The Omni Group
These forums are now read-only. Please visit our new forums to participate in discussion. A new account will be required to post in the new forums. For more info on the switch, see this post. Thank you!

Go Back   The Omni Group Forums > OmniFocus > Applying OmniFocus
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

 
simple questions & "context" musing Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelande View Post
Funny, I started that thread!
yes, that was a good thread for me... i still don't have good contexts, but i am doing something...

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelande View Post
You know the things that you do, aren't that different from me in IT (and I think we struggle with the same context problems):
I design and analyze systems, I come up with processes, I share them with others, I train others, make presentations, develop documentation, update the website...
i'm an EE and do a lot on computers... also i used to run our networks of suns, macs, x-windows, windoz, etc in the late 80's and early 90's... i still distribute everything on our web server... we have a lot in common...

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelande View Post
A year later, I can tell you this much:

•*I started off with a long, complicated, heavily-nested set of contexts. I based it on a relatively strict interpretation of GTD: base your contexts on the physical limitations of the task. So if it was "update website" I used the context "@Computer: Adobe GoLive".

•*That ended up being needlessly complicated, and I stepped back and streamlined my contexts. I haven't strayed too much (from this much smaller, simpler set of contexts) for a year.
i am very reluctant to make too many contexts because i know it will become overly burdensome... i keep my working notes in text files... i learned in my text files that i just needed a bookmark approach to find things... recently, i started using "taskPaper" which is a text editor that has a GTD perspective to help me with my files full of notes. it is a great compliment to OF because it lets me tag lines which i can find later an transfer to OF, when necessary... before i never had a good way to find my notes to myself to do something, buried in the meeting notes... now i just tag the note in TaskPaper with @2Do... then later i set aside a few minutes in my office to review my meeting notes... TaskPaper lets me filter out everything else in the file and focus on just those lines with that tag... for things that i need to do later, i transfer them to OF and if appropriate put a date on them... otherwise i dispatch them in taskpaper, which lets me mark them as done, with a completion data... i keep my master list of projects and activities in OF...

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelande View Post
• I am still not comfortable with my contexts (I think because I want multiple contexts/tags)
tags seem very instinctive to me... i think of them more like bookmarkers so i can find it again later easily... contexts seem similar but are much more difficult, maybe because the contexts are supposed to "organize" the information into lists, whereas tags are things i search for when i know i need it... in that regard, tags can be more freeform and dynamic... contexts put things into lists when i'm not searching for something specific... and it's hard to know how i want to see the items grouped beforehand, since in my case the resources don't seem to be limited in a way that restricts what i can do at any given time...

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelande View Post
•*Being a person still struggling to completely implement GTD (based on time constraints: still have to clean my office, have years of crap that needs to be cleaned through, do the "big" collection, get new furniture, etc); I still fall off the bandwagon for a couple of weeks at a time; I also struggle with working out of context mode, and find myself spending most of my time in project mode (which is a result of not completely living in GTD); failing to do a weekly review;
we have a lot in common... also i try to work in context mode, but i find myself just picking the things i want to be a higher priority and changed them to a "today" context, where i keep to only a few things (which are more like projects that take many hours)... i've been using the scheduling to make things pop-up that i want to remember or plan for... but sometimes i'm not doing it right because i'll know that i need to do something and not see it pop-up OF... so i'll search for it and then find it... obviously better working contexts would help with this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelande View Post
For what it is worth, I now have (and as an aside, these work well in iPhone view as well):

@Work (I place work-related tasks that can be done at work or at home at this level, so if I click here, I "get it all")
-----Office (this is reserved for things that I have to be physically at the office for)
-----Calls (I go back and forth between having a calls and e-mail category and not)
-----E-mail (having an e-mail category, helps keep me from "living" in e-mail, so I almost use it as a negative filter!)
-----After Hours (for server maintenance when nobody is logged in)
-----Agenda (this level captures people who are not important enough to warrant their own dedicated sub context)
----------CoWorker1
----------CoWorker2
-----Waiting (this level captures people who are not important enough to warrant their own dedicated sub context)
----------CoWorker1
----------CoWorker2
Errands
Home
Reading
Training
the waiting is an interesting context... i usually put a deadline on those items so that OF will remind me on a given date that i want to ping someone if i haven't heard back from them... i'm not very good at this yet... i know the "reviews" should be the tickler... but i get buried in "doing things" and i haven't been "reviewing" everything regularly... it seems a little confusing because i am accomplishing a lot, but not keeping up with the background management of the task... (me GTD process becomes a zombie process sometimes).. i'm sure i'm not being very GTD when in that mode... but it helps me accomplish a bigger task, then i can resume with the GTD processing to catch up on odds 'n ends... i'm not sure if that is "falling of the bandwagon"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelande View Post
Oh My God, don't start that again! ...

