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Quote:
Originally Posted by matiascuba View Post
Then you have completely misunderstood the concept of getting things done.
Oh, great, here we go again. This is exactly the kind of absurd aggressiveness nobody needs. Just make your point. Which is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by matiascuba View Post
You will end up with hundreds of combinations and your task list will be cluttered and not at all doable.
I have the same doubts - about tags, not multiple contexts. But, before slinging around accusations of total misunderstanding, go and have a look at other apps such as Things. This is a specifically GTD-based app, but tags are fundamental to it. Do they “completely misunderstand the concept of gettings things done” too? These are reasonable questions and merit reasonable discussion.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcoad View Post
“Sloppy ambiguity”... “Cognitive dissonance”... “If you’re rigorous you don’t need them”... Phew! Please, everybody, a rule of thumb: GTD good, dogma bad. I love a good theoretical discussion as much as the next dude, but GTD ain’t religion and nor is OF even designed specifically as GTD app, as the Omni folks themselves emphasize. People will differ over good GTD practice”, whatever that is, and anyway most other explicitely GTD apps do indeed include multiple contexts on one guise or another.
I think if you read my post again you'll find that I was only saying what works for me, not that you should work like I do. Maybe you don't agree, maybe someone will read it and think "Hey, that might work for me". I kind of think that's the point of a discussion board, isn't it?

Anyway, it doesn't matter - in my opinion, having tasks appearing in multiple contexts would be confusing on a UI level, as eronel and krshee point out. The fact that multiple contexts aren't strict GTD is irrelevant.

Last edited by al_f; 2007-11-27 at 12:37 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_f View Post
I think if you read my post again you'll find that I was only saying what works for me, not that you should work like I do. Maybe you don't agree, maybe someone will read it and think "Hey, that might work for me". I kind of think that's the point of a discussion board, isn't it?

Anyway, it doesn't matter - having tasks appearing in multiple contexts would be confusing on a UI level, as eronel and krshee point out. The fact that multiple contexts aren't strict GTD is irrelevant.
There’s a contradiction between these paragraphs, isn’t there? On the one hand you say you are only explaining what works for you, not imposing, but on the other you assert flatly that “multiple contexts would be confusing on a UI level”. Isn’t that a matter of opinion and styles of work? Personally I think tags would have that effect but not necessarily multiple contexts (that’s one of the reasons I won’t be using Things). Evidently, many people out there find the restriction of not having multiple contexts far more of a problem than such possible confusion. Kshree has tried it out for a while and changed opinion, but is not insisting on the matter, and nor is eronel. If the option existed and you found it confusing in the way you describe, you wouldn’t have to use it, but that’s no reason to deny it to others.

I agree with kshree: “OF is designed not simply to help organize our lives but also get things done so that we can be more effective.“ For some that will mean single contexts, for others, multiple ones. What, I repeat, is the problem?

Last edited by mcoad; 2007-11-27 at 08:22 AM.. Reason: Include reference to Things
 
Interesting discussion, especially the thought of the differences between a context and a location (as opposed to a mood, available reference materials, etc.).

I struggle daily with the "Agenda" and "Errands" problems that people mention here. I may need to buy things at multiple stores, but generating a context for each is madness. If I'm going shopping, I don't want to dig through a million and six contexts to find what I need. (Yes, we could throw them into a folder, if folders existed in Context view, or use a perspective, but it's still a rather heavyweight and crowded solution.)

For myself, I have a context of "Calls" which I use pretty much only for one-shot phone calls. (Make an appointment, ask for balance on phone bill, etc.) I also have an "Agenda" context that I throw things I need to contact someone about, but I don't really care how I contact them. I do NOT have an email or meeting context.

When I feel like making calls, I check the calls AND agenda contexts and see what's in there. (Agenda items contain the person's name toward the beginning e.g. "Tell Bob about new widget procedure") A perspective makes this easy. Similarly, when I find myself ON the phone with somebody, I check for Agenda items with their name and chat with them about it.

And then we get into "I'm at the office so I can do 'computer' things, 'calls', and many 'agendas' as well as the 'office' tasks" and how to categorize that. Frankly, this is where perspectives shine. I just create an appropriate perspective and I'm all set.

Adding tagging is an interesting option, and might help bridge that gap. So might simply creating a "Work" context and then a variety of other perspectives (so work/computer stuff as well as work/phone stuff all ends up in the same bucket).
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iNik View Post
I struggle daily with the "Agenda" and "Errands" problems that people mention here. I may need to buy things at multiple stores, but generating a context for each is madness. If I'm going shopping, I don't want to dig through a million and six contexts to find what I need.
I mentioned this in another similar thread, and I'll mention it here: OF has the ability to only display contexts which actually have items in them. While in Context mode, with the view bar turned on, select Active Contexts from the sidebar's popup.

Since this was introduced a few months ago, I'm more comfortable having more (specific) contexts. If I wanted to list every store I buy from, I could, and not feel like my contexts were overwhelming.
 
A few thoughts about the discussion ...

The option of single or multiple contexts being allowed in the program could be a preference setting. That way people who want to assign only one context to an item would be able to enforce that. It might be good to have that preference, and to have it set to only one context / item so that when a new person starts using OF it starts out more simply as they get used to the program and then if they turn it on later they will be more focused on the effect of multiple contexts rather than having that on top of trying to learn everything else about the program.

As someone mentioned, yes -- an activity that has multiple contexts would show up in more than one place when in context view. That is exactly what I want. One context that I use is "Out and About". That way not only "Errands" get assigned to that but anything that I need to get in my car and drive for. I could have many different activities that I would need to be "Out and About" for, but if I only had one context, a more important one would be used.

