inviting them to participate and share knowledge, memories, and common aspirations for the future.

The Holistic and Integrated Approach to Learning

Using Family Time as a memory palace encourages a holistic and integrated approach to learning, where various knowledge domains become interconnected. This method promotes connections between users, historical figures, and the physical landscape surrounding them through memories, stories, and songs. By adopting this approach, the world around us comes to life, our environment becoming an enchanted place, filled with meaning and significance. This powerful learning method makes possible a better understanding and appreciation of the interconnection of history, culture, and the natural world, enriching our lives and reinforcing our sense of wonder.

The Family Time system also encourages you to reflect on your own life experiences and personal development. By integrating the Annual Calendar and the Timeline of Life into your memory palace, you create a rich tapestry of memories that encompasses both the broader context of history and the intimate details of your own journey as well as the stories of those closest to you. This approach not only improves your memory but also fosters a sense of belonging and purpose in your life, seeing yourself as an integral part of the larger human experience.


Getting Started with Memory Palaces

The Family Time is designed so that you can have a memory palace for short-term storage and another for long-term storage.

The Weekly Planner as the First Memory Palace in Family Time

A memory palace is a powerful mnemonic tool that leverages spatial memory to help you remember a list of items. While most people think of a memory palace as a walk through a place, any sequenced information can be used as a foundation. Here, we use two sequences, the alphabet and the week, one on top of the other. A bestiary is an ancient medieval memory technique where each letter of the alphabet is associated with a creature, creating a catalog of beasts, real and mythical.

The Beasts in Your Weekly Planner

The bestiary is already integrated into your Weekly Planner. Each day of the week, from Sunday to Saturday, has four slots associated with a specific creature, making a total of 28 slots. The slots are intended to be read as Morning, Mid-Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. The sequence starts on Sunday morning with the Albatross (representing 'A') and continues alphabetically through to 'Boat' the following Saturday. For example, the tenth slot is 'J' which corresponds to Tuesday mid-morning and is represented by the Jaguar. The animals and objects have been distinctly chosen to be the same across as many European languages as possible.

The animals and objects on the Weekly Planner are the basis of the first memory palace. The animals start with Albatross on Sunday morning and then follow the Alphabet.

Once your schedule is organized, the fun of using it begins. Each slot of the planner is represented by a beast from your bestiary. When you assign an activity to a slot, create a vivid mental image of that beast performing the activity. For example, if you have a client meeting on Tuesday morning, which corresponds to the Jaguar, imagine the Jaguar in a business suit, leading the meeting. If choir rehearsal is scheduled for Wednesday evening, the slot of the Penguin, imagine the Penguin joyfully singing in the midst of a choir.

The key to this process is to make your mental images as vibrant, unusual, and detailed as possible. The more absurd the scenario, the easier it will be to remember. Don't hesitate to create interactions between the beasts. If on Monday morning the Bison is preparing a presentation for the client meeting, let it pass the presentation to the Jaguar who presents it to the client on Tuesday. This not only helps you remember the presentation but also the reason behind it. Of course, you can also use your bestiary to memorize the presentation itself.

This system ensures you remember your schedule, but it also makes the process of planning and memorizing your week fun and engaging. And don't forget, children are watching and learning with you - it's their turn and they are very likely to surpass you.

Using the Bestiary to Remember a Shopping List

The bestiary can be creatively adapted as a practical memory aid for your shopping. In this system, each beast from the bestiary is assigned to a specific section of your usual supermarket, reflecting the order of your shopping route. Thus, each item you need to buy is represented by an unforgettable beast and its actions in a specific setting of the store.

Mapping the Bestiary Through Your Supermarket

The first step to using the bestiary system for your shopping list is to map each beast onto a particular section of your usual supermarket. This mapping should follow the order of your typical shopping route. For example, the Albatross (A) could represent the vegetable section at the entrance, while the Bison (B) majestically presides over root vegetables. As you move through the supermarket, you encounter other beasts. In the fruit aisles, the Cobra and Dragon await you, each representing different types of fruits. This association of each beast with a particular section of the supermarket creates an organized mental map for your shopping.

