Getting started

Learn how to get started with

The documentation falls into two broad categories:

  • Using the App: Guidance on which buttons to push on the app itself, in order to get stuff done.
  • Effective Learning: Guidance and best practices on how to learn more effectively with the app.

Before we start

TimeToTime is for building strong associations between events that you know, and dates that you don't yet know. This means it will be considerably more difficult to learn events that you don't know and try and correlate them with dates that you also don't know. We recommend against doing that, though there are techniques (such as building links and creating a story as you learn).

Along the way, TimeToTime helps you get a feel for the order of events (what happened before/after/during an event), and the relationships between events (what links exist between the dates).

See what's it for for more.

Timely quote

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
— attributed to Mark Twain

Setting up decks

  • You start with what you know, by creating an anchor deck - a deck of dates that you already know. These decks are great for "pegging" new dates against, and will help you position new dates that you learn. See anchor dates for more.
  • You then create one or more decks of dates that you want to learn. If you'd prefer, you can instead use the search functionality to find decks that others have published, and learn those.
  • When you create your decks, you can use Wikipedia to prepopulate much of the data for an event.

You'll probably create a deck for a course you're following, or perhaps one of dates that you encounter in life - from books you read or movies you see. This is a continuos process - your deck will grow as you learn.

Setting up connections

We learn best by stories - by connecting events. For example, there is a rumour that Michelangelo was walking down the street, and met Da Vinci. That's enough for you to create a link, a connection, between these two people - and you know that they lived at the same time - which is great for trying ot position events (and for telling a story of those events).

See making good links for more.

Once you have a deck, and a few connections, you'll be ready to learn.

The learning process

The learning process typically starts with an introduction, then a review.

The Learning Phase is a process of repeatedly exposing you to a new date over a period of time. You can control the frequency and spacing of this introduction - but the point is to introduce you to a date, repeatedly, along with other dates. This gives you some time to get "used to the date", to position the date, and to create new links between dates.

It doesn't matter if you get something wrong - it takes time, and that's the point of introduction.

After introduction, a date moves into a review queue. The Revising Phase teaches you dates from this queue. TimeToTime determines an optimal time at which to remind you to review a date, using a form of spaced repetition.

If you get stuck on a date, the date will be moved from the review queue to the difficult queue, and you'll next encounter it in the Difficult Phase. This is very similar to the Learning Phase - you'll be repeatedly exposed to the date, giving you a chance to find more ways to think about it, and more ways to link it to other dates.

It will always ask you about a date in two different ways. One is contextual - asking you about a date in relationship to others (is it before or after another, for example, or did it occur between two other dates). The other is more absolute - which is typically something like selecting the right date from a set of dates, or entering the date itself.

If you get a date wrong, you'll be prompted to review it again relatively soon.
If you get it right, there will be a larger gap to the next review.

Going further

  • Check out duels as a nice way to measure your progress against someone else.
  • Consider publishing a deck so that others can benefit from your work.

Good luck

All the best! Remember, it takes time. Don't stress if you get something wrong - but do try and always pay attention to a date, and to connecting that date to some other one.