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  • Many or One?

    I've been impressed with the ideas in GTD but after going around in circles trying to optimise it to my circumstances have come to a problem. I currently have @home, @office, @call, @computer, @school, etc. set up on my Palm. However, I have the option most days of working from home, or going to the office, or taking the laptop to a coffee shop.... Unless I'm at 'office', how do I know that there is something at the office that needs doing. I may need to do something at the school but unless I go there, why would I check that context list? I appriciate that there is a weekly review of projects but how to decide, day to day, where to go (i.e. which context do I need to be in that day)?
    Should I ditch all the context lists in favour of one (which never worked in the first place)?
    Any suggestions (apart from 'stay in bed')?

  • #2
    Staying in bed is tempting, isn't it? Too bad it isn't a viable option for most of us.

    If it were me, I'd make the context decision at my Weekly Review. "What do I need to do this week, and where do I need to be to do it?"

    Alternatively (or in addition), you could do enough of a minireview first thing in the morning to establish where you need to be that day. Or, you could redefine your contexts by thinking about what resources are available to you. For example, if all you need is your laptop, then you have an @laptop context which can be physically located wherever you want.

    Good luck!

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      Good question! I think that logically you should use @instrument approach (@phone, @computer, @person - sorry, but we are instruments for others in their business anyway What instrument at school or at home you need to close a Next Action, maybe @pen? Do you really need to be at school to use it then?

      Anyway sometimes it happens that in order to move the project you need to dicsuss something with someone and this NA goes to your @Agenda. That's passive context that assumes that you "bump" into the person on agenda. If you see at your weekly review that the chances to "bump" are very small then you add corresponding @Call to meet that person. The same for your NAs that didn't move last week - you can add some corresponding NA to move them. Can you do that?

      I can give you more ideas if you give me some example of your @school context and why it doesn't move on.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by simonp
        I currently have @home, @office, @call, @computer, @school, etc. set up on my Palm. However, I have the option most days of working from home, or going to the office, or taking the laptop to a coffee shop.... Unless I'm at 'office', how do I know that there is something at the office that needs doing. I may need to do something at the school but unless I go there, why would I check that context list?
        If you really 'need' to do it, it goes on the calendar, right? Your context @computer suggests that, like me, you have tasks that can be done either at home or at work, or maybe other places, so you don't have to worry about that one too much; it's like @call. Because I work at home a lot, I distinguish between @home and @homeoffice: I don't dust the cat or whatever when I'm working at home. I have @work for things that can only be done at work and @homeoffice for things that can only be done in my home office. Looking at my calendar plus the two contexts @work and @homeoffice determines whether and when I go in to work. When I'm at work, I generally look at my @work list first to see if I can do things that can only be done there. Not everyone has the luxury I have of working very flexibly, but I have a responsibility to manage that freedom, and that means looking at my @work and @homeoffice lists pretty much every day.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks to everyone thatís replied; your ideas have been helpful.

          I guess it comes down to flexibility in thinking. Checking the Ďworkí related lists (@homeoffice, @office, @call, etc) each day seems similar to having one big list of work items (this is probably where we all started) and picking a few to do, but by having an @office list I can tick off a few more items when I go to the office to do the one thing that must be done today.

          Similarly, putting items on the calendar. I seem to remember the book saying that only put things onto the hard landscape if they must be done that day, not if it could be done sometime over the next three days. But Ďadapt and surviveí as the saying goes.

          Borisoff wrote: ďÖ this NA goes to your @Agenda. That's passive context ÖĒ
          The point (and solution) is a good one but arenít all contexts passive? I thought that the idea was that when Iím at work I look at my @work list, when Iím next to a phone I look at my @call list, etc. I.e. Iím at/in a context so I look at the corresponding list. The suggestions here imply the N.A. list comes first and so determines the context that I place myself.

          The situation I want to avoid, for example, is: Thereís new software to update a computer at school. It doesnít need to be done on a particular day so doesnít go on the calendar but it should be done sometime this week in case more pupils sign up for the course. If I donít go to the school for some other task, I have no reason to look at the @school list so the update doesnít happen and itís only at the weekly review I see that Iíve screwed up. Is this how others interpret the book (context determines list) or have I missed something (entirely probable )?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by simonp
            The situation I want to avoid, for example, is: Thereís new software to update a computer at school. It doesnít need to be done on a particular day so doesnít go on the calendar but it should be done sometime this week in case more pupils sign up for the course. If I donít go to the school for some other task, I have no reason to look at the @school list so the update doesnít happen and itís only at the weekly review I see that Iíve screwed up. Is this how others interpret the book (context determines list) or have I missed something (entirely probable )?
            That's where Weekly Review helps. You have a project "School: update computers software". When you see it what is the next action to do? The rest is dependent on your contexts structure. First, I'd put it on the Calendar for Friday as the last day to do (or Thirsday if you need a day to attract new pupils) and after that there's no need to update the software. Then I would add it to @Car context "Update software at school computers" as I use my car to travel or I could put it on my @Call list "agree the time when I can come and update the software with mr.X" and then put the meeting on the calendar.

            What contexts do you find you in regulary?

