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Contexts during Focus:Bug? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I could have sworn that when focusing on a project, then switching to context mode, that the only visible contexts should be those that populate the focused-upon project.

I have contexts set to display "Active", but the focus does nothing to change that listing (that is - it still shows all active contexts as though I were not focused). The proper actions are the only ones displayed, but I have a long list of irrelevant contexts displayed on the left.

It seems like those contexts should go away, or at least that's the way I've always thought about the feature - having a list of irrelevant contexts doesn't improve anyone's focus...

But then again, I haven't used the focus feature in quite a while, so in all likelihood this has never been there. Is this a bug? a missing feature?
I think what you are seeing is the way it has always worked. I understand what you asking and I agree that an option to also focus the contexts would be helpful. There are also times that I like having all the contexts visible as I can change or assign contexts from this view.
Yeah, I think in this case "Active" means contexts that have something assigned to them somewhere in your database rather than active in the current focus.

Having said that, however, CrzyMke's suggestion is an interesting one. It's hard to say which is the "proper" behavior.

I cannot recall a time when it did not function this way. If the excess contexts bother you, why not just close the context drawer entirely?

Dennis' assessment of what Active means in this context squares with my experience. The context is not on hold, not dropped, and has at least one action assigned to it.
It definite seems as though I was mistaken - it seems pretty well confirmed to not have been a bug. Although, I'd certainly disagree that this seems like "proper" behavior.

Re: Greg Jones - if you ever need to have out-of-use the contexts visible in order to re-assign them, it seems setting contexts to "Remaining" would be more applicable. There is no reason to assume that you would only want to reassign to Active Contexts (contexts that in the total database file have an associated action), but rather any context you haven't dropped.

If I understand the intent of the "Active" setting for contexts, it is intended for displaying contexts that have an actionable item in them. I tend to consider focusing the equivalent of temporarily isolating a subset of my actions. If I were to literally put blinders on the rest of my to dos, there should be some mechanism to only view the currently "active" contexts. It seems to me a very narrow usage case where having all database active contexts is useful, but all remaining contexts is too much.

For example, I focused in on my work folder to find a long list of contexts, half of which are empty (Calls, Agenda: Mom). It seems to me the idea of the active filter for contexts was to eliminate empty contexts that are not relevant to the current task, and I would think the analogy would extend to a focused state - just as it does in the projects pane.

After all, they do say that wisdom is knowing what information to ignore.
How are you using Context mode that having a list of all the active contexts is too distracting? That's the part I don't understand.... When I go to Context mode, it's generally to do some actions, and whether focused on a group of one or more projects or looking at the whole enchilada, I select a context appropriate to my current situation, and do those actions as circumstances permit. Either that or I'm looking at a perspective that is schedule-oriented (like the one showing everything that has a due date today), and I just work the list, regardless of the contexts. I'm often very easily distracted, but not by the presence of empty items in a list that I'm largely ignoring! Won't switching back to Project mode eliminate any distraction from these "empty" contexts?

I don't think I'm strongly opposed to the application behaving in the way you request, but it does seem to me to be more of a theoretical problem, rather than a practical one. I'm trying to imagine a scenario where it would matter, but I might need some help in the form of an example :-)
Sure, I'll go through what I was doing when I came across this in the first place.

I had just finished a major project, and wanted to focus on some specific projects that had gone particularly neglected. I'm a research scientist so my contexts are some what specialized. For example work related contexts could be anything from @calls and @desk to @core facility or @bench. Because I can't have access to omnifocus in these locations (even on the ipod touch - I'm typically wearing gloves and handling chemicals), I tend to do a morning review on omnifocus and plan out my day on paper. For example: Sign up for the flow cytometer, then pick up reagents at a core facility, then plate these samples, etc.

So now that I'm focusing on specific work events, even though I know pretty well that I can ignore @home or @Agenda:Mom (although i don't want to see them either), I still have a list of potentially relevant contexts: @calls or @bench or @core facility. So I don't tend to have a single context that is immediately relevant, but a subset that could be that I can click through as I do my planning (I tried establishing hierarchies - but the taxonomy doesn't work out well).

While focused, I keep clicking through @bench when I don't have bench work to do (to me it seems to be a plainly inactive context in this scenario), as well as multiple others. To be honest, I also use the context list as a surrogate to do list. Clicking the final action in a context and watching the context disappear is doubly satisfying, but also probably the source the distraction I feel when I can't clear them. Its also tough to get a broader view of how much needs to get done w/o the restricted list of contexts.

If you have suggestions for improving my workflow, by all means I'd love the input. I'm obsessed with hearing about other people's methods and trying to graft them to my own situation. I still seems incongruent that during focus irrelevant projects are hidden, but irrelevant contexts persist.

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