Creating and Recalling Memorable Images

Whenever you realize you need to purchase an item, you mentally assign it to the appropriate beast based on its location in the supermarket. You then create a memorable image of the beast interacting with the item. For example, if you need to buy bananas, you might imagine the Dragon juggling bananas. If you need to buy yogurt and milk, envision a scene where the Tiger is taking a luxurious bath in a bowl of yogurt – an image that’s hard to forget. There’s no need to separate the images used for shopping from those of weekly activities. The Jaguar eating canned tuna can still wear its business suit to remind you of that client meeting. These dual uses reinforce each other by creating more associations.

Each time you add an item to your list, mentally revisit the entire sequence from the beginning, reinforcing the associations and images in your mind. This mental exercise turns your shopping list into a series of unforgettable scenes involving the beasts from your bestiary. The more unique and humorous you make each scene, the easier it will be to remember. Your child will love it!

Finally, regular practice and refinement are essential to effectively use your bestiary memory system. It may require some effort initially, but as you get accustomed to creating and recalling these vivid images, it will become easier. You should regularly review your images to strengthen them in your memory. Feel free to adjust or replace images if some don’t stick. The ultimate goal is to build a system that best supports your memory and suits your imagination.


The PAO (Person-Action-Object) System

The PAO system is a mnemonic technique that combines three distinct components - Person, Action, and Object - to create memorable mental images. We have started using this system with our bestiary, where we used actions to remember the schedule and the object to remember our shopping list. Now, we will memorize the 364 people from the historical timeline of your annual Calendar. Don't feel obligated to memorize them all at once. Choose a pace that suits you, and it may take time to research each person. The person will still be there in the future.

To effectively use this system with Family Time, it is crucial to study historical characters by watching movies, reading biographies, and examining their works. This deep understanding allows you to create vivid images and progressively complete your memorable characters, facilitating the recall of related information.

Add moral lessons drawn from the characters’ lives and interactions between characters, such as Newton throwing his apple on Leibniz’s head (because they were in competition) or Napoleon dethroning Charlemagne with a cannon (because Napoleon dissolved the empire created by Charlemagne). These absurd historical elements strengthen associations and make the stories more captivating. Memory techniques use "foolishness" and absurdity for a reason. It yields results.

Tips for Using the PAO System

To effectively use the PAO system and memory palaces with Family Time, connect the knowledge you acquire about historical characters through stories, songs, dances, and physical reminders. For instance, you might create a song about a specific character or a dance that represents their achievements.

Place cards and pictures on the wall next to the Family Time to expand your memory palace, covering the entire wall with small images and stickers that serve as reminders for stories, events, or songs. This visual aid enhances your memory palace and makes it more engaging.

Involve the entire family in the process of creating these stories and associations. This collaborative learning experience not only makes learning more fun but also strengthens family bonds.


Continuous Use and Maintenance of the Memory Palace


To make your memory palace even more effective, you are encouraged to personalize it by adding your own objects and actions to each person. This personalization strengthens recall by incorporating unique and meaningful elements for you. By integrating these personalized components into your memory palace, you create a mental space that is both highly memorable and tailored to your individual experiences and perspectives.


Emphasize the importance of repetition in maintaining the memory palace. Each song or story should be repeated the next day, the following week, the next month, and then annually to consolidate memory and facilitate recall. Consider integrating the memory palace into annual celebrations and rituals noted on the annual calendar. This integration helps to keep the stories and knowledge of our civilization alive, promoting a connection with our shared history and culture.

As users grow and evolve, their memory palace can be expanded and refined to accommodate new interests and knowledge. It's truly a flexible system that can grow with users throughout their life. If users experience recall difficulties or find that their memory palace is becoming cluttered, consider reorganizing the information or creating additional memory palaces for specific subjects.

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