thinking about contexts

As often happens with the new year, I find I have a renewed willingness to rethink everything. This ranges from the larger looming questions of life goals and purpose, all the way down the practical minutiae of how I structure my days and workflow.

In particular, I’ve been revisiting the contexts that I use in OmniFocus. For the most part, my primary contexts have been in place since I first read David Allen’s Getting Things Done: calls, errands, mac, home, office, and tinkering (which I’ve already written about).

My mac context gets crowded since it tends to become the default, and so much of what I do happens while sitting in front of my computer. I also tend to ignore the other contexts unless I have a red due date notifier nagging me. This is exactly something I want to move away from, as I don’t want to be driven by due dates.

While I haven’t solved all of this, I have been working on putting a few new contexts in place, and I’ll share some of them here in the new few weeks. Consider this an intro to a series on contexts — never mind the fact that one post in this series was written almost a year ago.

Until then, I’d like to hear from you:

  • What contexts do you use?
  • What unique contexts have you put in place the are helpful for you?

6 thoughts on “thinking about contexts

  1. Hi John,

    I like your “tinkering” context. This makes me think I might be able to use a similar approach.

    I currently have 10 context (2 of them could probably go away as I use them infrequently).

    1. Home
    2. Office
    3. Computer
    4. Linda (my lovely wife)
    5. Anywhere
    6. Calls
    7. Errands
    8. Agendas
    9. Waiting for
    10. Money

    I think the most unique for me is the “money” category as I can (since I use OF as well) get rid of unnecessary receipts by putting the info into OF for later entry to my computer money management program (iBank… and hopefully their soon-to-be released v4.0 will have an iPhone app).

  2. I just added a “Brain” context for actions such as “decide on…” and “think about…” I just couldn’t think of a better context to put these types of things into.

  3. I actually split it up into each area in my life.

    M.Ed. Program (portfolio/homework/research)
    Personal (House Projects/ThinkTank)
    Northwoods(Communication/lesson planning/long term/mentoring/observations/materials)
    Love Wins (org/work boots)
    CNX (materials/communication/planning)

    There is a shot of my projects/contexts…

    Chad Millers last blog post..Black Ice

  4. My goodness John you have a lot of items in the red. One promise I’ve always made myself is items only get due dates if they are actually due. No artificial due dates for me. As a result, it is rare for me to wake up with more than 5 or 6 actual items “due.”

    David Sparkss last blog post..OmniFocus Reviewed

  5. David,
    Thanks for the comment…always get to get perspective from someone outside my day to day ‘normalcy’. That day was higher than usual, but yeah, I usually have quite a few. I don’t have many hard and fast deadlines, so I use due dates to create priorities. As I’ve said before, I would like to get rid of due dates all together…but haven’t yet figured out how to do it!

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