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  • How to create the right Contexts?

    Is there any method or recommendation on how to setup the right Contexts? I used to have "standard" contexts like @Agendas, @Call, @Computer, @Errands, @Waiting, @Home, @Office. But sometimes I feel that they're not right and I think maybe I should create something different that would be connected to places I'm at like @Office, @Home, @Car, @Shop. But I could be wrong again. Is there any methods?

    Regards,

    Eugene.

  • #2
    There's no catch-all process for defining contexts, because each person has different contexts. This does require concentrated thought.

    I would like to help, though, by approaching this from another angle: How are your current contexts not working?

    Comment


    • #3
      The contexts that you create will depend on the kinds of work you do and the places you do it. For example, people who work from a home office might decide to combine the @Home and @Office contexts. Or, if you do a lot of travel, you might create an @Airplane context for things you can do while on a flight.

      The trick, I think, is not to create too many contexts, so that it's easy to decide where a particular Next Action should go. But within that guideline, I think whatever makes sense for you is probably okay.

      Is there something about the "default" set of contexts suggested in the GTD book that isn't working for you? Perhaps if you talked more about what you want to change, we can all make some better suggestions.

      -- Tammy

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm a sales director. I have a home office with all communications available as well as "standard" office that I use for meetings with my personnel and sometimes customers. I leave outside of the city so I have to drive there for approximatelly 1:30. Sometimes I'm doing shopping at a gas station or in some "by the way" shops.

        I "connected" standard contexts to my phisical locations:

        @Call to my time at the car. This works but why not doing calls from home (@Home) or office (@Office)? @Computer to my time at my home office but actually I can do it in my office as well. @Errands to my car time. But I usually forget to look in there @Waiting - that's has no particular time to look at some missed always till Weekly Review

        This mesh and overlap made me think if my contexts setup in a right manner. Maybe I should simplify them and create simple phisical contexts like @Car, @Home, @Office, @Shop? At least they would be strictly divided (but stil I can put calls into a few contexts: @Car, @Home, @Office, @Shop and computer staff as well to @Home and @Office). I need some system to make my contexts work! Please help!

        Regards,

        Eugene.

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't look at @work actions when you are @home!

          The purpose of the context concept for me is to prevent me from looking at a specific action reminder while I am not in the place where I could do that specific action (or with the tool or with the right person).

          When I am at home I don't want to look at actions that can only be done at work.
          My contexts are simple: 'at work', 'at home and elsewhere', and 'shopping'.

          Rainer

          Comment


          • #6
            @Place context is clear and works. What about @Instrument context? In what case does @Instrument context make sence? In case someone doesn't have some insturment at a specific location, i.e. telephone at home but that's nonsence? Could someone please explain that?

            Regards,

            E.

            Comment


            • #7
              @Call everywhere.

              Originally posted by Borisoff
              @Call to my time at the car. This works but why not doing calls from home (@Home) or office (@Office)?
              Why @Call means for you @Car. I think it is not a physical-location-based context. You should use it everywhere when you have some spare time and access to the telephone network. So when you are in the office do NAs from both - your @Office and @Call list.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TesTeq
                Why @Call means for you @Car. I think it is not a physical-location-based context. You should use it everywhere when you have some spare time and access to the telephone network. So when you are in the office do NAs from both - your @Office and @Call list.
                I always have access to the telephone network as I have a mobile phone Even in the toilet So:

                1. Is there any sence splitting by this instrument then?

                2. What is spare time? Time that is not planned in hard landscape?

                Regards,

                Eugene.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Reference files should be available.

                  Originally posted by Borisoff
                  I always have access to the telephone network as I have a mobile phone Even in the toilet
                  For some calls you may want to have your reference files available so it may determine the physical context. I hope you do not keep everything in your head? Or in your toilet ?
                  Originally posted by Borisoff
                  2. What is spare time? Time that is not planned in hard landscape?
                  Not planned in hard landscape. Apply four criteria for choosing actions outside the hard landscape:
                  (1) Context
                  (2) Time Available
                  (3) Energy Available
                  (4) Priority

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TesTeq
                    For some calls you may want to have your reference files available so it may determine the physical context. I hope you do not keep everything in your head? Or in your toilet ?
                    Some calls require me being at home with Reference files or at toilet where I can think harder Do you mean I need @Home and @Toilet context instead of general @Calls?

                    Eugene.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Suggestion:

                      Pick a set of contexts. Use them for a while. If one doesn't work, change it. Repeat until contexts work.

                      You may be worrying too much. If you just start, you'll be able to adjust as you go.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brent
                        Suggestion:

                        Pick a set of contexts. Use them for a while. If one doesn't work, change it. Repeat until contexts work.

                        You may be worrying too much. If you just start, you'll be able to adjust as you go.
                        Brent, that's why I'm posting here. I used to have some context described above but they didn't work well as I thought. So I'm looking for a method or algorithm on how to pickup the right contexts if any.

                        Regards,

                        Eugene.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Contexts are, for me, ways of defining the resources needed to do a particular action.

                          @calls only require a telephone, and my address book with the number of the person. If I expect to make a lot of calls while away from my office, I'll double check to make sure that any relevant notes are with me as well.

                          @emails only require a computer with an Internet connection, and my address book with the person's email address. These often require notes as well, but I don't worry so much about that because I send almost all emails from my laptop.

                          @calls and @email help me group similar tasks together for efficiency. I find them helpful even though they overlap with @office.

                          @read/review only requires the physical object that I'm planning to read or review. These are the items I take with me to read at the dentist's office, on the train, whatever.

                          @write/edit only requires the notes for the particular project, but also a reasonably quiet place to work.

                          @read/review and @write/edit both require chunks of uninterrupted time. I can do them almost anywhere, but I can't easily wedge them into a few minutes of downtime, like I can with @calls.

                          @computer assumes all the software resources on my computer, plus an Internet connection. It does not assume the physical files in my office.

                          @office assumes all the resources of my office, including my computer, but also scanner, financial files, etc.

                          @home separates work tasks (@office) from household maintenance (@home). Since I work from a home office, this helps me keep the boundary between the two clear.

                          @errands, @library, @gym are self-explanatory. These are items that require a particular physical location.

                          Hope this helps,

                          Katherine

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kewms
                            @calls only require a telephone, and my address book with the number of the person. If I expect to make a lot of calls while away from my office, I'll double check to make sure that any relevant notes are with me as well.
                            I make it so that I don't even need my address book:

                            @Calls
                            Dr. Zhivago - 555-8795

                            that way, I cannot use the excuse that I do not have the number.

                            Michael

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Borisoff
                              I used to have some context described above but they didn't work well as I thought.
                              I'm afraid I have to repeat what I asked at the beginning of the thread, and my apologies in advance if I've missed your answer somewhere: How specifically are your current contexts not working for you?

                              Comment

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