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  • Contexts for @Computer ??

    Looking for recommendations for context lists (names, #) for next actions that require a "device." My next actions seem to fall into ONE OR MORE of the following cases:

    - requires device (PC, iphone, tablet, etc.)
    - to be done during non-working time
    - to be done during working time
    - requires work laptop
    - requires personal laptop
    - requires either work or personal laptop, but not an iphone or tablet
    - requires either work laptop, personal laptop, or tablet, but not iphone

    So, I have situations where I have my work laptop with me, but it's not work time so there are some tasks I could do (read an ebook) but not other tasks (work on iTunes, which is only installed on my personal laptop

    Right now, I have to re-evaluate each of my tasks to figure out which category it goes in every time I look at it

  • #2
    Originally posted by furashgf View Post
    So, I have situations where I have my work laptop with me, but it's not work time so there are some tasks I could do (read an ebook) but not other tasks (work on iTunes, which is only installed on my personal laptop
    Sort by application in addition to by device. Put tasks that can be done on more than one device in the app context and tasks that require a specific device in the device context. Don't worry about whether a particular thing can go in several places, get it in the first one you think of and move on.

    So I have e-books that are on my Mac, my kindle and my iPad. But they happen to have color pictures so my preference is to read them on my iPad because it's portable. So I put the action "read chapters 7, 8 & 9 of my Animal Repro textbook" in the iPad context.

    OTOH I have things that I want to do in DEVONThink. I have that installed on all my devices, iPhone, iPad, desktop Mac and MacBook. It doesn't really matter what device I do the task in so I put it in the @Computer DEVONThink context.

    And then there are the blended ones. I have a die cut machine connected to my computers. It's on the network so I can contact it from either my laptop or my desktop Mac. However I generally don't do scrapbook stuff except at home so I put the tasks about making specific die cuts in the hierarchy of @Computer Mac - subset Silhouette app. Sure, if I go to a crop and take my machine I'll take my laptop but that's a special event not a normal thing so even though it's possible, I tend to put those in the @Computer Mac context. When that context got too big I sorted them further by adding an app designation. That's why the subset for the app that runs the machine.

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    • #3
      I totally agree with bcmyers2112. You need as many contexts as you need but as few as you can get by with.

      IMO the best way to figure out how many you truly need is to start with a single @Computer context for a week or two and see how often you find things on the list that you can't do because of another limiting context.

      I'm pretty sure that's how D.A. came up with @Computer-Web for his lists a decade ago. He frequently found things that he couldn't do in the airport or airplane without a web connection on his @Computer list so he defined a new context to fit his situation.

      Every computing device that I know of can be assigned a name. I have a context list for something that has to happen on my personal laptop (e.g. @Cygnet). However if an action requires me to be on my own home network (e.g. local NAS drive is needed) then I use the @Home context.

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      • #4
        I find the @Computer context a tricky one as well. With documents in the cloud and a growing number of connected devices, it seems that I seldom have less than two options available for completing many computer-related next actions. I would recommend the recent Getting Creative with Lists webinar....there is a great piece in there about choosing activity-specific contexts that I think applies really well to the @Computer list.

        I try to actually visualize myself performing the action to help me choose the context accordingly. For example -- while I could browse that cool new photographer's website anywhere (iphone, ipad, work PC, home Mac), I picture myself doing it at my home Mac....so @Computer-Mac is where it goes. I could update my travel expenses spreadsheet almost anywhere, but I picture myself doing that at the office (@Office for this one).

        At the end of the day, though, I think Oogie's advice is great....pick the first context that comes to mind and put it there. You are only stuck with your choice until the next Weekly Review anyway. You can move it then if you want to.

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        • #5
          Are there often times when you need this level of granularity in your contexts? In other words, "I'm on work time but have access to my personal laptop and my iPhone but not my work laptop or my iPad"? Perhaps so and if that's the situation you find yourself in with enough frequency to be worth the trouble of maintaining a complex structure, then fine. But if not, perhaps you can get by with Computer/Work and Computer/Home and make the device decisions on the fly in the moment of doing?
          Just a thought FWIW

          Cheers,
          Laura

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          • #6
            I suppose you can get everything out of a laptop. Work or fun. Both are in it.

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            • #7
              After you identify the next action, ask which context you MUST have available and identify it to the smallest unit. If you could do the action on a tablet or a computer use a context like @Tech or @Web, etc. After a while you will be able to identify a classification system that works for you.

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