Let me first just briefly state a couple of trivial points: Computers do not suffer from my ugly handwriting.
Please don't take it personally but I consider an ugly handwriting to be just a lame excuse. But it is a matter of priorities. Once upon a time I did not like my handwriting but now, after some practice I think it is neat and perfectly readable!
A very interesting capability that apps potentially have which paper does not, and which many apps do have in reality, to a higher or lower degree, is what I might perhaps term cross-referencing. We seem to agree that it is a bad idea to keep duplicates of the same tasks listed on several different sheets of paper, but with computer apps this is easily achieved by classifying and characterizing each item (action, project ...) in a number of relevant ways and then simply viewing the "stuff" from different angles.
I still don't get it. Why are you obsessed with this "task duplication" problem? I do not need to duplicate any Next Actions - they sit quietly on one of my @context lists until they are done, moved to iPhone for execution or deleted.
It is perhaps also worth noting that with a paper-based system you are not forced to split your Next actions into separate context lists. You can have them all one one single list (if you prefer), and simply browse through the list when making your selection: "No, too far away from here", "No, too tired for that", "No, no time now", "No, not important enough". By splitting them up on different context lists you can make things a little bit easier for you if you have lots of actions, but you then also face the classical classification problem - defining contexts that are mutually exclusive on paper while not being entirely so in reality. With a well-designed app none of this would need to be a problem - you could apply multiple independent classifications, such as "requires a computer", "requires John", "requires a quiet environment", "requires a calm mind" and so on, and then simply eliminate tasks requiring those factors that are not present.
Now I think I know why I don't get it. I've never imagined that contexts can have such complicated structure. "Requires a computer", "requires John", "requires a quiet environment", "requires a calm mind" - it is beyond my abilities to manage the system which I consider to be just a tool to do other work. I don't have time to waste for such classifications. If I need a quiet environment I just close the door...
As I said in the previous post, being a seasoned paper user, if it were only for the first trivial points I would probably stay with paper. The value for me with computers lies almost entirely in the cross-referencing potential - for both review purposes and task selection, and in the capability to see my stuff from a 20k-30k perspective. I certainly would not use an app just to carry a white index card.
I've never imagined that contexts can have such complicated structure. "Requires a computer", "requires John", "requires a quiet environment", "requires a calm mind" - it is beyond my abilities to manage the system which I consider to be just a tool to do other work. I don't have time to waste for such classifications. If I need a quiet environment I just close the door...
This is very interesting and a bit funny, too, this discrepancy between what different people regard as complicated or easy. I totally agree, of course, that it is a good thing to keep classification work down to what you actually have use for. I myself use only few classifications (tags), only those that I have practical use for (the above were just illustrative examples). The funny thing is that what you describe sounds more complicated and structured to me than what I am describing - and vice versa, apparently:
1) Is it easier to devise a good structure, mutually exclusive (can only use one classification), and always have to decide which ONE of all the lists to put a task on, and subsequently be prepared to look at several lists to find it again (if the choice of lists was not obvious)
2) Is it easier to have less structure, no compulsory context classification, but an array of independent (non-exclusive) individual characterization aspects that you can apply as relevant, and be able to either show or hide tasks have certain characteristics.
[QUOTE=bcmyers2112;110532]After having written this post I resolved to stick with the list manager I had picked and put my money where my mouth is: I strove to apply GTD principles and stop worrying needlessly about the gear. I have ADHD and have read that people like me have trouble with executive functioning; we tend to make too many commitments with others and generate more commitments internally than those without the ADHD.
ADHD can be a huge factor. You may decide in the future that getting an ADD coach will help you get things more oriented the way you think, thereby making the decision making even easier. A friend of mine tried for years to adapt to list-making but after working with the coach she learned to make the lists adapt to HER. She is now an industry powerhouse that got a huge promotion because now things work for her rather than her chasing them.
perfect is the enemy of good - instead go for agility
After reading your response in the other thread I have a feeling you've got the principles of GTD down but it's just finding the implementation that works for you. I was in a similar place - perfectionist who felt like I was struggling to implement GTD for years. I too tinkered with every tool that was out there at the time thinking that maybe finding the right software would really accelerate and then I realised that it had, almost nothing, to do with the tool.
What I did was create a 'must have' and a 'nice to have' in a tool. A simple list of 10-12 items. (As a perfectionist, it was important to give such guidelines because next thing I'd be writing a book of 100 features of to-do software and another software app to match them for you. lol. But I try to stick to the principle of 'perfect is the enemy of good'.) Then I shortlist tools and then just pick the one I am most attracted to.
And then I created a GTD improvement project and when I had ideas about how I could improve my system I captured them there, and would set aside time, usually after my weekly review to tweak the system.
So bit by bit, and managed, I've gotten to a system that is pretty stable.