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Forget about contexts.

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  • #31
    You missed one off your list of time wasters. Stop posting on the forums and get on with your top priority.

    Some of us find that buying dog food and paying electricity bills are still essential parts of life, and getting those done in the most efficient way possible frees us up to deal with higher priorities. We're here because the GTD principles are working well for us.

    It sounds like your understanding of GTD doesn't suit your life, and that's absolutely fine. But I'm wondering why you're wasting your valuable time on a GTD forum, trying to convince us that GTD is the wrong system to use? Are you wanting to argue or further your understanding?

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
      It doesn't matter. All phone calls would be important but also completely unrelated. It's not like he would be calling press and then the next thing he would be calling his wife and then somebody else, etc. just because he is in @phone mode. You see, this is surely efficient but ridiculous.
      Actually I don't think that is ridiculous at all nor is it inefficient. It's far better to do all the same type of task at once if you possibly can. So it's is far more efficient to do all phone calls at once time instead of piecemeal.

      I will make more progress on finishing my Android EID program if I do all the tasks I need to do when I am in the Android development environment, regardless of the specific project they relate to.

      I am more efficient if I do all the shopping in one trip rather than waste 3 hours because I forgot something that is important and have to drive back to the city to get it. And yes, I do plan the route to make all right hand turns if possible, that actually can save almost half an hour over the course of a day,a significant time savings.

      If I am in bill paying mode with checkbook out it's better to do all of them at once and get them ready to mail rather than do one now, put everything away, then have to dig it all out again later.

      If you don't think contexts work for you then IMO you don't understand how to adapt contexts to your life. I maintain that context is a useful distinction for everyone, no matter the situation. In your example, Jobs context was "at Pixar" and he did everything related to that context while there and so on. Your examples do not show a lack of context but a very well defined use of them.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
        When there are important, high priority, next actions that are key steps in achieving your 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 ft and above goals, you simply cannot let the four criteria get in the way.

        Get in the right context. Find the energy. Find time.
        Yes, we don't let the four criteria get in the way. We are conscious of the role that our location, time, energy and priorities play and manage them accordingly.


        Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
        If you are constantly talking to colleagues and coworkers and checking off those agenda items, constantly driving around and checking off errands, constantly on the phone and checking off those items, but never at your desk to tackle the big action, you simply have to rework your allocation of time. Stop talking to other people, stop driving around making sure you pick up the nails from the hardware store and the butter at the grocery store in one trip, turn off the phone, and get to your desk.
        You seem to be setting up strawman arguments. Nobody is telling anybody to behave in the way you describe. I put things on my lists because I may not get to them for a while because I am doing other important things, not because I am frantically doing inconsequential things. In your original post, you mentioned checking gmail and Facebook. I don't do either. David Allen is very clear that sometimes you may need to schedule time with yourself for important tasks. In fact I rarely need to do that explicitly because the way I manage my contexts, time, energy and priorities makes it largely unnecessary. My agendas list is not so I spend all my time talking to people, it's there to help me make good use of their time and attention as well as mine.

        Sometimes when people do look clearly at their backlog of unfinished items, they get uncomfortable. It's certainly possible to procrastinate on a large, unclarified project while tackling smaller things. There are worse ways to procrastinate,but gtd helps to clarify such projects and break them down so you have choices as to how you do them.

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        • #34
          Yeah, you could say that everything in Steve Jobs example could be organised by contexts. In fact, you can organise anything according to GTD by the book.

          If you don't think contexts work for you then IMO you don't understand how to adapt contexts to your life. I maintain that context is a useful distinction for everyone, no matter the situation.
          But you're missing the point.
          Steve Jobs wasn't working on unrelated projects or from context lists. He set aside a whole day to focus on some single area of responsibility, regardless of contexts, time, energy. He didn't try to fit his life into a stereotype system. Yes, could use contexts but it wouldn't be worth it. And that's my point. Organising everything by contexts is a point of friction, it takes a lot of work but it's useful only when you do cog like work, e.g. to batch process unrelated actions.

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          • #35
            I think contexts can work for more straightforward jobs, like sales in which you have a bunch of calls and emails to make and you need a system to follow up on all your leads. But in more creative type of work contexts create more problems than they solve because rather than having hundreds of leads to follow up on, you need to focus on a certain project. The most important thing for the creative innovator is not a ton of tasks to do but rather the ability to see whatís important to focus on and to focus on that deeply.

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            • #36
              I think the problem with GTD is that it tries to fit absolutely everything into some stereotype and creates a lot of friction.

              Capture absolutely everything(all open loops), fit everything into some project, each project must have a next action, each next action must have a context, constantly maintain the system up to date, do weekly reviews, etc. etc. It’s too rigid of a system. And it expects too much from it’s users. And when your tasks are continuously ambiguous and need flexibility, the system starts to break down.

              Here's a newsletter from David Allen which I particularly disagree with:

              "Hi Folks,

              The major complaint about our Getting Things Done methodology is not that it doesn't work or that the principles aren't sound—it's that people don't work the system. I've learned that many times the problem is not lack of motivation or discipline, but instead some rather mundane and practical behaviors that can be easily changed to make things work much better."

              I don't agree that the problem is "mundane and practical behaviors that can be easily changed". The problem is that gtd expects too much from it’s users. It sounds good in theory but some concepts like contexts are not all that relevant anymore and take too much work to maintain. Most things in GTD are just common sense though, so it "works" but I think the whole system is not appropriate for most people. Most people who try to implement GTD don’t ever get to the point where they master the system because it's too difficult to upkeep.

