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Hello,

I'm new, I'm not getting it :-) Here's my situation:

Task: Buy DVD blanks

There are three shopping malls i regularly visit (let's call them A, B, C), however only two of them (A and C) carry DVD blanks. How do I express that in contexts for that task? When I am about to go to leave for shopping at mall A, I'd like to just click on the "@mall A" context and see what I can shop for there, same for "@mall C" (and the "buy DVD blanks" should show up in both) or "@mall B" (where the task should not show up in).

My immediate intuitive solution would have been to set multiple contexts, namely "@mall A" and "@mall C" on the task "buy DVD blanks" (like applying two tags to an item), but that's not possible as there can only be one context set on a task.

How do I set this situation up? Looks trivial, but I don't see the solution...

Thanks for any ideas,
Christian
 
A few ideas:

1. You could establish hierarchical contexts like this:

- Shopping
-- Mall B
-- Malls with Tech Equipment
--- Mall A
--- Mall C

Your Buy DVD Blanks would go in "Malls with Tech Equipment".

2. Consider whether you really need that level of specificity in your contexts. I used to have a complex context hierarchy for shopping. Now I just have:

- Errands
-- Store A
-- Store B

Most stuff just goes under Errands. I visit Store A and Store B regularly, so some specific stuff goes there.

It's true that my Errands list sometimes shows stuff that I can't get at a particular location, but I find that mentally skipping over the occasional item takes much less energy than managing a more complex system. (Of course, your needs might be different. Shopping isn't an important part of my life and I do much of it on-line.)

3. OF 2.0 is supposed to have custom meta-data, which would let you assign tags to items. For that, you'll just have to be patient (or if it is really important to you, look at one of the competing products).
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Another tactic that could be used is to add multiple actions, in an "doing A cancels B" setup. So, you'd add

Buy DVD blanks @Mall A (@Mall A means Mall A is the context, not part of the action title)
Note: cancel <link1>

Buy DVD blanks @Mall C
Note: cancel <link2>

<link1> points at the Buy DVD blanks @Mall C action
<link2> points at the Buy DVD blanks @Mall A action

You can create the links by selecting an action and doing Edit->Copy as Link, then pasting into the notes field of the other action. The result will look like omnifocus:///task/n1Wc6vj_9Wq

Now you go off on your errands, happen to end up at Mall A, score your DVD blanks, and before you tick off that action as completed, you click on the link in the notes field which will pop up a new OF window pointing right at the linked action, which you can delete as it is no longer needed. Close that window and tick off the action you just completed.

For a simple task like this, you could probably just skip the link business altogether, but it makes for a clear illustration of what you could do in a more complex scenario where you might want to coordinate actions between different projects.
 
Hi Curt,

thanks for the ideas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
1. You could establish hierarchical contexts like this:

- Shopping
-- Mall B
-- Malls with Tech Equipment
--- Mall A
--- Mall C

Your Buy DVD Blanks would go in "Malls with Tech Equipment".
I could not get this to work - selecting "Mall A" when I am about to going there would not show any Actions in "Malls with Tech Equipment", so I'd miss out on those. I fear that due to the nature of the requirement, i.e. the identical task showing up in (at least) two different contexts, I start to believe there's no hierarchical way of organizing contexts to achieve my goal or, at least, achieving it in a general fashion.

But based on your idea I found out that you can get there with Perspectives: Create one for each mall, and e.g. for mall A, you create it so that it includes contexts "mall A" and "mall A+B" in context view. So for my DVD blanks Action, I'd use context "mall A+B", and when selecting the mall A perspective, I'd see all what I can do at mall A (regardless if I can do it at mall A only or at mall A as well).

I used a simple example to outline my understanding problem - most probably, such a use of contexts for errands is overkill. But nevertheless, I am still a bit puzzled to see that the basic system (i.e. without the use of perspectives) cannot handle real-world requirements easily.

As you hinted, my use case could surely be solved with the use of meta data items and "intelligent contexts" that are created/populated by a query on them. Well, for several of my use cases, I'll then have to stick out a little longer and wait for OF 2.0 if that will bring me that feature.

Regarding the competition: I looked there. However, OF seems to be the only one with (albeit a poor man's implementation of) reminders via due times, not just the dates, in conjunction with Growl, which are essential to the way I work and to the tasks I have to do.

Thanks,
Christian
 
Thanks for the idea!

As you said, it's probably overkill for my simple example (enter two or more actions for what actually is just one, need to remember to cancel other action(s) when completing one... phew!), but reminding me of the omnifocus URLs was a good one :-)

I used those URLs in the past to back-link from my entries in TimeLog to the respective actions in OF I worked on during them, but had actually forgotten about them. Need to revive that practice... :-)

Regards, Christian
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Roth View Post
Ö I am still a bit puzzled to see that the basic system (i.e. without the use of perspectives) cannot handle real-world requirements easily.
I think Perspectives are a basic feature of OF. They're essential to making the system work for anything other than a basic list manager. Once you're considering hierarchical contexts you should be investigating perspectives. (I came to OF from Life Balance. Places in LB supported being in multiple contexts at once, much like Perspectives do in OF.)

Sorry I didn't think to mention perspectives in my original answer. I'm glad you discovered that solution!
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
I tend to just put things like "Buy DVD's" in the Errands context. If I'm out and about it's not too hard to decide if I'm near someplace that I could actually buy and DVD's. Before I head for the register in any store I glance at my Errands list to see if there's anything else I could pick up or accomplish while I'm on the move. Every time I try to identify the location up front I wind up complicating things if I can get or do it in multiple places. If there really is only one place I can buy or do that thing, I put the name of the place on the list first since its location is a bigger driver than the thing I'm planning to get or do there. If I can't get there then the thing can't be accomplished, no matter what it is.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian Roth View Post
I could not get this to work - selecting "Mall A" when I am about to going there would not show any Actions in "Malls with Tech Equipment", so I'd miss out on those.
It sounds like you have your setup mostly working for you, but I saw one small misunderstanding here I wanted to clear up - child contexts are assumed to be more specific than their parent contexts. So if you select the "Mall A" context, you're only going to see the actions that are specific to that mall.

Curt's intention was that you would check the "Malls with Tech Equipment context", accomplish any actions there, and then drill down to the context that was specific to whichever mall you were actually at.

Does that make a bit more sense?
 
 


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