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  • Context Lists

    Let's say that you have 100 items on your Inventory lists ( Calls, PC, Action). When you are working in your office, you feasibly could make a call, finish a PC task, or work on an action item. Does this mean that you will need to review all 100 ( combo of paper lists and PC folders) each time you are ready to work on something to ensure that what's most important gets done? I can see where having the items sorted by context could be helpful when you are not in your office and the context could be a limiting factor. I'm not sure I see the advantage of having them sorted by context when the factor is not a limitation?

    Secondly, do you combine Work and Life lists (calls, PC, Action, Projects) or keep them separate?

  • #2
    There are two purposes behind a context: limitation (I can only do X in/with Y) and batch processing (it's easier to make 3 calls in a row).

    I think a context like "PC" is redundant for almost anyone who works on a computer. We spend more time on our PCs than off. In fact, "offline" is a better context to capture that handful of things we can do *without* a computer.

    While not strict GTD, I divide my projects by priority (1-5). This ensures I at least consider doing the higher-priority tasks first, even if I don't actually do them. To achieve this I have each context divided into 5 sections (most important at the top, if I ever get around to it at the bottom) and I keep 5 Next Action lists, one for each priority level.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by debbieg View Post
      I'm not sure I see the advantage of having them sorted by context when the factor is not a limitation?

      Secondly, do you combine Work and Life lists (calls, PC, Action, Projects) or keep them separate?
      It saves you time you use when you change contexts. It's a lot easier to get in the mode of doing one type of thing and do a bunch of them rather than waste time jumping around from context to context. I live and wok at the same place. But I still find contexts very useful to provide structure and to prevent me from thrashing around. I am more efficient and get more done if I do all my Windows computer work at one time instead of doing a quick Windows task, then back to my mac for an internet task, then go outside to do something outside and so on.

      Plus in my world sometimes it's really critical to stay in context. Example, today we had the ewes and lambs in, I was outside w/ help with the sheep caught. We vaccinated lambs and weaned ram lambs. Both tasks were in that context. We ran out of time so tomorrow we;ll get back into that context and coat the ewes, sort the fat ewes out into corrals and re-tag sheep that have lost their official ID tags.

      I keep everything in a single system. It's all my life whether it's work or for fun.

      Comment


      • #4
        Project Priorities Q

        Originally posted by MarinaMartin View Post
        There are two purposes behind a context: limitation (I can only do X in/with Y) and batch processing (it's easier to make 3 calls in a row).

        I think a context like "PC" is redundant for almost anyone who works on a computer. We spend more time on our PCs than off. In fact, "offline" is a better context to capture that handful of things we can do *without* a computer.

        While not strict GTD, I divide my projects by priority (1-5). This ensures I at least consider doing the higher-priority tasks first, even if I don't actually do them. To achieve this I have each context divided into 5 sections (most important at the top, if I ever get around to it at the bottom) and I keep 5 Next Action lists, one for each priority level.
        Does this mean that you never have more than 5 projects going at a time or that every project on your master list is prioritized with a 1-5 ranking?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by debbieg View Post
          Does this mean that you will need to review all 100 ( combo of paper lists and PC folders) each time you are ready to work on something to ensure that what's most important gets done?
          Not really. In my experience, I review items until I reach one that I feel like doing, and then do it. Just how that decision is made is a bit of a black box in GTD, but it seems to work fine.

          Originally posted by debbieg View Post
          Secondly, do you combine Work and Life lists (calls, PC, Action, Projects) or keep them separate?
          I mostly keep mine separate, but there's some overlap. In practice it generally seems to work out to being a separation by context anyway.


          Cheers,
          Roger

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by debbieg View Post
            Does this mean that you never have more than 5 projects going at a time or that every project on your master list is prioritized with a 1-5 ranking?
            My master list is prioritized with a 1-5 ranking. I have *way* more than 5 projects

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Roger View Post
              Not really. In my experience, I review items until I reach one that I feel like doing, and then do it. Just how that decision is made is a bit of a black box in GTD, but it seems to work fine.



              I mostly keep mine separate, but there's some overlap. In practice it generally seems to work out to being a separation by context anyway.


              Cheers,
              Roger
              I'm curious..what are some of your context lists? (action-work, action-personal, calls, errands, etc?????)

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              • #8
                I run pretty flat when it comes to contexts:

                -Home
                -Work
                -Out-and-About

                pretty much covers it.

                It's theoretically possible that I might be at Home or Work and not have telephony or computer access or whatnot, but it's slim enough to not really bother with.

                Conversely, it's theoretically possible that I might want to make a call from my cellphone in some random location, but I only do that about once every couple months so again it's not really worth bothering with.

                For something like an ad-hoc context ("Whilst on vacation in the Swiss Alps") I'd just lump that into a project and unfold it on-scene.