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              • #37
                Not my experience at all!

                Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
                I think the problem with GTD is that it tries to fit absolutely everything into some stereotype and creates a lot of friction.

                Capture absolutely everything(all open loops), fit everything into some project, each project must have a next action, each next action must have a context, constantly maintain the system up to date, do weekly reviews, etc. etc. Itís too rigid of a system. And it expects too much from itís users. And when your tasks are continuously ambiguous and need flexibility, the system starts to break down.

                Here's a newsletter from David Allen which I particularly disagree with:

                "Hi Folks,

                The major complaint about our Getting Things Done methodology is not that it doesn't work or that the principles aren't soundóit's that people don't work the system. I've learned that many times the problem is not lack of motivation or discipline, but instead some rather mundane and practical behaviors that can be easily changed to make things work much better."

                I don't agree that the problem is "mundane and practical behaviors that can be easily changed". The problem is that gtd expects too much from itís users. It sounds good in theory but some concepts like contexts are not all that relevant anymore and take too much work to maintain. Most things in GTD are just common sense though, so it "works" but I think the whole system is not appropriate for most people. Most people who try to implement GTD donít ever get to the point where they master the system because it's too difficult to upkeep.
                Really? I've been practicing GTD for over 10 years now. I spend minutes..MINUTES...on my system everyday. Your comments don't even begin to describe the GTD that I practice, know, and love.

                So why are you here?

                Comment


                • #38
                  Hello "supergtdman"

                  I'm not going to counter every point you've argued here on the forums. I'll just address that ones that stood out to me.

                  David Allen has never said people need to do every facet of GTD to get value. Yes, it is an ecosystem that has many moving parts, but use what you can that is valuable to you. Maybe that would sit easier inside of you, versus trying to dispute the methodology for everyone as flawed because you judge yourself for the parts you don't do or don't like.

                  As for contexts, here is how David Allen recently replied on that one:

                  "Contexts" are only useful to be able to distinguish what you don't need to look at. You can't do errands at home, so it's nice to have a simple "errands" list. If you're in Starbucks and want to do computer stuff, no need to see all the rest. If one simple list works to keep your head clear, though, that's all that matters. - David Allen
                  Kelly

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
                    David Allen recently replied on that one:
                    Kelly - David's quote reminds me of a cultural/religious shift in the Jewish community. In general, the Chassidim - the folks who wear black clothes, furry hats (shtreimels),etc - are seen as rigid, overly litigious and somber. Yet their origins were full of life, creativity, song and vibrancy - ecstatic even. It was the members (combined with powerful historical events) that created much of the Chassidic world we see today (though there are still elements that are very joyous, etc).

                    I've said this before, I have never found David, the coaches, the webinars, nor my seminar to be overly dogmatic about these things. What some of the members do with this material is another matter.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      trying to dispute the methodology for everyone as flawed because you judge yourself for the parts you don't do or don't like.
                      The methodologies aren't flawed but they are stereotypes that sometimes pigeon-hole people into roles they werenít meant to inhabit.

                      "Contexts" are only useful to be able to distinguish what you don't need to look at. You can't do errands at home, so it's nice to have a simple "errands" list. If you're in Starbucks and want to do computer stuff, no need to see all the rest. If one simple list works to keep your head clear, though, that's all that matters. - David Allen
                      Yes, again, it's always the "errands" context which is used as an example... Errands works as a separate list. But if I'm in Starbucks I can do 90% of stuff. Hell I can write a book in Starbucks. I can also make calls, emails, reading, thinking. So contexts provide little value.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
                        So contexts provide little value.
                        They provide little value TO YOU. So you don't need to use them. But GTD isn't about tying you to rules. Use the bits that help you, ignore the bits that don't.

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                        • #42
                          Well my point is that GTD contexts also provide little value in general for most people with smartphones. They force people to pointlessly over analyse actions and waste time organising tasks in the system instead of doing them. And then those contexts don't even help to decide what to do in most cases.

                          Should I use macbook as context or maybe iphone or maybe ipad or maybe starbucks or maybe commute or maybe writing or maybe home or maybe something else, etc. etc. Or I can just write an action or project without any context and that's it. Think about how much effort and mental energy I'm saving. Instead of figuring out the perfect setup I'm actually just getting things done.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
                            They force people to pointlessly over analyse actions and waste time organising tasks in the system instead of doing them.
                            Then they've chosen the wrong contexts for their life. I don't need more than a split-second to make that decision.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
                              ... when all your contexts are always available.
                              It's rather a large assumption that all activities are available all the time.

                              For those of you reading this post, are there times when you have a strong broadband connection on your computer, but not on a mobile device that uses cellular technology? In that case, your @Phone context may not be available, but your @Online context is. Are there times when you could work more efficiently on a larger screen, rather than trying to surf on a smartphone or tablet? In that case, your @Online context may be available, but only on a mobile device. Home broadband is widely available, but for many people it still has slow times and outages.

                              I've been in Los Angeles and the Bay Area recently, both densely populated economic hubs. In both I have had to cope with low to no cell coverage, and sometimes unreliable wired broadband access to the internet. Flexible contexts turned hours of offline time into productive time.

                              Refining my contexts to improve my efficiency is what makes them valuable.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Then they've chosen the wrong contexts for their life.
                                Or maybe they should just let go of trying to organise absolutely everything into some context. Sometimes you have to abandon a GTD tactic in order to actually get things done.

                                The only wrong way to get things done is to stubbornly do it someone elseís way rather than finding your own.

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