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Struggling with Contexts? Start here! Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Originally Posted by avandelay View Post
concept one step further and have started a second, stripped-down OS X user account for just writing.
It is curious isn't it ? We are used to the idea of switching televisions off, but have become acculturated to work with the internet blaring continuously in the background, as if there was no Off switch ...

I have a couple of contexts which correspond to:
  1. Mac - with internet switched off (
  2. Cheap, simple and portable text typing device - barely any software (Alphasmart Neo).

avandelay, this is a digression, but I note that you are using Celtx... what kind of writing are you using it for? are you happy with it? pros & cons?
Most of how I've seen context used is as a location of work. I tried that and it never seem to work for me. I changed to using context as the type of work (with a few specific locations thrown in as needed). This was born from my @Mac list expanding to contain 90% of all my list. List now looks something like this:
...and so on. I only tie location if a specific resource is required. Most of the time I have my laptop with me so I can work just about anywhere. My calendar is blocked with these items. I know on Tuesday mornings I block an hour for doing my follow-up tasks. This new perspective of contexts has helped me tackle a much larger % of my action items.

This may not work for you (as it does deviate a bit from true GTD dogma) but it may spur you to more creative ways of using context.
I'm struggling to find contexts useful, I guess the main problem is getting the right contexts. Depending on what job I'm doing I can be in one of four rooms. So I've set my contexts up for these. I've not got a computer context as I spend all day in front of the computer, so it wasn't very helpful. Even though I did break it down into applications.

--Server Room
--Transcription room

Yours - Antony
Antony, one tip that may be helpful is to include the various "headspaces" you may be in while sitting at your computer doing work. For example, I keep my management tasks and support tasks separate.

Our CEO does something similar to keep his programming/engineering tasks separate from his leadership/management ones. Even though those tasks often are completed when sitting in front of a computer, there's a productivity gain to be had by keeping them separate.

Hope that helps!
Originally Posted by leanda View Post
One of the problems I can see with having a great big @work and @home list is that I become overwhelmed in context mode because there are so many things on the list and I end up creating a flagged view or working from the planning mode.
Thanks again.
I broke my contexts down to a few headlines (Home, Office, People, Someday, Errands, Priorities [Which are key meetings with Directors])

I then Subdivide the contexts into more relevant subcontexts, e.g. in office I have a list of the offices I work from and then for the main office, further subcontexts of Research, Computer, Phone.

For people, I have my key staff and contacts listed so I can pick things up with them when I phone them, they phone me or I am sat with them.

Ideally (and I know this is 'anti' GTD) I would list two or more contexts against a tasks (e.g. Office Phone, Office that person works in, Mobile, [Person's name], Priorities) therefore if I'm in any of those contexts it would show up.

I tend to flick between Contexts and Due dates to ensure things are picked up.
I've been trying for some time to find a set of contexts that would fit what I need. I decided to try a little mind mapping to see what was in my head. Yikes. :)
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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.
I also struggled with contexts because, like many others, I can usually access any tool at any time and so really only have one physical context. So I asked myself, what purpose does context serve? And the answer I came up with was, when the time comes to pick a task to do, context helps you pick from those tasks that are right for that moment while filtering out the rest. That led me to these contexts:

Errands - I want to see this tasks when I'm on the go
Weekend - I want to see these tasks when I have a chunk of hours free
Quick - these are for small chunks of time
Fun - these aren't really "tasks" but fun stuff I want to remember to do
I found myself also struggling with contexts these days, and I use Omnifocus almost since it was born.
What happens is that we change the ways of working without notice. Today, I sat down to make a mindmap with my new contexts and found out that computer ones, @mac, @macbook air, @ipad, etc, don't make sense anymore since everything now is in the cloud -- iDisk and a 100GB Dropbox plan. I am a blogger, writer and consultant and for now on, @online and @offline are enough.
Also a new one was developed: @airplane, since I spend a lot of time in planes and airports, and @offline wouldn't be enough because some tasks are not computer-related.
I hope his tip helps you.

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