Someone mentioned that it would require more tasks to check off. No -- checking off a task within any context would complete it -- it's all the same activity.

One thing I like about the GTD methodology is the concept of an in basket, in which tasks are unloaded from the mind and dumped into it. If I can have only one context / activity, I end up spending a lot of time trying to think of what my context hierarchy could look like, and when I am viewing things in Context mode I would end up having to scan all the items because an item that should be in multiple contexts won't show up under every context where it should be.

Multiple contexts allows me the simplicity of "offloading" items from my mind. I have an activity, I think of all the contexts involved, I assign them, and I then know that when I look at things in context view, I can look at any context and know that all the associated activities are there. "Phone Sheryl about new restaurant" could be under "Phone", "Sheryl", and "Fun Activities" contexts. If it were only under "Phone", then when I look at things in context mode I know that I can't rely on all-things-Sheryl being in that context, so then I end up having to scan the entire list of activities in the context mode.

Multiple contexts can be confusing, but let's face it -- the way OF works is confusing at first, then powerful once someone learns how to use it. The same would be true of multiple contexts.

And, having it as a preference setting would satisfy those who don't want multiple contexts.

If the developers want me to test a version with multiple contexts or work with them to brainstorm this more, I would be happy to do so "behind the scenes". I could help test the alpha-alpha of multiple contexts release :-)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by matiascuba View Post
Then you have completely misunderstood the concept of getting things done. You will end up with hundreds of combinations and your task list will be cluttered and not at all doable.
The task list from the Project view will be nice and clean. The task list from the Context view will have all the tasks associated within a context where they are supposed to be (including an activity that naturally doesn't fit into one).

In context view, you aren't looking at everything as a whole. You look at a context and are assured that if you specified all the natural contexts for an activity, that it will show up there -- and it will show up under other contexts where it belongs.

It would only be cluttered if you aren't thinking in terms of contexts.

If only a single context can be assigned to an item, when I look at a context I would not have the assurance that all items for that context are there if only a single context can be specified for an item. I would want all-things-Sheryl to be under "Sheryl" and all phone calls I need to make under "Phone". If I can only assign one context, I won't be able to look at "Sheryl" and know that everything is there because I might have been forced to assign only one context that makes it show up elsewhere. So, I end up having to scan the other contexts for Sheryl-related items.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iNik View Post
Interesting discussion, especially the thought of the differences between I may need to buy things at multiple stores, but generating a context for each is madness. If I'm going shopping, I don't want to dig through a million and six contexts to find what I need.
Right, but would this really happen? Obviously if something can proliferate there’s a danger of it getting out of hand, but is this a reason for restriction to one? Sounds mighty timorous to me. Of course there’s a real danger of a tool that’s designed to help us get organized actually making things even more of a hassle, because you end up spending more time worrying over the tool than you did before when you were only confused by the plethora of tasks! (I think a lot of us forum posters are beginning to feel that about now!) But if this is true of potentially proliferating contexts, so it is also of being obliged to force everything into single contexts. More so, in my limited experience so far.

To follow your example above, shopping need not be madness because you can already use subcontexts in OF. So something can go under the general category of shopping or under a particular store and its there whether you’re going to that store or on a more general shopping trip. Multiple contexts would provide the same kind of flexibility but without restricting us to subcontexts within preexisting contexts, or jumping through hoops to make things fit. So, if I’m a film buff and I want to get hold of a newly released Kurosawa DVD, I can put it somewhere in “Shopping” and in “Murgatroyd” (because I know my mate Murgatroyd has a copy he could lend me), and in “film rental store” if I want to see if its available there (and I don’t want this under Shopping). Then, whether I‘m going shopping, or calling Murgartroyd about something else, or planning to go to Blockbusters for something lighter for the kids, it’s there and there’s no risk of forgetting it because it’s stuck immutably in one of the others.

Okay, stupid example, as they all tend to be, and my brain’s softening with too much time hanging out at the forum, but you see the point. This may involve some proliferation of contexts, but they can also be disposable or only activated in case of need, and surely it’s not beyond most of us to keep this in order. At least we had the nous to get OF, after all.

If I’ve missed something in all this, please come down on me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Meanwhile, I still want multiple contexts.

PS - Journey just posted - excellent. Couldn’t agree more.

Last edited by mcoad; 2007-11-27 at 09:15 AM.. Reason: Because Journey just posted
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcoad View Post
There’s a contradiction between these paragraphs, isn’t there? On the one hand you say you are only explaining what works for you, not imposing, but on the other you assert flatly that “multiple contexts would be confusing on a UI level”. Isn’t that a matter of opinion and styles of work?
OK, for the pedantic amongst us I have edited the second paragraph to contain the words "in my opinion". Quite how anyone could think that one overdue task causing several counters to appear in the sidebar (one in each context in which it appears) wouldn't be confusing is beyond me, however.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_f View Post
OK, for the pedantic amongst us I have edited the second paragraph to contain the words "in my opinion". Quite how anyone could think that one overdue task causing several counters to appear in the sidebar (one in each context in which it appears) wouldn't be confusing is beyond me, however.
It isn't confusing if one understands the need for multiple contexts and what the context view would then represent. "Phone Sheryl about New Restaurant" could be in the "Phone", "Sheryl", and "Fun Things To Do" contexts, and it would be only natural each context shows the counts.

Again, if someone wanted to only have one context / action it could be a preference initially set to be that way and when one evolves into a greater understanding of how to use multiple contexts then the preference could be set to allow them.
 
 


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