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If I want an activity to "Phone my friend Sheryl", I want to put it under the contexts of "Phone" and "Sheryl". This is obvious. There are numerous other examples. A large number of projects and activities have to be organized by appropriate contexts, without the compromise of having to fit an activity into one context when it naturally fits into more than one.

The GTD methodology is not designed specifically for electronic organization. For a paper-based system it makes sense to put an activity into one context most of the time because otherwise there will be manual duplication in which the activity would have to be written more than once. This can be time-consuming. Electronic systems do not have that problem.

I have implemented GTD electronically in many different ways, including:

- Splash Shopper Palm and Desktop programs. An activity was coded as a shopping item, and the program allowed assignment to multiple stores, which were used for contexts.

- A program for the PC and Pocket PC called List Pro. In that case, I coded multiple contexts simply by having a context field and separating multiple contexts using commas. The filter of that program enables search of a field by substring, so all the activities for a context could be determined, even if the activity was assigned to multiple contexts.

Omni Focus is so close to being a great program. I hope the need for multiple contexts will be determined and implemented in the alpha / beta stage before release.
I agree. Context can be an available tool (phone), a location (airplane), a person (calling the boss now...), a mood (only rote work right now), a weekday (Sat chores), a goal (get some momentum going on fitness) etc.

This isn't about making things more complex as some have argued - it's about adapting to the way people work. Just because I'm online at Starbucks doesn't mean I want to only do the "online" tasks.

I think the key here is tagging which has been discussed elsewhere especially with regard to the pending alpha release of Things by CulturedCode. My vote is to add tagging to OF and reduce some of the complexity and rigidity of the rules. At least provide some options in the prefs to override/modify some of the rules so I can tailor OF to the way I work. I really like OF but the more I use it the more I'm worried about whether I'll spend so much time worrying about the tool and whether I'm missing something that eventually I'll need to revert to something simpler.

But then again, OG apps usually kick butt and this is still an alpha right...
I agree. The program has a lot of potential, but for the price, I hope they will work out some of the bugs (when you change the date of an item, the prior screen may still reference "today" as the date, even though the date was already changed to tomorrow). Some things are oddly missing like the ability to change colors of items on the iPhone (orange is not one of the more legible colors in bright light, yet it appears one is stuck with this color for the all-important due soon screen), an ability to have a screen view on the app home page on the iPhone that says "Today", not just "Due Soon" and item prioritization.
I also like the idea of tags for both contexts and projects. There could be a setting to limit to one tag per item (equivalent to the current system) or many tags per item.

Omnifocus is a great program. The many tags option would allow me to place the same blocking item or general action into multiple projects to allow advancement when the one physical action is complete.

Allowing tags for multiple projects would also allow me to setup a daily project, a weekly project and a monthly project where I could designate actions (or perhaps even projects) that I have as a goal for completing each day, week, or month.

Last edited by fernelius; 2009-10-17 at 07:33 PM..
For your example, I would put "call Sheryl re: xyz" under "Phone" if it was a one-time phone call I needed to make, or just "xyz" under "Sheryl" if Sheryl was someone I contacted regularly. There's also the search function to pull out anything that mentions "Sheryl".
Originally Posted by OOO View Post
For your example, I would put "call Sheryl re: xyz" under "Phone" if it was a one-time phone call I needed to make, or just "xyz" under "Sheryl" if Sheryl was someone I contacted regularly. There's also the search function to pull out anything that mentions "Sheryl".
Working around a lack of multiple-contexts using a method such as you suggest (OOO) doesn't work well for me because I have a large number of projects and activities and I'd rather use a system that is designed correctly (multiple contexts) than try to remember how I worked around that using various coding schemes.

If Omni Focus will not have the ability to assign an activity to multiple contexts, then I will more likely copy / paste an activity into multiple contexts so it is duplicated but shows correctly where it should. It would be a shame to have to do that when a well-designed program would put one item into all the contexts in which it naturally falls.
It's not incorrect or poor design, just a different design than what you want. Personally, I always look for a single context for my actions, so to me the simpler design is just right.
I would think, that "tagging" could solve a lot of the problems described above. I hope, that this will be implemented sometime in the future.
I think tagging would work for me as well. Add in my vote :)
The point I was trying to make (and didn't do very well) is that while there are ways to find the info, those ways aren't necessarily the way my mind works - either in the planning or context mode. Adding the option of tags and/or multiple contexts would help me a lot. And if I have to search for something then why not just use OO or some other non-GTD specific app?

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