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Multiple Activites for Multiple Contexts Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I have implemented GTD using many different tools and have been following the methodology for a long time. As I use OF, once again the usefulness of multiple contexts is crystal clear.

Right away as I enter my activities, contexts for places and people are one area where multiple contexts are so helpful. "Pay Amy back $2" needs to go into a place context where I usually see her (the place is named Cornucopia), and into a person context of Amy.

In order to implement this effectively the way things are now with single contexts / activity, I enter the activity twice (which I shouldn't have to do), which is an inconvenient workaround.

Activity: Pay Amy Back $2, assigned to context Cornucopia
Activity: Pay Amy Back $2, assigned to context Amy

Now when I am at Cornucopia I can see everything related to that, or when I see Amy I can see everything related to her. Very clean, very complete, very intuitive, to go to the context view and see everything related to that context.

Double entry of tasks is inconvenient, but there is one thing that helps -- the copy / paste to add the second occurrence is very easy and takes no time at all.

This is my workaround for now and it makes the tool work for me. I hope the Omni team is keeping all these points in mind as they navigate through the alphas and betas and release the product. Making things right now will take some extra effort. Making things right later will take more effort.

In any case, the value of multiple contexts was immediately validated and the other features of this tool make it worth the inconvenience of duplicated actions if they naturally fall into more than one context.

I want to add that I am finding context hierarchies very powerful. Other aspects of this tool go above and beyond what I would have expected and I want to acknowledge that.
 
If you always see Amy at a certain place, take your "Amy" list with you when you go there.
 
You know, no matter how many threads you start on this I'm pretty sure it won't be in version 1.0. :)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OOO View Post
If you always see Amy at a certain place, take your "Amy" list with you when you go there.
I would agree. This is just duplicating contexts when it's not really needed. Since this action can only trigger when you are with Amy, you only need to put this under Amy.

I really think if people use OF for an extended period of time, you learn that you don't need or miss having multiple contexts or tagging (This point has been suggested by Curt and others in this forum recently; so, I won't belabor the point). You begin to appreciate the current system it uses it now more and more. In fact, I hardly ever use flags even though it's there.

Enough said.

Last edited by ksrhee; 2007-11-29 at 04:10 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksrhee View Post
I would agree. This is just duplicating contexts when it's not really needed. Since this action can only trigger when you are with Amy, you only need to put this under Amy.
When I go to the place, Cornucopia, I don't only see Amy there, I see Adam, Scott, Lori, Debbie, Karen H, Karen M, and others.

I'd like to be able to select the place context in that case rather than the person, to see all items related to Cornucopia.

If everything I do is filed under person, then every time I go to a new place I'd have to scan through all my person contexts. No cigar -- not realistic.

Many new activites go into a person context, a place context, and possibly a subject context.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_f View Post
You know, no matter how many threads you start on this I'm pretty sure it won't be in version 1.0. :)
I started a new thread to state my workaround for not having multiple contexts. Generally when a thread diverges in some way it's good to start a new thread, although it's not an exact science (from a Usenet veteran since 1994!).

I don't know where the Omni developers stand on this for version 1.0 -- they haven't participated in the recent long thread related to this so maybe they are watching the discussion. As a former developer, I have had to decide whether to add a feature while in the development stage, or add it later when it might cost more to do so. The good thing is that the program could default to single-context and have a setting for multiple context so that those who want only single contexts have them, and those that find multiple contexts useful would have them too.

Anyway, my workarounds are:

1) Creating multiple activities using copy / paste when an activity fits into more than one context.

2) I could possibly use the notes field in conjunction with the search function (as someone else posted about) to specify the person context, so if I am with Amy it would be in the note and show up with a search.

Both though are compensating for limitations of OF.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journey View Post
When I go to the place, Cornucopia, I don't only see Amy there, I see Adam, Scott, Lori, Debbie, Karen H, Karen M, and others.

I'd like to be able to select the place context in that case rather than the person, to see all items related to Cornucopia.
Here's how you can make this work.

Context list:

-Cornucopia
---Amy
---Adam
---Scott
---Lori
...
-Other Place
---Adam
---Donna
---Frank
...

Note that Adam is someone you see in both places.

1. You're going to Cornucopia, and want to take a list of everything.
In the Context sidebar, click on Cornucopia. All the nested contexts come along, so you have everything.

2. You're going to Cornucopia, and only Amy and Scott will be there.
Click on C>Amy, Command-click on C>Scott. You will see only the C things that are for Amy or Scott

3. You are going to Other Place, but want everything for Adam, regardless of where he is.
Click on O.P.>Adam, Command-click on C>Adam. You now have everything for Adam.

