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Revearti 2013-01-23 10:16 AM

Why set contexts on hold?
Hi, everyone.

As I read about best practices for contexts, I notice a lot if users have a "Waiting For" context set to hold, which is used if you are waiting for someone to get back to you.

What is the advantage if setting the context to a hold status instead of an active status?

Brian 2013-01-23 10:32 AM

On hold is handy for contexts that you want to keep in the database but don't use every day. As one example, I used to travel internationally several times a year, and had several contexts that were only relevant when I was on one of those trips.

While I was in the states, I set those contexts to On Hold so the tasks in them wouldn't show up on my lists. I could imagine someone doing something similar if some of their contexts were only useful during certain times of the year - say a seasonal business or something.

DrJJWMac 2013-01-23 12:40 PM

As Brian said, the idea is to remove every task in that context from showing in your views.

Suppose that I have a context called OFFICE. I plan to go on vacation. I want to stop seeing anything to do with OFFICE work while I am on vacation. I put the OFFICE context to the state "On Hold".


Revearti 2013-01-24 11:44 AM

Thank you for the tips! :)

gandalf44 2013-02-06 11:37 AM

Also useful for a "Waiting For" Context, in fact, the default install I believe has a Waiting For Context set to On Hold by default.

Why On Hold? Well, I don't want Waiting For tasks, of which I am waiting for something (email/call/whatever) from someone, to be on my active tasks lists.

However, what I do have is a repeating task (every 2 days), which is to check the Waiting For context (I have a Perspective for this), to see if I have if I need to followup, if I have not heard back. If I do hear back, and the task is back on my plate to complete, I remove the Waiting For context to something else, change the start date (or flag it) based on the priority and my availablity, and bingo, not it shows up on my active lists/perspectives.

And to maintain the traceability (sometimes these tasks go back and forth several times between Waiting For/On Hold and some next action on my part) I use the notes field, and timestamp what I did or what the "delegate" did (this is where TextExpander functionality really shines).

Anyway, the "On Hold" setting for Projects and Contexts in OF is probably one of the most powerful features, and what always seems to bring me back if I try another task management app at times :).

whpalmer4 2013-02-06 12:03 PM

Simpler to just put a start date on the waiting task to reactivate at the time you wish to take action. No need to change context unless you specifically want a list of things on which you are waiting. If you have a request for Bob to provide you with some document, in your Agenda:Bob context with a start date in the future, it does not appear in your active list, but blocks progress in sequential project or action group, automatically comes to life if Bob doesn't respond, and can be easily found when you run into Bob by looking at his context, which you would be doing anyhow.

While OF does come with the Waiting context on hold out of the box, I haven't heard of any Omni employees who actually use it that way. I have gone back and forth over the 5+ years, but have used the approach above for the last 3 years and don't anticipate further switching. I do use some Waiting contexts, but they are descriptive in nature, so I know whether I'm waiting for an email, a FedEx parcel, etc.

gandalf44 2013-02-08 05:57 AM

I was doing it that way, and in fact, I still put a start date on the Waiting For task for when I subjectively think I need to hound the other person if I have not heard back.

I like them in the On Hold context until I actually have something to do. Meaning, I have a task to remind me to check my on hold Waiting For context, which I have grouped by Context (so I can see the specific child Waiting For contexts assoicated with people) and sorted by start date. So I just check which waiting for tasks needs my follow-up today, based on that sorting by start date. If I follow-up, and then I have an actual next action to do, I change the context to another that is active, give it the right start date, and log what I need to do (date/timestamped in the Notes field). TextExpander makes this actually very quick :)

I like the Oh Hold aspect as it indicate to me, that I actually can't do anything with this Waiting For list until I follow-up, and find out if I have a next action. And as long as I have my "tickler" task to remind me to check (every 2 days currently), I never forgot to follow-up, and know exactly what the history of the "back & forth" was by looking at the Notes field log I am keeping.

Hey, it works for me, Waiting For workflows seem to have a lot of different ways to approach it as I've scanned around on these forums and web. Again, what's so awesome about OF, customize it as you need. Waiting For tasks are always tricky, at least for me, because sometimes they go back-and-forth for a while, and it took me awhile to come up with a good workflow. The key for me is the On Hold aspect, and keeping the log with dates/times in the notes field.

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