ForumsQuestionsPlease vote on this feature (Multiple Contexts per Task)

Please vote on this feature (Multiple Contexts per Task)
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Posted: Jan 13, 2010
Score: 3 Reference
Just want to point out something here to the GTD users. David Allen on Page 49 clearly states.

"Context - A few actions can be done anywhere (like drafting ideas about a project with pen and paper), but most require a specific location (at Home, at your Office) or having some productivity tool at hand, such as a phone or a computer. These are the first factors that limit your choices about what you can do in the moment."

Having multiple context is GTD. If I wanted to filter my task for a specific location such as @Work, I should also be able to filter the task further with the @Computer context. If I know I am going to be leaving the office soon and go on the road. I want to see what Work related task I can do that require my computer before I hit the road. This is why Multiple Context are part of GTD and several other systems out there designed specifically for GTD use multiple context.

In my opinion multiple context are part of GTD and having this ability will not hurt the usability of Toodledo for anyone else.

The only reason I use Tags for my Resource Context is because I can't use multiple context. I reserve the context function in Toodledo for my Areas of Responsibility.

This causes issues when trying to filter task by two criteria, especially on the iPhone app.

ToDo does a better job of allowing you to filter by context and tags at the same time, but filtering by multiple context should also be an option.

This message was edited Jan 13, 2010.
Peter S...

Posted: Jan 13, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
Well said!

Posted: Jan 13, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
I like the idea myself

Toodledo Founder
Posted: Jan 15, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
Thanks for the suggestion.

Posted: Jan 16, 2010
Score: 1 Reference
I respectfully disagree with Proximo. Multiple contexts are NOT part of GTD, each task should have only one context. Contexts are meant to be an indicator of resources required, not areas of focus.

DA suggests a GTD system can be as simple as several sheets of paper, using different sheets for different contexts. Would you actually put one task on multiple sheets in a paper system? Think of the nightmare that would be a weekly review. You'd have the same task checked off on one sheet and not others.

The key, IMO, is saved searches that help you to filter down to what you have available at the time.

When I was in the corporate world I had an @Work context that covered my desk and the computer sitting there. I also had an @ServerRoom context for things I could only do there. Now perhaps you might want a context of @WorkPC to clearly define that space. I used filters in the program I used at the time to show me @Work, @Phone, @Web and @Anywhere while I was at my desk.

Sure I have to decide that "Call(ing) Mom about Christmas" might not be the best use of my time at 2pm but that is exactly what DA promotes in GTD. The lists are NOT supposed to be your brain and your brain is NOT supposed to store the information on your lists.

Obviously adding this feature would not impact me negatively other than if it were worked on prior to a feature I feel is more important.

My purpose in writing this post is to get people to step back and think about the complexity of their systems. I suffered for a long time with making my systems WAY too complex and unusable. I assert that Toodledo on the web is actually the perfect system for GTD and close to it on the iPhone (just needs saved searches). Toodledo (GTD) is not meant to make decisions for you.

With that I cast my -1 vote. No offense intended to anyone in this thread...I just see some falling into the same traps I have.

Posted: Jan 16, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
-1 If you listen to GTD Podcast, they SPECIFICALLY STATE that 1 Context PER ACTION, and all those Miscellaneous / Anywhere Contexts = Bad

GTD Podcast : Best Practices for Organizing (I believe)

This message was edited Jan 16, 2010.

Posted: Jan 17, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
For all those who use GTD I respect the fact that you do not have to use multiple contexts that is fine, but don't vote it down just because it does not fit into your system. Having the ability to use multiple contexts does not mean you have to choose multiple contexts, just pick only one.

Now for those of us who do not live by GTD and want to choose another system or customize GTD to our needs then we do need multiple contexts.

Again, by voting against multiple contexts you are voting to limit the functionality and customer appeal to ToodleDo, which is a bad move in many respects.

Posted: Jan 18, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
Well to be honest we're acting like our votes actually count. ;-)

I'll state again though that it DOES impact me if it's worked on before something that I would personally use. You have every right to vote against the enhanced iPhone functionality I desire. The hope is that Toodledo basis the development on our votes, but that may not be true.