            Regards,

            Eugene.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Borisoff
              What contexts do you find you in regulary?
              Thanks Eugene.

              I always have a mobile phone on me. The laptop usually travels with me during the day, except at the weekend or during lunch. I visit the schools (two) where our tuition programme operates - this varies from having to go for some particular reason to going just to see how things are (once a week). There is an office where I hot desk. I have to come here for meetings with the marketing people, CEO, etc. on an irregular basis. I also like to pop in every few days so that the people that pay me know I'm still alive I spend a lot of time emailing, on the phone, planning. I have the freedom to work at home though it's nice to go out and see some other human beings occasionally , which I may do at a coffee shop (or the office).

              I think I may be over complicating the amount of NA lists (and when to use them) and how/where to store project support material. Does anyone else suffer from this?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by simonp
                Borisoff wrote: “… this NA goes to your @Agenda. That's passive context …”
                The point (and solution) is a good one but aren’t all contexts passive? I thought that the idea was that when I’m at work I look at my @work list, when I’m next to a phone I look at my @call list, etc. I.e. I’m at/in a context so I look at the corresponding list. The suggestions here imply the N.A. list comes first and so determines the context that I place myself.
                In reality, life is a little bit of both. If you're stuck in an airport or a doctor's office, you're in a very restricted context that seriously limits what you can do. But it sounds like your job is at the other extreme, with nearly complete flexibility. In that case, it might make sense to use some other filter, like priority, to choose the actions you need to do, and therefore the context you need to be in.

                Katherine

                Comment


                • #9
                  I know I had gotten the impression that on a regular (at least daily) basis you would scan all your context lists - and then look at them "as much time as I need to feel comfortable about what I'm doing." I can find the "as much time" reference (page 182) but I can't find the "daily review". There is a reference to looking at all the lists you could possibly do in your given context (page 183). Now I'm wondering if the "Daily review" or looking at all your lists on a regular basis came out of an early discussion on this board. Certainly that's a way to make sure that you're not ignoring a context with a critical action item on it.

                  The four criteria model for choosing actions in the moment, page 192, has Context, time available, energy available, and priority. Under priority is this question: "Out of all my remaining options, what is the most important thing for me to do?" To me, you would have to be aware of all your action items to make this decision.
                  Last edited by webrover; 09-15-2006, 06:34 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by simonp
                    I always have a mobile phone on me. The laptop usually travels with me during the day, except at the weekend or during lunch. I visit the schools (two) where our tuition programme operates - this varies from having to go for some particular reason to going just to see how things are (once a week). There is an office where I hot desk. I have to come here for meetings with the marketing people, CEO, etc. on an irregular basis. I also like to pop in every few days so that the people that pay me know I'm still alive I spend a lot of time emailing, on the phone, planning. I have the freedom to work at home though it's nice to go out and see some other human beings occasionally , which I may do at a coffee shop (or the office).

                    I think I may be over complicating the amount of NA lists (and when to use them) and how/where to store project support material. Does anyone else suffer from this?
                    I suggest you to play with the following easy contexts:

                    @Phone - l think you can possibly look here when you travel between your locations;

                    @Laptop - You can use it from time to time when you can open it and boot it up But here you can also put all your home and work computer-related activities like emails etc;

                    @School - here you can put all your school-oriented activities. If you visit your schools on a regular basis then there's no need to "activate" this context by any calls; But if there's something you'd like to speed up it's better put it into @Phone context ie set up a meeting with mr. Zed at school; I think it doesn't worth to split the @School context into @Desk and @Server or what ever - they are two steps from each other I believe

                    @Agenda or @Meetings to schedule - here you can put everything that comes to you mind that you'd like to discuss with CEO, marketing people or whomever. Get in the habit of checking this context when you meet anyone you have aby relations with

                    @Home - household and other activities you can do only at home or at home office;

                    @Office - any activities you can do only at office office. Probably you don't need that as I didn't got if you have only home office or office office as well.

                    @Errands - that anything you can do outside of home, office and school.

                    @Waiting - that's my favorite It has enormous amount of lines as I do a lot and other people procrastinate

                    If you have any questions please let me know.

                    Regards,

                    Eugene.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by simonp
                      I think I may be over complicating the amount of NA lists (and when to use them) and how/where to store project support material. Does anyone else suffer from this?
                      The easiest way to understand what contexts you need just to delete any of them Then you'll feel if you need @Phone context or not Try to play with that. And I carry all project support materials with me always, I'm executive so they are not huge Project Planning sheets

                      E.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by simonp
                        The situation I want to avoid, for example, is: Thereís new software to update a computer at school. It doesnít need to be done on a particular day so doesnít go on the calendar but it should be done sometime this week in case more pupils sign up for the course. If I donít go to the school for some other task, I have no reason to look at the @school list so the update doesnít happen and itís only at the weekly review I see that Iíve screwed up. Is this how others interpret the book (context determines list) or have I missed something (entirely probable )?
                        Assuming that the decision to do the update this week is affirmative, it is hard landscape, just not narrowed to a specific hour and date. I would make this an untimed calendar entry repeating daily during that week with a reference to the course's start date or the last date the update can be made.

                        Comment

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