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When a task can be done in more than one context... Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes do you assign it a context?

For example, I've got tasks that
  • can only be done on my laptop
  • can only be done on my iPad
  • can be done on either

What do you do with that third category? The only thing I can think to do is create a third "Laptop or iPad" context, but something about that rubs me the wrong way. Is that the only solution? Any suggestions? Thanks!
You could use nested contexts. Make a top level context called "Computer". Under that make a sub-context called "Laptop" and another called "iPad". Assign tasks that can only be done on one or the other to the appropriate context. Assign tasks that can be done on either to the "Computer" context. Then when you're working you can focus on just "Laptop", just "iPad", or "Computer" to see them all grouped by context.

Personally I keep it simple and just put it all in a single "Computer" context.
Originally Posted by GrumpyDave View Post
You could use nested contexts.
Might work. Thanks.

There's an added complication: I don't want to see tasks that I need an internet connection for when I don't have one. That's what contexts are for: only seeing the actions you can do right now.

So in addition to the laptop or ipad or either, I also need to specify whether a task requires internet nor not. So it looks like I need six contexts to make this work:
  1. Laptop Only - No Internet
  2. iPad only - No Internet
  3. Laptop or iPad - No Internet
  4. Laptop Only - Internet
  5. iPad only - Internet
  6. Laptop or iPad - Internet

Yuck. And I don't see any way of using nested contexts to make this less unwieldy.
Why not nest like this:

- Laptop
- iPad

No Internet
- Laptop
- iPad

This way you have all of your bases covered. Things that need an internet connection but can be done either on your laptop or iPad can go into the "Internet" context, whereas something needing the Laptop on the Internet can go further down the nesting. Hope this makes sense?

I do something very similar to what wbs-uk proposes. One refinement is to have the two top-level contexts not be quite so similar, so that the quick match code won't confuse them. "Computer" and "Internet" are two that wouldn't match. You can then probably type something as short as "c l" or "i i" to fill in the context.

Another approach is that if you have a task that could be done in more than one context equally well, just pick one. If it is an odd-numbered day, take the first choice, otherwise the second. If you've got any substantial volume of tasks, you are likely to finish the day with available tasks, so the fact that a few tasks didn't get done because you filed them under iPad and you only worked on the MacBook today probably isn't an issue. If they have time pressure, you'll notice that in your review and make sure to do them, just like you would a task that required you to go on an errand.
Perhaps sometime in the future Omni will add a multiple context per action feature, that would solve a whole heap of these problems in one fell swoop.

Another approach is that if you have a task that could be done in more than one context equally well, just pick one
@whpalmer4 For me, this approach will add in some uncertainty to the subconscious 'trust' of the system (and undermines the entire GTD philosophy). If I'm on my macbook and I don't have my ipad, I want to trust that everything I can do at that time can be easily seen when I view the macbook context. If there are other things that I *could* be doing but could be in any number of other contexts then there is not much point in having any contexts at all, I would still need to do a lot of mental work to check them all and I could not trust the system.

I'm sure there are other ways around this with custom perspectives and such but it would be very hard to use these to produce a real sense of completeness while also blocking out irrelevance. I've used a *lot* of gtd software, and one thing I have learned is that at least for myself, 'workarounds' have absolutely no place in the GTD world.

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