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Hey guys,

I have noticed that a lot of OF community has a Mac and an iPhone or a Mac and an iPad or all three and they all run OmniFocus on they devices. In my case I have a Mac and an iPhone both running OF.

Recently I have been critiquing my contexts so they are even more structured and rigid. My iPhone and Mac contexts though have been my main focus. For example I setup a context called "Mac/iPhone" which then has sub-contexts of Online, Offline, Email, and Draft. The reason for this is I can perform that specific action on either device. However I run into situations where this is not the case and I need to be at one or the other. So I also have "iPhone" and "Mac contexts setup with the sub contexts also.

Is this overkill? I have considered trying perspectives, but I still think it would be too cluttered if I went this route so thats why I chose this route. I would like to hear other people's setups too. Any tips or ideas?
I've found myself with the same dilemma. I'd love if someone could propose a solution to the following (probably common) setup:

- A Macbook Pro that I use for work tasks, but can do personal things on.
- An iMac at home that I use for personal tasks, but can do work tasks on
- A Mac Mini at home that is mostly a home theater PC, but obviously also functions as a mac.
- iPad
- iPhone 4

- "Mac": for personal tasks that can be done on any mac
- "Home: iMac" and "Home: Mini" - I can't put these as a subcontext of "Mac" because if I'm not home, I can't do them.
- "Online": web surfing tasks that can be done on any device, as long as it's online
- "iPad": things that can only be done on the iPad
- "iPhone": things that can only be done on the iPhone
- "Omnifocus": do in the OF app on any device
- "Work": is for work-related tasks, usually done on the MBP

That's 7 top-level contexts. Unfortunately, I haven't found a good solution to reduce that number.
I think you're confusing matters by introducing the work/home notion into your contexts when it doesn't refer to an actual location. The work/home separation should be done on the project side, and the contexts should reflect the actual necessary tools/location/mindset/colleagues required to accomplish a given task.

I would suggest you try organizing your projects into two overall folders, one for work and one for personal. When you want to concentrate on work-related tasks, select that work folder and use the Focus toolbar button or View->Focus on (selection) or right-click and select Focus. Now you'll only see tasks from those projects, and you can freely assign tasks to your MacBook Pro context without concern for whether they are work or personal, so long as the task is in the proper project.

With that out of the way, I would suggest a different organization of the computer contexts. Make a top-level Mac context, with nested contexts for iMac, MacBook Pro, Mini. Tasks that can be done on any Mac you put in the Mac context. Tasks that must be done on a specific Mac you put in the corresponding nested context. On your MacBook Pro and looking for tasks to be done? Look at the Mac : MacBook Pro context and knock those off. Still have time left? Take a look at the Mac context, grouped by context, and close the groups for the other machines. Of course, there's nothing preventing you from doing so before you've finished the MacBook Pro-specific tasks except personal preference. Also, this organization allows you to have tasks which can only be done on a specific machine, but not necessarily hiding those tasks from view if you have a setup where you can operate the machine remotely. Yes, you can only run some per-machine-licensed application on the machine at home for which you licensed it, but that doesn't mean you can't connect to that machine with Back to My Mac or the like and operate it from somewhere else, right?
Thanks whpalmer4, that's totally helpful. You're right, I was mentally stuck on using "Work" as a context, even though I could do work tasks from multiple contexts. I'll give your suggestion a shot.

With that in mind, I'm thinking of these 2 options for nesting contexts. I think I'll try the latter for now:

Option 1: 4 top-level contexts
	Mac (can be done on any mac)
	iOS (e.g. reading on iBooks/Kindle)
	Omnifocus (can be done on any of the above)
	Online (can be done on any of the above, but only if online)
Option 2: 1 top-level context
	Computer (assumes 'Online')
I've never felt a particular need to have the smallest possible set of top-level contexts (or contexts of any sort, for that matter). As a result, my setup might be seen as a bit sloppy, but I'm the only one who has to use it, and I made it convenient for my needs :-)

I have a Mac context with the various machines hanging off it (and for the machines that dual or triple boot, there is another layer of contexts showing the OS). So, if I need to update the Shockwave installation on the Tiger partition on the MacBook from a file I've already downloaded, that goes in Mac : MacBook : Tiger.

