Many of us have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Lists are useful for some purposes but they really do not help with progressive tasks. Whether we are trying to record history or commit project steps to writing, a timeline can be invaluable. Timelines are easy for us to make, whatever their purpose.
You will need:
Step 1: Determine the purpose of the timeline and how dates will be displayed. In some cases, simply recording the year will be sufficient, such as when trying to track the different places someone lived. When recording important historical events or product deliverables, it may be necessary to also capture the month and even the day.
Step 2: Computer software packages make it possible to create timelines in applications like Microsoft Word or Excel. Dipity and xTimeline are two online timeline generators that are easy to use. If you do not go this route, follow the steps below to manually create a timeline.
Step 3: Decide on a layout for the timeline. It could be horizontal, with the earliest date on the left and working toward the right. Or, it could be vertical, with the earliest date featured at the bottom of the page and working upward. Additional pages can be added to the right and top, respectively, if needed.
Step 4: Use the pencil and ruler, draw a horizontal or vertical line across the middle of the page, depending on the layout determined in Step 2. At the bottom or far left of the line, depending on layout, draw a small perpendicular line intersecting the horizontal or vertical line. List the date on one end of this line and the event on the other. Write small enough to include a brief synopsis of the event. An example: July 17, 1993- Mary is born.
Step 5: Move up or across the line to add the event that happened next and its associated date. Leave a space between the first event and this one that is representative of the amount of time that has passed. For example, if capturing all events in a year by month and day, only a small space should be placed between the first event and one that occurred one week later. The same holds true for events in back-to-back years on a timeline that spans a century. The timeline should provide the reader with a sense of the amount of time that passed between each event.
Step 6: Next to or above the description of each event, insert an image depicting it, if desired.