Posted: Jan 25, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
I would still like multiple contexts!

Posted: Jan 27, 2010
Score: 0 Reference

Posted: Mar 02, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
I'm still quite new to Toodledo (since January 2) and GTD (since December 31), so I'm blundering my way through. However, I soon realized that the context system with one-context-per-task just isn't doing it for me--in my real world, I do have some tasks that I can do in multiple contexts. For instance, if I need to call my cellphone company, I can do it either at home or at work. If I need to mail a letter that I carry around in my bag, I can do it either while running errands near my home, or during my work day at my office. That's my reality.

It was just yesterday that it dawned on me that the tag system (which I previously had not used at all) would be perfect for implementing multiple contexts, and so I have now completely switched my 200 tasks from Toodledo contexts to tags.

From using Microsoft Money, I think a good solution would be to have a second or even a third distinct tag system. In Microsoft Money, as in all personal finance software, there is an accounting categories system (you know, income and expenses, etc.). However, unlike many other systems, Microsoft Money (at least, version 2004, which I use) has two user-defined category systems, whereby users can set up their own categories, letting them classify transactions by up to three completely separate category systems.

However, I could imagine in the future wanting to use tag functionality for something other than contexts, as most people do. At that time, I would like to not mix context-related tags with non-context related tags. Although there is a tag system, some of us (myself included) would like a separate tag system which we could use for contexts, since we don't like the one-context-per-task restriction of the current Toodledo system.

Posted: Mar 03, 2010
Score: 0 Reference

One thing you could consider is rethinking your use of contexts. In the examples given in your post, the phone call that can be done either at work or at home should probably be contextualized as @call. Likewise, the letter that has to be mailed should probably be contextualized as @errands.

The new feature that allows filtering for multiple contexts at a time could be used also, although I feel that the above might be a better implementation.

Posted: Mar 03, 2010
Score: 0 Reference

Thanks for your comments. However, let me explain why your suggestions (which is what I actually originally tried) didn't work for me. Sometimes I need to call, for example, my credit card company to follow up on an application. I can only make that call at home, since my support files are at home; I don't have those support files at work. Thus, I need an @home context for things that can only be done at home. However, sometimes I need to call my cell phone company to question a charge. Since the electronic bill is on line, I can make that call either at home or at work. Thus, I would mark it @home + @work.

About the errands, sometimes I run errands at stores downtown. These I mark as @metro (subway), since I don't drive to downtown Montreal--parking is horrendous. For other errands, I need to drive, like to pick something up from Wal-Mart. This is @car, when I'm driving in a car (which is not daily for me). When I need to drop something off at the post office, then I mark it @metro + @car, since I can do that via either means, and I don't want to miss the opportunity.

I agree that I still need to learn the best way to use contexts, but so far, one-context-per-task has not been very effective for me; I hope my expanded illustrations demonstrate why. If you have a better way to handle these scenarios, I'd definitely appreciate learning from you.

About the new multiple context filtering, that solves half the problem of showing multiple tasks from multiple contexts, but it doesn't address individual tasks that can be done in multiple contexts. In database terminology, the original implementation of tasks and contexts was one-to-one. With multiple context filtering, it is now one-to-many. However, I believe it should be many-to-many, so I'm not satisfied with their solution thus far.

Posted: Mar 04, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
I guess the good news here is that being able to assign multiple contexts to a single task is on Toodledo's massive list, so it should become a reality at some point. And certainly having the ability to assign multiple tasks doesn't cause any pain for us single-task folks.

For now, Chitu, you might be able to achieve what you need by adding a few extra contexts to handle your merged situations. @home for calls that require backup materials at home, @work for calls that require backup materials from the office, @calls for ones that don't have a secondary location requirement. Similarly, @metro for downtown tasks, @car for out-of-the-way tasks, and @errand for transportation-agnostic tasks.

Then, when you're at home, you can filter by @home, @calls, (and others). When you're running errands on the subway, you can check off @metro, @errands.