                Cheers,
                Roger

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Roger View Post
                  I run pretty flat when it comes to contexts:

                  -Home
                  -Work
                  -Out-and-About
                  Straight after a weekly review, how many next actions are you looking at in those?

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                  • #10
                    After a quick count right now, looks like I'm at about 20 for Work; I expect Home is pretty similar, and Out-and-About is maybe 2 or 3.

                    This is right before my Review, though, so on balance it might swell to 30 or 40, potentially. Or it might not.


                    Cheers,
                    Roger

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Mine is similar to Roger's.

                      @Agenda
                      @Work
                      @Homework
                      @Waiting

                      Sometimes i add @car.

                      And:

                      Projects
                      Next week/month
                      Ideas

                      I scan quickly through the list @work when at work and choose the most important task. Actually I would like to choose the most important but usually take a pleasant one. I'm a procrastinator Then do it untill some point when there's no time left, some logical finish, interruption or to the end.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Context is only the first of four things you use to pair down actions.

                        After you have chose your context say @office, then you look at a couple of other things.

                        Time Available There is no point in looking at things you know will take several hours if you only have a few minutes.

                        Energy Physical/Mental Energy is another thing to exclude possible actions. If you didn't get much sleep last night and don't function well without a good night's rest, put aside more Mental tasks and work on Automatic work.

                        Priority This is really the final step in limiting your actions since this is something within your locus of control. You can't control how much time you have or how you feel, but you can control what is important.

                        Those four limiting factors, Context, Time, Energy, and priority can quickly take a list of a hundred actions and reduce it to 5 or 10.

                        It does take a little more time on the front end, but honestly not as much as one might think. Time is the hardest for me as I always misjudge how long things will take. But energy is easy, do I groan when I think about it or not.

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                        • #13
                          I find the simpler, the better. I was never better at GTD than back in the paper days - it wasn't even called GTD then. I'm committed to getting back now and I have more success keeping it simple.

                          I have 1 @Work context (and 1 @Work Projects) since, apart from meetings, I'm at a desk with everything I need. When I work from home, I just bring up my @Work list, no difference. Actions in that list start with a verb, Call ..., Complete ..., Contact ...

                          I have more personal lists, @Contact, @Errands, @Home, @Computer. I prefer @Contact for a personal list, since I have there are several contact methods. If it has to be a phone call, then the action in the @Contact list is "Call ..."

                          I try to avoid priorities, except on my @WorkProjects list, since I may spend several days designing, coding, testing 1 project. It doesn't make sense to interrupt work to add a specific @Work task for a task I'm already working on. I will add specific @Work tasks at the end of the day, or for things for which I am waiting.

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                          • #14
                            here are mine...

                            hi,

                            I work from home, so in the beginning I had home and work stuff mixed in the same lists, but that didn't work out.

                            So now I have 1 major list for work related stuff, and 1 for home related stuff. Both are in the same excel file (in different tabs). I access the work one mostly ont my pc, but the home one gets printed (about once every two weeks) and hangs in the kitchen visible for all family members.

                            In the excel I have a column called "context", it allows me to filter if I want to or to view everything in one list.

                            The context that I use are:
                            1. For work related stuff (i am a consultant):
                            * @study
                            * @conception (this is something that works well for me when I am on a train, this often means developing a training idea by scribbling on a page)
                            * @development (working out the ideas I conceived)
                            * @admin (forms etc...)
                            * @phone
                            * @mail
                            * @research (the "I should look into..." stuff)
                            * @author (writing articles, reports, ...)

                            2. For home related stuff
                            * @phone
                            * @mail
                            * @chores
                            * @research
                            * @brainstorm (mostly for the things I need to think about together with my husband)
                            * @XXX (with XXX the city where our family vacation house is)

                            greetings,
                            Myriam

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Can you clarify...

                              Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
                              I find the simpler, the better. I was never better at GTD than back in the paper days - it wasn't even called GTD then. I'm committed to getting back now and I have more success keeping it simple.

                              I have 1 @Work context (and 1 @Work Projects) since, apart from meetings, I'm at a desk with everything I need. When I work from home, I just bring up my @Work list, no difference. Actions in that list start with a verb, Call ..., Complete ..., Contact ...

                              I have more personal lists, @Contact, @Errands, @Home, @Computer. I prefer @Contact for a personal list, since I have there are several contact methods. If it has to be a phone call, then the action in the @Contact list is "Call ..."

                              I try to avoid priorities, except on my @WorkProjects list, since I may spend several days designing, coding, testing 1 project. It doesn't make sense to interrupt work to add a specific @Work task for a task I'm already working on. I will add specific @Work tasks at the end of the day, or for things for which I am waiting.
                              Does this mean that you would not have all your calls in one place? It sounds like you would have call listed on your @work list and calls listed for personal on @ contact, yes? So you are looking at two call lists when you have time to make a call?

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