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The defining (confining?) nature of Contexts

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  • The defining (confining?) nature of Contexts

    I've spend much of this year implementing the GTD system (based on a hackneyed newyear's resolution). I have been most focused on trying to capture all thoughts then work with them as GTD stuff (which starts the GTD process). These collected ideas (proto-stuff?) are often rather ambiguous, and they have caused alot of 'what do I do with this note' thinking.

    I have found that the thoughts that most easily led to NAs (or projects with NAs) cleanly fall into well conceptualized contexts (@Calls, @On-line, @Computer, etc.). So these thoughts were the easiest to push all the way through to completion. Accordingly, in an ameoba-like stimulus-response feedback loop, those easy GTD thoughts were the ones I was finding and working on. The thoughts that weren't so GTD eligible were 'neglected' and often didn't make it into the stuff pile. As the backlog of GTD-awkward thoughts built up, I finally figured that I was applying GTD badly. The way I knew GTD was defining much of how I was applying myself, and in effect, the basic GTD was defining me.

    Specifically, I found myself Context oriented, gravitating towards ideas, goals, etc. that provide NAs for the contexts that I efficient with. The initial ease of such an approach caused unintended back-ups in strange places. For example, I began busily doing errands, or process stuff in my home in-box (another context, btw) rather than being Dad. There were other places, such as spending time on the phone with friends, that became neglected in order to work in the alternative NAs that were at hand.

    So after several months, I have discovered the need to be much more thoughtful and comprehensive in creating contexts. I now have one for each family member. I have a project called 'Friends'.

    As I have reworked these organizational constructs, I am beginning to find that I have less stuff that gets stuck at the top of the GTD process. And since there is more ease getting certain ideas efficiently processed as GTD stuff, I seem to be collecting a broader array of stuff.