The Omni Group
These forums are now read-only. Please visit our new forums to participate in discussion. A new account will be required to post in the new forums. For more info on the switch, see this post. Thank you!

Go Back   The Omni Group Forums > OmniFocus > OmniFocus 1 for Mac
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

NEED assign to multiple Contexts Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I'm a little confused.. is the hesitation based on how to make it work or whether it is part of GTD?

As far as how to make it work, it sounds pretty straightforward:

You just have to make the context choice a list box instead of a drop-down box. This way, you could select multiple contexts while only having one action entry exist on the project side of things.

If it's a problem of deciding whether this stays true to GTD, then I'm not sure what to think on that side of things. I imagine a purist could stick to just the one context for each action but as some have pointed out, some actions do apply in multiple contexts. It's just a matter of making sure that if it is checked off in one context, it applies to all (this shouldn't be a problem if everything is being pulled from a database which I believe it is).

Selecting multiple contexts is easy. Displaying an action in Context view that belongs to multiple contexts is a bit harder. For example, should it show up multiple times when grouping by context? That's covered in detail in the thread.

I think the argument against multiple contexts is essentially that they are an attractive nuisance. They invite you to fiddle with your system rather than doing work. (Please note that I don't necessarily agree with that argument, but I see where it's coming from.)

Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post

I think the argument against multiple contexts is essentially that they are an attractive nuisance. They invite you to fiddle with your system rather than doing work. (Please note that I don't necessarily agree with that argument, but I see where it's coming from.)
That does appear to be the reason. But it’s pure dogma and for many people plain wrong. One person’s attractive nuisance is another’s essential tool. For me wasting time wracking my brains trying to force a task into a single context when it clearly could be carried out equally well in more than one is the very definition of “fiddling with your system rather than doing work.” As joelande eloquently points put, the guru himself, David Allen, doesn’t insist on single contexts. If someone wants to adopt this rigid method, well and good. But why should the rest of us be forced into it? Say again - pure dogma.
This is a thoroughly dead horse. Continued floggings of such equine are why I'm on the verge of just abandoning the forums altogether.

I sympathize - though I was just replying to yours. Everything that could be said has been, I agree, ad infinitum. Speaking for the flexible school, here’s just hoping we’ve been heard up in the decision zone...


I'm new to omniFocus (but not omniApps) and to GTD (which to be honest kind of sounded like a self-help/pyramid scheme before looking into it — actually looks quite useful). I've also always used the low-tech pen and paper approach myself but been looking for an enlightened approach.

I was a bit confused at first with the whole context thing in trying to decide how best to use it. I definitely can see both sides of the argument (single vs. multiple contexts). But in trying to find a good working solution given the way the program is currently designed (e.g. 1 context) I decided to think about contexts more as the 'mode that I will likely be in when doing said activity' rather than the 'device' or 'location' or 'person' that I will be using/at/with/etc.

Here is a good example. I created a context called "office:bookkeeping". One could argue (and I'm sure you will) that bookkeeping should be a project (and it is also btw), but I would prefer to keep some bookkeeping activities related directly to the client/project (e.g. 'send invoice'). So now when I'm in 'office/work/bookkeeping' mode I've got all my action items available. This works much better that trying to decide the device or location or "essential item" to get the task done which is really (or mostly) irrelevant. There is some overlap such as the context "phone" – but I think of it more like 'calling/feel like talking/happen to have a phone (or skype)' mode rather than bound to the device itself. Thinking this way got around the feeling that I needed more than one context.

I'm not even going to get into the people contexts... seems like a crazy approach given all the people that I deal with. Good candidate for 'search'. To be honest I'm looking for a solution that will make sense using one context if possible. I don't want to start messing around with multiple context/hyperlinked/cross referenced everything. And I'd rather get things done than fiddle with tagging.

I'm going to give it a shot with the whole one context approach and see if it works. I'm curious if shifting the meaning/way of thinking of 'context' to 'mode' makes a difference for anyone. Or if anyone has any other strategies to make the 1 context work well. I'm all for simplicity. Probably very unGTD of me but I could care less.