That being said OmniGroup has stated they will provide this feature in a future release.
search finds my word that i put in the notes so i can find it later... so it is my way of tagging, even if it isn't quite the same... i'm surprise how tagging seems to be the big thing these days... there are a bunch of programs that do "tagging"... this one really made me laugh because it seems like the vitaminavegiment from "i love lucy" episode but for tags... http://gravityapps.com/tags/overview/

i'm sure the software is very good, but the screencast seems a little over the top... but wait, not only can you tag everything on your mac, but you can also tag everything in your house, your car, your pets, your friends, your life! act now and you can also get #?!@... [-;

thanks for your post... it's encouraging to know that i'm not the only one struggling with this... see you around-
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizPf View Post
here are some other ways to divide tasks into Contexts. choose some, all, or none:
- your mental energy state (high awareness, brain-dead, etc.)
that's a good one... presently i have 2 contexts that sort of get at this...
-devTime
-shortTime

the devTime is a large block of time when i can focus and concentrate intensely on the subject and screen out everything else... typically that would be a good 3 hour block of time or longer, when i am not stressed out or fried from too many things going on... sometimes i go to the office on the weekends for this type of environment, because there are few distractions, no phone calls, no meetings, no emails popping in (thought i usually ignore email anyway when i'm concentrating well)...

shortTime is for the mindless tasks, like triaging email, doing timecard for work, checking the phone messages, etc...

i might consider a contexts specifically for my mental state... perhaps the most useful one for me would be for those times when things are driving me nuts and i cannot focus... there are times when i get so annoyed at work by the mindless obstacles that they put in our way that interferes with getting the work done... they are so non-GTD at work sometimes, i can't stand it... then i need a reminder of what i need to do to get myself back in a good state of mind, so i can get start being productive again...

thanks for your reply-
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyn View Post
we have a lot in common...
After reading your response, I think we may be clones...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyn View Post
maybe because the contexts are supposed to "organize" the information into lists, whereas tags are things i search for when i know i need it... in that regard, tags can be more freeform and dynamic... contexts put things into lists when i'm not searching for something specific...
That is an interesting way of looking at tags vs contexts as well.

I have been thinking about the tags/multiple contexts vs contexts wars that have been going on in these forums since day one, and I was thinking that it may just be the way people are wired. But your points above are interesting too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyn View Post
also i try to work in context mode, but i find myself just picking the things i want to be a higher priority and changed them to a "today" context, where i keep to only a few things (which are more like projects that take many hours)... i've been using the scheduling to make things pop-up that i want to remember or plan for... but sometimes i'm not doing it right because i'll know that i need to do something and not see it pop-up OF... so i'll search for it and then find it... obviously better working contexts would help with this...
Let the cloning begin!

I find myself working this way too.I know it is a combination of things, partly because I have not been able to fully implement GTD. I have so many things on my plate, and they very dynamically switch to "what's most important now". Because I have never been able to take the time to make my work environment work for me: tools, clean through and organize files, etc., I find myself not being able to break through the surface for air.

In fact I have even been using the whiteboard in my office each day to write three things I want to get done that day. I am using it as a simple tool to try and change some habits. In the future I could see using the OF flag feature for this, similar to your Today context, but right now, I just can't seem to force-create myself to look into OF for the next thing to do. (And that is probably because I haven't fully implemented GTD yet)


Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyn View Post
i know the "reviews" should be the tickler... but i get buried in "doing things" and i haven't been "reviewing" everything regularly... it seems a little confusing because i am accomplishing a lot, but not keeping up with the background management of the task...
I personally have to admit to primarily using OF as a capture and organizational device, the "trusted system", one place I know I can go to for anything I need to remember to do (and it is working for me for that—one step at a time!); and not very effectively using for doing (the context mode) and skipping the (all important to GTD) review part.

The funny thing is, I know this. I know if I took the extra time to clean and organize my physical space (which I am doing, new file cabinets and folders on order!), and spent time reviewing OF, it would greatly reduce my current stress, and improve my ability to stay on top of tasks and projects.

