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Why Use On Hold Contexts at all? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi all,

I fell off the OmniFocus wagon for a while. I was using it quite avidly for a few years, and here I am, back at it again.

I'm re-setting up my file, I've done a large brunt of the work, and I'm looking at my contexts again.

My main question (which I remember having before) is this:

Why would anyone ever set a context to "On Hold"? I'm pro-GTD, and when you think about the burning question of "is it actionable" or "what is the next actionable step", I feel like the "act" of waiting is a poor decision. I understand waiting when it comes to someday/maybe projects or actions. (i.e. I'm not going to spend a lot of time thinking about my On Hold Single-Action list called "For The Kids" when I don't even have any yet.)

But when it comes to a context, I feel like the next action whenever I even think about using an "On Hold" context is: "Follow-up with so-and-so about xyz".

I guess this thread is to ask anyone using an "On Hold" context, how they use it.

Personally if the next action is "Wait to hear from Dave about the printer" - context being "On Hold", my question is why not take one further step in the process and change that action to "Follow with Dave about the printer" - context being "People:Dave" and set that action to become available in two weeks or whatever time you expect them to get back to you by.

I feel like that eliminates a lot of potential contexts (i.e. "People:Dave" one that's on hold and one that's active. Assuming people do that. idk)

Dunno, just a fundamental understanding issue I'm having. The rest of the setup is just remembering how to do get my "Today" perspectives working properly again lol

Roman Miranda
I don't tend to hold actions via context, as you've said I go the route of assigning them to the real context and then set a start date to a future date when I want this to pop back into my world.

the only holds I use are at the project level where I may put a project on hold that I have no intention of doing for x months. Even with these I often start off not putting them on hold but just setting a start date a month in advance so I see it again later. Once I'm sure I'm not going to run with the project I will then put it on hold.

I'm not very good at doing reviews so I'm cautious of using holds. If I did my reviews more often then I think I would hold projects more than I do. Deferring a project by having a start date brings them back into focus if I fail to review them, where as holds would be lost until I remembered to do the review.
Have contexts AtHome and AtWork. Caught robbing a bank, sent to sing-sing for 30 yrs. put contexts on hold.
^^^makes more sense then anything else I've heard lol
I don't use "on hold" or "waiting" as a context because I feel that it is too easy to lose valuable information. Most of my contexts are people and doing this I lose the ability to quickly pull up a list of things I need to review with that person. Then that forces me to recall who each item belonged to which defeats the whole purpose of a list like this in the first place.
One scenario where you might set a context to On-Hold is if the context is for a place you visit sporadically. If one, for example, visits San Francisco once or twice a year, you can set your SF context to on-hold and view and/or activate it upon your next visit.

Does that help?
I have a "Waiting" perspective with clock icon that I keep in my toolbar so I can quickly see who/what I'm waiting for. A quick peek at this is part of my morning planning.

I have multiple waiting/on-hold perspectives, one per person that's doing stuff for me, one per delivery company that's shipping me packages, companies I'm waiting on for S/W updates from etc. etc. The structure of my paused contexts is:

---Jim (Waiting)
---Bob (Waiting)
---Amazon (Waiting)
---Indev (Waiting)


Context Settings:
- Mode: Contexts
- Context Filter: On Hold
- Grouping: Context
- Sorting: Start <----- I may use this field to indicate WHEN I stated waiting
- Availability Filter: Remaining
- Status Filter: Any Status
- Estimated Time Filter: Any Duration

Last edited by psidnell; 2013-12-17 at 05:18 AM..
I used to live in two separate homes in two separate states. The actionable status of a number of actions was defined by what state I was in, so when I was in State A, I set the State B contexts to On Hold, and vice versa. I could of course have achieved this with perspectives, but I chose to do it this way, so that when I was viewing all available actions in all projects, those actions were hidden.

Now that I live in only one place, the same thing can apply when I'm on vacation or otherwise away from a given context for a non-trivial period of time.

I also use an On Hold context (usually a context that I've named "Info") to hide actions in "projects" that area really just lists, so that they don't show up in my active lists. But that's not really part of the GTD system--it's a way to sneak some of my project support material into the same software that handles the GTD system.

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