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Struggling with Contexts? Start here! Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Originally Posted by leanda View Post
Thanks for your fantastic responses.

I'm going to give the following contexts a try for a few weeks:
@Mac Desktop
@MacBook Pro
@Low Energy
@People (with sub contexts)

I've completely ditched the @work context and broke that down into additional contexts. I've also added @Low Energy for tasks I can do when I've run out of steam. I'd prefer not to have this as a context as these actions could potentially be from any area of responsibility, but I can't think of a better way to handle it at the moment.

Many thanks.
Hi Leander
Something that works for me is also to use sub contexts. As I spend 95% of my day in front of my Mac I have @Mac context and have contexts for specific applications under that.
I find that, sometimes, if I'm in the context of a particular application then its makes sense for me to know what other actions are available to do whilst I'm in there.
Due to the absolutely fantastic programming behind OF it's a breeze to use these when entering data, so no worries there.

Last edited by ade; 2009-04-14 at 02:53 AM..
Leanda, I see that you've already gotten a lot of good ideas here, but I especially agree with whpalmer4 re: virtual contexts vs physical contexts. Since I also spend nearly my entire workday at my Mac, here are some virtual contexts that I use:

1. I use DevonThink Pro as my database manager for all of my work projects, one database per project. And each of those databases is also an OF context. So, any ideas or issues that need to be addressed in those DT databases is dumped into OF with the appropriate context attached. Then, the next time I am in one of those DT databases I will select its corresponding OF context and handle its tasks accordingly.

2. I also have contexts for each of the websites that I frequent (for example, Staples for my office supplies, and Amazon). Again, I dump tasks into OF either by project or single action list with the appropriate website context attached. Then, whenever I am in one of those sites, I will select its corresponding context and deal with it at that time.

whpalmer4 also mentioned dividing your home into different context areas. Here is one that I use:

Our home copier and scanner are located in my wife's home office, so I have a context for her office. Then, whenever I need to make some copies or scans I just select that context to see what other documents need similar attention, gather them up and deal with them all in one go. Believe me, it saves a lot of wasteful back and forth.

Hope this helps.
I more or less love most aspects of GTD and OmniFocus, but I have a years-long ongoing love/hate relationship with contexts. I can never seem to settle on a consistent and complete set of them.

I'm a self-employed programmer, and spend most of my time in front of my computer or in phone meetings. I think most people go through the initial stages of "Okay, a 'computer' context is going to be useless, I need finer detail". But I can never settle on something that's truly useful to me. Sometimes I end up putting a lot of tasks in a 'Miscellaneous' single-action list with overly-specific contexts for each, and other times it seems appropriate to make a context specifically for a project, with the same name for each.

The way I am accustomed to working on things is "now i am working on this project -- what do I need to do next?". For this style of work, are contexts useless?

What am I Not Getting? Other developers and creatives who spend all day in front of the computer -- What contexts do you use?
Here's my contexts. I decided to move people that I can only talk to while I'm in the office under my Office context. I still have some thinking to do about People, Agendas & Waiting. I have a day job "Office" and I also develop after hours "Mac".

--Book Store
--Apple Store
--Fair Oaks
--CCMUG Meeting

Last edited by sriggs; 2009-06-15 at 07:42 AM..
A possible variation: keep the people all in one hierarchy, but insert another level in there.

--Fair Oaks

You can put together a perspective that just selects the Office tree plus the Office sub-tree if you want to only view the stuff at the office. Of course you could also do that to see all the people in your current setup in a single view.

The quick recognition code saves you from having to enter the extra level(s) in the hierarchy, so "that's too much typing" shouldn't be a reason not to do it if it otherwise appeals. And best of all, you can easily experiment with this and just drag the contexts where you want them, with OmniFocus doing the scut work of changing all the existing actions to match the new scheme.
Thanks for the comment whpalmer4. I decided to go this route because of the iPhone app. I was getting tired of fishing through multiple, top level contexts for things I need to do. I'm looking forward to perspectives on the iPhone for sure!
That argument applies in both cases, of course; it's just a matter of figuring out which is more likely to meet your needs. If you get a call at work from a friend, you'll have to go up to the top to drill down to their context in the People tree. In any case, I just tossed it out there as food for thought; if it works for you, great, if not, also great.

As someone who works largely out of a perspective built on a grouping the iPod/iPhone version doesn't provide (group by start), I share your eagerness! I find myself slapping due dates on things that really shouldn't have them, just so I can use that Due Soon smart folder.
If it helps (and bear in mind I'm new to OF), I've broken down my contexts into programs - like;

- Programs
-- Dreamweaver
-- Fireworks
-- FTP

Etc... so each action in the project development has to be either done in one of those (or an 'email' / 'phonecall') so I can view for example the 'Fireworks' context and know what designs I need to do.

I may have it wrong, but that works for me ATM!
Originally Posted by pboreham View Post
If it helps (and bear in mind I'm new to OF), I've broken down my contexts into programs - like;

- Programs
-- Dreamweaver
-- Fireworks
-- FTP
This would never work for me. The most granular I can at work is "Mac : Email" and "Mac : Work". I'm a web developer, so I'm constantly switching back and forth between various browsers, my Windows VMs, and TextMate. The context switching would drive me mad.

As a result I have loads of non-work contexts, but only 2.5 that I use at work (the "Mac" super context just being for when I'm in front of a computer).
Originally Posted by intranation View Post
This would never work for me. The most granular I can at work is "Mac : Email" and "Mac : Work". I'm a web developer, so I'm constantly switching back and forth between various browsers, my Windows VMs, and TextMate. The context switching would drive me mad.
Yeah, what you're saying is very much in the spirit of the problem I'm posing-- that contexts just don't seem to be useful for work.

Originally Posted by intranation View Post
I have loads of non-work contexts
Would you mind sharing them (Or at least, their general structure)?

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