The bottom line is, like David Allen says in his book, until you fully implement all the pieces of the GTD system, you won't feel the benefit. (And all GTD is, is a series of smaller organizational tools that we have all been using half-way or part-way in one way or another, but it is refining those skills and putting them all together consistently that makes the difference).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyn View Post
i'm sure i'm not being very GTD when in that mode... but it helps me accomplish a bigger task, then i can resume with the GTD processing to catch up on odds 'n ends... i'm not sure if that is "falling of the bandwagon"... thanks for your post... it's encouraging to know that i'm not the only one struggling with this... see you around-
I really feel your pain.

I would also recommend you look into Zen to Done:
http://zenhabits.net/2007/11/zen-to-...tivity-e-book/
http://zenhabits.net/2008/07/the-beg...a-guided-tour/

It is a quick-read PDF. It has some good ideas and approaches to GTD. It isn't a document that stands as well on its own—I think learning about the whole GTD process and the psychology behind GTD in David Allen's book is too important a read. But the ZTD booklet has some tips and thoughts that I have found useful. Particularly I think for people like me (and it sounds like you), who for one reason or another, can't get GTD fully implemented in a week.

Here is the first "idea" he presents:

"GTD is a series of habit changes. This is the main reason why people fall off the GTD system — it’s a bunch of habit changes that are attempted all at once. If you’ve read Zen Habits long enough, you know that focusing on one habit at a time is best, and guarantees the most success. In addition, GTDers don’t apply proven habit-change methods (the ones I talk about on this site) to change their habits.
Solution: ZTD focuses on one habit at a time."

Another useful tool I have found in the ZTD booklet is ideas and outlines for breaking old and forming new habits.

Last edited by joelande; 2009-02-07 at 10:06 AM..
 
The work contexts that I find useful tend to come in little groups, without any overarching logic to my whole context structure.

So I have "mental state" contexts, like Braindead, Easy Coding, Messy Coding, Writing, Planning. I should probably have one called Scarey for those things that I put off but might, on a good day in a daring mood, be able to knock off one of if they were easily identified.

And I have "not a task" contexts for things that won't even go in a task selection list. So, Waiting, On Hold, List and Calendar. (The last two are for purely information items, and purely dated items, that don't even really belong in GTD.)

And a few contexts that actually seem to fit the context model, representing the few not-always available resources that are relevant. Like Office, because I telecommute and am rarely there, Agenda for people that are hard to reach, Phone for when I want to do the task on my good phone with the headset instead of my cell, Discussion for questions to ask the customer, meaning that I can't knock off those tasks outside normal business hours.

But that leaves a fair bit of stuff - plus, Coding is a pretty big context. My remaining contexts are relatively useless-to-me things like Online or PC or Email. I should probably just name them all Stuff so that I'm not under the illusion that they have a useful context.

Some other random observations:

I used to have an Admin context, but I changed that to put the Admin tasks in single action groups, irrespective of the project they're associated with. So, the tasks for submitting the budget reports for projects A, B, and C, are all in the Keep Up With Budgets single action group, instead of being mixed with the development tasks for projects A, B, or C. I also have single action groups for Keep Up With Documentation, Keep Up With Software Purchases, and plain old Miscellaneous.

Rather than using contexts or flags for things like "near term", "tomorrow", etc., I use start dates to hide those tasks. This is not very GTD, I think, because it hides perfectly do-able tasks, but I still need it for now to avoid getting lost in the flood of tasks.

So, as one of the last steps in my weekly review, I look at a list of all available work tasks, and I make a whole lot of them unavailable, one by one, by giving them a future Start Date. Some of them get shifted a month or year ahead; others, that I'm more likely to work on, get shifted to different days of next week. Tasks that are _really_ unlikely to be worked on anytime soon might just get set to an On Hold context so they hide from me until my next review.

Then, my daily task list is configured to show only available tasks. I can always change the filter to see everything if, for example, I want an in-depth look at a project, but my usual view is nice and sparse. If I look at the list a few days after the review and _still_ see too many tasks, because some of those put-off tasks popped up and I haven't finished all the ones I'd hoped to, I do the start date trick again to make some go into the future.

Gardener
 
 


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
No "New Action"/"New Context" menu items in 1.7? WCityMike OmniFocus 1 for Mac 4 2009-09-30 05:01 PM
"Keeping Sync Speedy" questions Jay Levitt OmniFocus Syncing 11 2008-08-08 04:19 PM
Project context menu: "Complete" vs. "Completed" vocaro OmniFocus 1 for Mac 6 2007-12-11 09:18 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:20 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.