contexts: waiting

March 2, 2009

This is part of a series on Contexts where I explore some of the unique contexts I’ve been working with in my GTD system.

Thinking I would spice up this post with an image, I did an image search on the word waiting. Not the most exciting search I’ve ever done — images of sterile waiting areas decorated like my grandmother’s living room or lonely figures hunched over on benches. Not wanting to depress you, or me, I nixed the image idea. Waiting is not glamorous. But when it comes to my contexts, waiting is one of my favorites.

I don’t like to fill up my task lists with more than is reasonable to accomplish within the next week or so. It can get overwhelming to look at too big of a list. Of course, using start dates can help, but not everything is a task I want to get to in a certain timeframe. The waiting context gives me a place to tuck away those “someday” dreams or ideas that I’m not yet able, equipped, or ready to tackle. It’s a cornucopia of good intentions.

I should admit that I’ve had a “waiting” context for well over a year. But it wasn’t very effective, because I didn’t look at it very much. Okay…I never looked at it. It wasn’t until I incorporated it into my weekly review that it worked for me. Each Monday, one of my review tasks is to look at what has been stuffed into the waiting context. Sometimes, I move items into an active context. Sometimes I delete them, mocking my previous ambitions. Most of all, I am reminded of what is there so that those old ideas don’t feel like puppies left outside in the rain.

(Ooh…that inspired me to add an image of a puppy in the rain. Not so much luck there either. But who knew that there were rain coats for dogs?)

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