Posted: Mar 06, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
@Linden, thanks for your response. Actually, what you suggested is more or less what I was doing with contexts, before I switched to using tags for contexts, and it didn't quite work for me, or at least not as smoothly as I would like. The problem is in the last step that you suggested:

> Then, when you're at home, you can filter by @home, @calls,
> (and others). When you're running errands on the subway,
> you can check off @metro, @errands.

This workaround depends entirely on remembering to filter by all the right contexts--if (or rather, whenever) I forget to add one context in a particular situation, then I miss some tasks, which means that I'm not as efficient and effective as I could be by taking all the opportunities. It is far more intuitive for me to assign the task as being doable in a variety of contexts, and then when I'm in a particular context, to look for all the tasks that are doable at that time. Tags have been working great for me as contexts. Since I didn't use tags at all before now, I'm not missing that functionality for anything. However, I'm still new, and I imagine that before long I will find a really useful application for tags in my situation. When that time comes, I'm afraid that I might suffer some repercussions for using tags for contexts (probably a very messy tag system).

Thanks for your suggestion, though.

Posted: Mar 07, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
-1 +1 For me it is indifferent. for now I will use a single context to avoid ambiguity add to the schedule. Then we'll see ... my partner is willing to use multiple contexts, but I do not recommend for now.
Alain Nana-Sinkam

Posted: Aug 26, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
My .02 is that, as we move toward more location-aware technology, the value of multiple contexts (at least in a sense) becomes valuable.

Take a previous poster's example of the post office. I need to buy stamps the next time I am at the post office. If I could create a context that can be associated with multiple physical locations, then I could solve this problem. Anytime I was near a Post Office, I could see that task.

The assumption (perhaps improper) that advocating for single contexts makes is that we are always aware of ALL of our available contexts, which isn't always the case.

Omnifocus attempts to do this in their iPhone app, though the implementation uses a term search (like "grocery store"). It works for the most part, but sometimes gives you contexts that aren't actually correct.

One of the benefits of walking around all day with a location-aware device in your pocket should be to have that device be intelligent enough to know when you are close to a place where you can do something you've captured as having to be done. "Hey Alain, you said you need to buy stamps. Well, there's a post office a block from here. If you have a moment, we could knock that off the list."

The closest solution right now is Pocket Informant, but you canot associate mutliple locations with a single context.

Posted: Aug 29, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
I fully agree, please implement tasks in a way "Things" does: multiple tags for one task, seperately searchable, sortable, ...


Posted by Osaga:
Please voice your vote if you would think this to be a useful feature for ToodleDo.

Multiple Contexts Per Task

Contexts are great! They help to organize tasks without having too rely completely on folders. I propose the ability for a task to have multiple contexts.

What this will do for you:
1. Allows you to organize and locate your tasks.

Having a context for Work and Personal works well. If you have a task "Build New Back Deck", you can set the contexts to "Personal" and "Project". And if you have a task "Create Annual Marketing Project" you can set the contexts to "Work" and "Project".

Now using saved or filtered searches you can view all projects you have that are related or work or projects that are personal. This way you don't have to use folders or use less folders.

What this will do for you:
1. Reduce folder clutter.
2. Allow for much easier organization.

Using this feature in conjunction with the "Saved Views Update" I proposed in the previous topic will make ToodleDo much easier to use and also much more personalized.

Please respond with a yes or why you think this might not work.

Thanks, Osaga

Posted: Aug 29, 2010
Score: 0 Reference
I would definitely use multiple contexts per task if available. Even as a GTD newbiew, I can see that limiting a task to a single context puts an unnecessary constraint on the execution of the task. I would like to be able to use time contexts as well as location and resource contexts.

For example, some tasks to be done at home (i.e. @home) take more time than others, and to be able to assign @weekend or contexts to some tasks would make it easier to see what I could be doing at home on my day off. Also, @day, @night, and @lunch can be used to show the temporal context of some tasks.

Posted: Aug 30, 2010
Score: 0 Reference

I'm not fully up to speed with GTD yet, but multiple contexts would work for me as I currently envisage it ... yes please.
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