I guess I'm in the one context camp for the time being.

btw - before I get attacked - I don't really care if its an option. I'm just saying that I'm glad that I haven't had the option up to this point. I think that I would have made more of a mess of the problem given the opportunity. And as a result I would be spending a lot more time with this than I should be. On the other side I also don't have any problem with a software designer taking a stand and deciding to limit options for the sake of simplicity.
Hey All, I only read the first few posts in this thread, and then to see what was eventually the present M.O., and skipped down to the end to read the last few posts. Just thought I'd share a quick tid-bit.
As it appears someone must have already written (based on the fact that I finally did see someone mentioning the GTD system's emphasis on contexts), that's exactly what I wanted to share upon first checking out this particular thread... GTD has helped me, particularly because of contexts. My anxiety comes from never feeling like my time is mine, so I ultimately feel guilty for having some spare time. So, kind of like with money, I used to always give it all away before putting any aside for myself. I do the same w/ my time. NOW, I can actually assign a context (ONE context) to an item. Then, I know I can stop worrying about what *can't* be done--NOW, thus, freeing me up to either do another item in my list, or, just friggin' relax... finally.
To be clear, I certainly would not want to alienate anybody, because a mantra of mine is, "Live and let live". Thus, if anyone else's system includes multiple tagging and / or contexts, then that's okay, but because OF seems to want to utilize and / or target the GTD demographic, this seems logical to me that that's why they have NOT provided for multiple contexts. Because THAT'S the whole point of GTD, "stress-free" productivity. For me, while a more database oriented app which uses / provides for cross referencing... that's specifically what I personally, am trying to avoid. I do have apps which do this, and again, just for me personally, that ADDs to my anxiety, not detracts from it. GTD, as implemented within David Allen's book, helps me to do just that... not feel guilty because I finally have some time to myself to do whatever the hell it is I'd like to at that moment. Multiple contexts would defeat (again, FOR ME) the whole purpose. This does NOT mean I think that the folks who want that feature are wrong or bad or mutants of some kind, it just doesn't work for me, for these particular purposes. Finally, if they DO implement this feature / option within OF, I hope it's one that I can NOT have to even see while IN contexts. Sorry if this sounded like a rant.
Douglas and kidbizslick both make good points. They have methods which work for them and that’s great. Most of the time one context is fine. I’ll grant, too, that trying to fix on a single context can be clarifying in the GTD sense. But it’s horses for courses in the end. In my experience and that of many others, it’s just blindingly obvious that sometimes there is more than one context and that accepting this increases efficiency rather than confusing matters. It ensures the task actually gets done rather than being overlooked at the most opportune time. In such cases it’s having to force a thing into a single context that wastes time and screws up GTD - for many of us a real weakness of OF. So, the obvious answer: make both possible, and those that prefer to work always with one can just ignore the alternative.
Just a quick addition. The point we in the flexible party are making is not that you should sit down with every task and work out all the possible contexts in which it could be achieved. Obviously that way madness lies and anyone looking to organize their time better with a tool like OF should be advised strongly against any such temptation. It’s just that some tasks, sometimes many, sometimes just a few, will be doable in more than one context, and it may sometimes be truly impossible to choose one over another. In the interests of getting them done opportunely such a tool needs to take this into account.
First, I am in the context tagging camp. However, we have to use the tool we have (a damn fine one I might add!); and will summarize a workaround that was either mentioned earlier or in another thread for anyone who has skippped through most of the posts in this thread.

While not perfect, a context hierarchy can help with many (most?) of the situations where you really want context tagging. I'll bet most of us have work and home contexts. You can cheat your way to a bit of tagging by treating your top level contexts as types of activities - rather then treating them as locations. Then include any location specific sub-contexts at a lower level.

For example, I can pursue "work:anywhere" context tasks at home (or at the coffee shop), but I can't tackle "work:office" at those locations.

Last edited by yucca; 2008-01-18 at 09:47 AM..

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Simple Applescript, Create Task, Assign resource, Assign dependency dexterama OmniPlan Extras 2 2012-11-18 12:25 PM
Assign a time window for contexts Pixín OmniFocus 1 for Mac 2 2010-02-04 10:44 PM
Multiple Contexts? moniot OmniFocus 1 for Mac 18 2008-08-14 11:18 AM
multiple contexts and multiple projects mind full of water OmniFocus 1 for Mac 7 2008-06-23 09:31 AM
Multiple Activites for Multiple Contexts Journey OmniFocus 1 for Mac 12 2007-12-27 01:03 AM

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:09 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.