This works well if you have people you see mostly at only one place. But you can extrapolate from this to other situations.

In short, even without multiple Contexts per action, you can view several Contexts at once, which is often just as good. [Not always though I'd still like some limited meta data, but I've learned how to get along without it.]

--Liz
 
Hi Liz,

I really appreciate your input on how to get to work without multiple contexts. I realize that if it's not included in OF that I will have to find some kind of workaround and your approach is one to consider.

No workaround is as good as having multiple contexts, but I am not going to give up OF if it doesn't have multiple contexts / action as an option because there are many other things to like about OF.

Your example shows that if I have places and people, something will have to be doubled -- either multiple actions when I enter them, or multiple contexts with the same context name.

The other option I might consider is to put something like *Adam in the note and search for it.

Thanks again for your idea!
 
I just want to add that in my real life activities, there are a handful of place contexts that I have, and the "Other Place" idea is a really good one. That way I can enter anything related to a place in the place context, and when I see a person I can click on that person in "Other Place", and in the other place contexts that I see the person (usually I know the other places where the person would be and usually a given person isn't in more than one or two other places).

So, I am very happy about your solution for this because People and Place are two of my main contexts.

I think Function and Topic are other contexts which add complexity. The no-mind aspect of entering assigning the following activity to contexts would be: "Phone Adam from Cornucopia about new Thai Restaurant".

Goes into:

- Phone (function)
- Adam (person)
- Cornucopia (place -- i.e. if I needed to use a phone there)
- Restaurant or Fun Things to Do (topic)

When I am entering the activity it's a no-brainer how to assign contexts, I have a clean context hierarchy, and I have one activity in all of its natural contexts.

Any example is just an example, and other examples can easily be created showing different contexts.

I could use a bracket naming convention for my contexts and keep a list and then put all the contexts in the note that don't fit into Person and Place using your suggestion.

Then I would assign the above to Cornucopia:Adam, and put "[Fun Thing]" and "[Phone]" in the note.

I'd just have to make sure that I know the dimensions left out of my context structure that are supplied via the note. For example, I could no longer have a Phone context if I rely on note searching to give me all things I need to do while at the phone. Or I could have a Phone context, but know where I compromised and search the note for that context.

Because I like the "no mind" concept from GTD though, I think I would just enter 4 activities with the same description but with different contexts:

1) Phone Adam from Cornucopia about new Thai Restaurant
--> "Phone" context


2) Phone Adam from Cornucopia about new Thai Restaurant
--> "Adam" context

3) Phone Adam from Cornucopia about new Thai Restaurant
--> "Cornucopia" context

4) Phone Adam from Cornucopia about new Thai Restaurant
--> "Topic" context

That way I have duplicated activities, but my context hierarchy is very clean and intuitive.

It's easier for me to deal with activity redundancy than it would be to have to remember how to query my contexts correctly. With activity redundancy, I would delete something, and if I see it again I'd delete that one too. It will make my project view very cluttered, but having correct contexts is the most important thing for me in the GTD methodology.

Thanks again for your idea -- it may help in the way I implement this -- maybe I will think of how I could extend it for my other two context dimensions.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizPf View Post
Here's how you can make this work.

Context list:

-Cornucopia
---Amy
---Adam
---Scott
---Lori
...
-Other Place
---Adam
---Donna
---Frank
...

In short, even without multiple Contexts per action, you can view several Contexts at once, which is often just as good. [Not always though I'd still like some limited meta data, but I've learned how to get along without it.]

--Liz
Good suggestion, but I would suggest that you don't really need to create additional contexts for Adam. In fact, DA would suggest that this is completely unnecessary. He always preaches in his book and seminar about simplicity and parsimony in creating contexts. Furthermore, he emphasizes the importance of discipline in assigning items to a context as well.

So, my suggestion would be

Places
---Cornucopia
---Tropicana
etc.

People
---Adam
---Sarah
etc.

Now you might have your own system about how to assign an action item to a place or people, but given OF's ability to select multiple items, it doesn't really matter whether I put this action into place or people. I have my own rules as to whether it should go into place or people, but YMMV on this anyway; so, I won't even talk about it here.

You can select Cornucopia, Adam, and Sarah to see get all the items pertaining to these contexts.

This is equivalent to using a paper/pencil system. In that case, I would take out three pieces of papers (containing each context) to scan for my next action(s).

Thanks.

Last edited by ksrhee; 2007-11-29 at 02:24 PM..
 
 


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