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Context help?



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a.cartee

Posted: Nov 28, 2011
Score: 0



I've been using TD at least a couple of years, and still do not understand the use of "Context". So I feel like I might be missing out on a great feature? (Heaven forbid.) After poking around here in these forums, I saw it mentioned in ref to GTD, so I looked that up; not much help. I've got way too long a reading list to want to add David Allen's book, thx anyway.

My situation, in which I use TD and might want to use Contexts, is: not employed, but way busier now than I ever was when employed. And I actually don't even go out that much - mostly juggling a BUNCH of personal & household projects.

TD has "Location", but the examples in TD Help seem to imply using Context like Location. But that can't be right - right? Otherwise, I can't make much sense of what's REALLY implied. Help?
Salgud

Posted: Nov 28, 2011
Score: 2



Context was originally used in a GTD context. That is, home, work, prison. You can do certain things at certain places, others, not so much. So you can't do that internet search when you're off the grid, or don't have access. So the context is often just the availability of resources needed to do the task, like computer, phone, hatchets, etc. Of course, with laptops and wifi and smartphones and Swiss Army knives, these lines have become blurred in recent years.

Locations are intended to be GPS locations so you can get a reminder when you're near the library or the hardware store or the graveyard that you have something to do/get there.

The difference between the two is also blurring with new technology. A number of posters here have decided to use one but not the other because they feel they are much the same, and therefore, redundant. And you can, if you wish, use either for any other purpose you desire. Since I don't have a need for Location as intended, I use that field for the location of the many meetings I arrange instead of as a GPS/reminder thing. I guess a good rule of thumb is to use all the fields you need, but no more. Of if you prefer, the KISS principle.
tina.flauger

Posted: Nov 29, 2011
Score: 1



I have been using contexts in the GTD sense for about two years. I had "phone" for tasks that needed no further resources and therefor was something like anywhere. I had "home office" (for office homework), "Hannover", "At home" (for private homework), "Garden", "Car".

David Allen's idea was that when you are in a certain context you look up what you have to do in this context.

I lately decided to quit using contexts. I know very well from the task description itself whre I can do it and were I can't. So I didn't really see an advantage but tredious filling in of fields. I'm not missing anything after discarding contexts. But you can always "abuse" them if you need an additional field :-)
joseimora

Posted: Nov 29, 2011
Score: 1



I have a very different concept of contexts. Mine has to do, not with location, but with the type of resource I am expending.

Here are my contexts:

1. Schedules/Appointments - those tasks that involve an appointment and must be done at a scheduled time and place.
2. Expenditures/Transactions - those tasks that involve money, and the allocation of funds.
3. Routines - repetitive tasks of an administrative or maintenance nature.
4. Information Units - these are simply repositories of information that may be linked to one or more tasks, but are a stand-alone holder of a particular piece of information (e.g. meeting notes, Emails, web clippings, etc.
5. Free Tasks - all tasks that do not belong to any of the above.
Salgud

Posted: Nov 29, 2011
Score: 1



@Josie

Thanks for the idea! I've just modified my TD system to remove all personal tasks (which I've moved to Things at home and on my iPhone). Since I was using Contexts to separate personal from work, it was an unused field. I do work for a lot of different people here, and have been using tags to ID who I'm doing stuff for, but there are a lot of them and I had a lot of other tags as well. Hadn't really thought about Contexts being freed up until I noticed your post on how you use Contexts. I went and removed my old ones (they were all "Work"), the made a Context for each person I am doing something for, then deleted them from my tags. This has improved and simplified my system, always a good thing!
Purveyor

Posted: Nov 29, 2011
Score: 1



Posted by Salgud:
I've just modified my TD system to remove all personal tasks (which I've moved to Things at home and on my iPhone).
I recently removed all of business tasks from Toodledo and put them in Outlook Tasks, which I can now access on my iPhone through TaskTask: http://tasktaskapp.com. (It requires Outlook to be used with Exchange, though.)

After three years of buying into the idea that all my tasks should be in one place, I've determined that I can track and work my tasks more effectively with two completely separate lists. For now, I am still using Context in Toodledo for Errands and for tasks that I need to do at Home, but I think that I'll use Locations for my various errands and all my other personal tasks will be at home, so I won't need to use Context the way that I used to.

Joseimora's ideas about Contexts are interesting but I question of the use of "Schedules/Appointments". Things that need to be done at a scheduled time need a Due Date, and possibly a Due Time. Other tasks shouldn't have a Due Date (use a Start Date instead) so it's pretty easy to filter them without having to use another field. Actual appointments should be in a Calendar, not in Toodledo. Stand-alone "Information Units" should be in the Toodledo Notebook or in Evernote.

Anyway, that's what I think. ;)
Pablo_1301263924

Posted: Nov 29, 2011
Score: 1



Hi, a.cartee:

Salgud explained it very good.

Example:
Task-->Buy a X product to my project C

Folder: Project C
Context: @In the city
Tag: +errands
Location: The address of the store. -for GPS reminder-.(My city has many stores :))
Status: Active, planning, waiting or other.

This is the set up I use:
Folders(=Projects)
Inbox
Daily-personal
Daily-work
ProjectA
ProjectB
ProjectETC…
Someday

Contexts
@Home (Things I can do FROM home)
@House (Things I can do in my house, for ex. change the floor)
@OfficeA (I have two places of work)
@OfficeB
@In the city (Things I need to do when I am in the city)

Tags
+call
+errands
+web
+waiting for

Status
Standard from Toodledo.

(Folder is equal Project)

When you complete all the tasks of your folder(read project) then is your project finished and you can delete the folder.

In my GTD setup the first three folders and the last folder are not projects and not need to be deleted.

I use "Toodledo" and "Ultimate To-Do List" syncing in my SGS2 android.





Posted by a.cartee:
I've been using TD at least a couple of years, and still do not understand the use of "Context". So I feel like I might be missing out on a great feature? (Heaven forbid.) After poking around here in these forums, I saw it mentioned in ref to GTD, so I looked that up; not much help. I've got way too long a reading list to want to add David Allen's book, thx anyway.

My situation, in which I use TD and might want to use Contexts, is: not employed, but way busier now than I ever was when employed. And I actually don't even go out that much - mostly juggling a BUNCH of personal & household projects.

TD has "Location", but the examples in TD Help seem to imply using Context like Location. But that can't be right - right? Otherwise, I can't make much sense of what's REALLY implied. Help?


This message was edited Nov 29, 2011.
westofmoon

Posted: Nov 29, 2011
Score: 1



I use Contexts as David Allen suggests...Home, Office, Errands, Phone, etc. It's especially helpful to me when I'm out doing errands. With the "Done!" app on my Palm phone, I sort by Context to see what errands are on my list. If I have a few free minutes while I'm out (waiting between appointments, for instance), I can pull up my list of phone calls to make. And if I've been out erranding longer than I expected, I can pull up both my Home list and my Office list to see which has the more important tasks to do next...and I go there.
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