I spend more time than I would like in places without internet connectivity, so I also have an Internet context, which has a copy of the Mac context hierarchy shoved underneath it. To update my Mathematica installation, I need to be online, and on the machine where it is installed, so that goes in Internet : Mac : iMac i7. An Omni forum post to be answered that requires me to test out a suggestion on a Mac would go in Internet : Mac so I wouldn't waste any time trying to do it on my iPad.

The quick match stuff when typing projects and contexts allows me to shorten the names considerably, even skipping entire levels in the hierarchy in some cases. For example, Internet : Mac : MacBook : Snow Leopard can be gotten by "isl" which isn't much of a chore at all!
I have all three devices too (MBP, iPhone, iPad) and I have 3 different contexts for those too.

@Mac = MBP (for all the hard work)
@Phone = iPhone (mostly phone calls, texting)
@iPad = iPad (mostly reviewing and reading)

I use all those devices on a daily basis and I just recently added @iPad. What works for me is that I added @reading and @writing too since those are two contexts I can use all these devices. These aren't true contexts in GTD's definition, but they work great for me.

For example, I use Kindle, Evernote and instapaper a lot. I write a lot in evernote, which I can do on all 3 devices, so I use the @writing context. I also blog a lot so I use that context too. For instapaper and kindle, I use the @reading context because I can do those too across all devices. What I do alot is when I'm on my MBP and I come across alot of articles, I instapaper it and then read it later on my iPad or iPhone when it's more convenient.

Although for this to work you usually want to have some sort of cloud working for you because I hate transferring data, like emailing myself.

Last edited by AE Thanh; 2010-12-04 at 07:33 AM..
All great responses, thank you whpalmer4, richlin71, and AE Thanh. After reading your posts I really looked at my contexts on how I have them setup. The biggest issue I am having is the "cross over" problem I would call it.

Ex. I have an email that I want to send out to a client who lets say is Fred. I can either
A) Draft and send the email from my Mac
B) Draft and send the email from my iPhone.

Here it really doesn't matter whether I perform this on my Mac or my iPhone. So I setup a "Mac/iPhone" context in which has email, draft, offline, and online. So basically if I can perform the action on both devices I will list it here.

However, there are certain actions that can be only performed on one or the other (Mac and iPhone) so I also have a context for each one of those and also have the same sub-contexts below them.

Overall does this work for me? It seems to work OK (maybe a 6 out of 10), but I wanted to hear how others have tackled this situation because many of the members have even more devices as we can see.

Is there any feedback on how you handle a situation like that "crossover"?
I've got an Email context in which I would file any task having to do with email that could be done on any machine from which I can access my email. If I had a task that involved email but had to be done on a specific machine (because I needed to attach some document found only there, for example), I would put it in my context for tasks that need to be done on that specific machine. Yes, this means I have some theoretical overlap between contexts, but in practice, it isn't an issue. If I'm sitting at a machine and I've done all the things that need to get done right now (determined by looking at my perspectives showing tasks due today or starting today, or flagged, for example), then I'll have a look at tasks which can only be done on that machine. Either way, I'm going to see that task to email the document to Fred because it has a date on it (seen in the due/start perspectives) or I've marked it for attention during my reviews (seen in the flagged perspective), or it is something I can do where I am (seen in the machine-specific context). If none of those nets catch it, it isn't anything special, and it may not get done right away.
I have an @email context too, because I can email across all my devices. So if you have a task that can only be done on the Mac, put it under the @Mac context. If it can only be done on the iPad, put it under @iPad. Etc.

If you have to draft an email you can only do on the Mac, I would still put it under the @Mac context and not @email. With @email, you should be able to do it under any device. At least, that's how I use it.

If you have a task that can only be done on Mac or iPhone, but not iPad (I can't imagine why...but just an example), I would still put it under a certain general context like @email, @writing, or @reading if possible.

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