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OmniFocus 2 – Multiple Contexts or Tags…? [A: Not in the foreseeable future.] Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Every time I login to my pinboard account I am immediately reminded why I don't want or need a tagging system in OmniFocus and that Tags are Wrong™

e.g. these are the tags assigned to an item more than 10 times, imagine how many there are when I go to 5, 2, or 1?

Any time someone thinks they need tags, there is probably a way to single-context that makes more sense and doesn't have the kinks that tags bring.
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ok, let's assume that Tags are Wrong™, what about a basic Contextualization of Contexts™?

something like having 3/4 default Single-Context Families: a Generic Context (for tools and whatever…), a Person Context and a Location Context?
(also a Mood Context, if you feel like seriously going for it)

that may sound crazy to purists, but could be a sort of middle way between the strict single context and the chaos of tags
Instead of multiple contexts, I would suggest less contexts.

The tool, in this case, isn't broken it is the users who need tag things up and down the street to feel productive.

Multiple contexts would just create more cruft and barriers to entering data, as you would have to choose one of many things and spend more time entering a future task than doing it.

If you can do a task in more than one place, great... create a Perspective so you can see both tasks. If you are breaking things down too granular, try easing up on yourself and not use contexts for a week. Your work will still get done. Trust me.

After the week, come back and blow away half the contexts you have, rename a few and move on with your life.

Multiple contexts can lend itself easily to abuse and over-engineering.

IMHO, I think assigning too many contexts to a task will lead to more confusion.

Imagine having a multiple context OmniFocus. If I have a task for "Ask wife about Subject A", I could assign the following contexts:


If I go to my context perspectives, this task will appear three times. Once under @Home because I usually see my wife at home. It will also appear under @Wife. And then it appears yet again under @Phone. My scrolling list just got longer!

Under the current OmniFocus single context setup, I would just assign the @Wife context and be done with it. I know I can just look at my @Wife perspective and either decide to call her, text her, phone her, e-mail her, or instant message her. It doesn't bother me that it's not in the @Phone or @Home. Or heck, I could over-engineer and add on


If I really want to talk to my wife, I don't necessarily have to assign the contexts @Phone or @Home. I can just look at @Wife and know that I have multiple tools (contexts) to get in touch with her.

The simpler your context setup is, the easier it is to handle. Unless there is something that Things users can do with multiple contexts that I can't quite grasp?

But it seems that there are quite a few Things users that keep coming over to the OmniFocus side because of all of Things' other shortcomings.
Hm, one use I had for multiple tags in Things (when I was still using Things) was for daily tasks that I could do either at home or at work, like "do a stretching exercise".

The way I do it in OF:
* have a context @home, @work and @anywhere
* have a perspective ToDo@work and a perspective ToDo@home, with the contexts @work and @anywhere showing up in the first, and the contexts @home and @anywhere showing up in the second.
I don't have a lot of other contexts (@WF, @errands, @Husband, that's about it), so this works to split my list into stuff that I want to see at work and stuff that I want to see at home.

In Things I would use only 2 tags: @home and @work, and stuff that I wanted to have showing in both contexts I would tag with both tags. Worked fine for me.

In addition, I would have tags like #Today, #Thisweek, #Thismonth, etc, but this never worked out exactly as I intended. It worked for a few days, but then I would start to feel overwhelmed and think up another tagging scheme to indicate priority levels. With OF, I'm forced to have only priority level: flagged or unflagged, which better corresponds to effective working habits: you do a task or you don't. :-).

So yes, having multiple tags (or contexts) seems like a nice option, but I'm doing perfectly fine without them.
Things has some good features and appeal, but the biggest thing that OmniFocus just destroys it on is that while Things will show you what needs to be done, OmniFocus can show you what you CAN do.

Something like a stretching exercise I'd put in my @me context, personally. All I need is myself to do stretches, at least the kinds of stretches I'll ever do!
I have an Anywhere context for tasks that can be done anywhere. Stretching would go in there, for me.
Closing this thread (and similar ones in the other OmniFocus forums) in favor of the consolidated thread for this topic.

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