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  • Multiple contexts...

    Hi all, how do you organize items that could fall under more than one context? There are certain NA's that I could do either at home OR at work, for example. The project files travel with me between both contexts, so I need to be at either/or to do them. Which list would these go on? I don't think that @Anywhere would be appropriate, because I can't do them while in the car for example. I MUST have my work bag with me. Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Jim

  • #2
    I usually try to figure out what is the real context. Contexts don't have to be physical.

    In this case, the context is obviously not location-based. Maybe the context is '@[Insert Software Product Here]', or '@Thinking Cap' (for brainstorming, etc). Figure out what your surroundings really need to be (not necessarily just your physical surroundings) in order to execute that action and create a context list for it.

    Failing that, just put it in both contexts -- no harm in having something duplicated.

    Worst case, @Anywhere may be appropriate. There's always some level of filtering ("no, don't want to do that one now") that goes on when you look at a context list. When you're in the car, just skip that one (for that matter, skip MOST of them - you should be focused on driving -- unless someone else is driving, in which case maybe you COULD do that next action in the car).
    Last edited by jknecht; 05-18-2007, 02:47 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jkgrossi View Post
      I MUST have my work bag with me. Any ideas?
      One other thought... Is this true? Do really need to have your work bag with you? If so, then the context might be "@Work Bag".

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      • #4
        Usually those that you mention fall under @computer for me.

        My computer list includes any that I can do in a computer no matter if I am in a Hotel or at home or the office.

        If it need to be in the computer, but I prefer to do it at home then goes into my at home list, same with if I prefer to do it at work.

        hope this helps

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        • #5
          For me, the types of tasks you're describing usually fall into an R/W/B (reading / writing / brainstorming) context. These can be done wherever I have the requisite support materials (books, articles, project reference, etc).

          I suppose I could also call this an "anywhere" or "thinking" or "paperwork" context. I like having this particular context list because I can scan it before I leave the office or house to see what support materials I need to bring with me. (This is an invaluable benefit - the transitional context helps me see what materials need to be in transit, so to speak.)

          In short, rather than putting items in two contexts (which just makes your system that much more difficult to manage), I would strongly recommend creating a context that can be done in both places (office or home). Overlapping contexts tend to muddle the inherent clarity and calm of the GTD system.
          Last edited by madalu; 05-18-2007, 09:51 PM.

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          • #6
            I blew away my @Anywhere list, now identifying next actions by the specific tool supporting required instead: @Treo, @Notebook and @Reader.

            The @Treo list contains actions aside from calls, usually PDA oriented. The @Notebook is for actions involving one of the two small notebooks in my back pocket: a standard hardcover Moleskine for proper writing, and a thin softcover Cahiers notebook for checklists, flowscapes, mindmaps and other stream-of-consciousness compost. The @Reader is for the Sony Reader with all of the books, documents and spoken word podcasts I'll read or listen to at some point.

            It's been easier to manage three short lists than one long one.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gameboy70 View Post
              I blew away my @Anywhere list, now identifying next actions by the specific tool supporting required instead: @Treo, @Notebook and @Reader.

              The @Treo list contains actions aside from calls, usually PDA oriented. The @Notebook is for actions involving one of the two small notebooks in my back pocket: a standard hardcover Moleskine for proper writing, and a thin softcover Cahiers notebook for checklists, flowscapes, mindmaps and other stream-of-consciousness compost. The @Reader is for the Sony Reader with all of the books, documents and spoken word podcasts I'll read or listen to at some point.

              It's been easier to manage three short lists than one long one.
              Interesting solution Gameboy70. Is everything you have to read on your Sony reader? I was wondering what you do when you have to read a physical book or set of papers or folders with reference material. In general my "thinking" or "reading" tasks involve a wide variety of tools and/or paperwork (books, photocopies, drafts on legal pads, notebooks) -- in other words, too many to divide up into separate context lists. Thus a single reading/writing/brainstorming list allows me to see which tools I need to bring with me on any given day.

              I applaud (and envy) you for your minimalist tool set!
              Last edited by madalu; 05-19-2007, 07:46 AM.

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              • #8
                Is everything you have to read on your Sony reader? I was wondering what you do when you have to read a physical book or set of papers or folders with reference material. I was wondering what you do when you have to read a physical book or set of papers or folders with reference material.
                All of my current reading is in the Reader if it takes more than a few minutes to read. For short articles I come across on the web I usually just read them on the spot. For text requiring longer or more focused reading I transfer it to the Reader in one of several ways (unfortunately, the device lacks native HTML support, so I have to resort to workarounds). HTML pages with richer formatting can be preserved through a number of tools, but I tend to use the Toolbar for Librie add-on for IE that Sony released for their previous reader, the Librie. I had to memorize the funtionality of the buttons, since the interface is in Japanese, but I haven't seen better conversion results from other tools to date. And anything that would force me to open up IE has to be pretty good.

                If the article is pure text, I'll highlight it, copy and paste it into Wordpad, save it as an RTF -- which is supported -- then transfer. The Reader's putative PDF support does a miserable job of rendering fonts rescaled from letter size documents, so I have to run PDFs through a program called RasterFarian that converts them to the device's native LRF format.

                Since the books I read tend not to fit into what Sony offers on their Connect ebook service (usually Oprah/NYT Bestseller material), I scan paper books into the Reader with an OpticBook 3600 book scanner. A 300-page book takes about an hour to scan, and I generally find it worth the time and effort. The OpticBook makes it dead easy to scan papers in, even more so than standard flatbed scanners. So basically I have everything in the Reader, except for what's in my home general reference files or anything not relevant for ubiquitous retreival.

                Unfortunately the Sony doesn't support standard folder-file hierarchies, nor native drag and drop through Windows Explorer. Windows doesn't see it the volume mounted, so all transfers have to be done through Sony's Connect file management software. You can, however, organize books and papers into "Collections," which are essentially folders, but you can't create subfolders. You can drag and drop files directly to a Memory Stick or SD Card, but the Reader only supports Collections in RAM. I use card transfers for ad hoc material like driving directions from Google Maps.

                In general my "thinking" or "reading" tasks involve a wide variety of tools and/or paperwork (books, photocopies, drafts on legal pads, notebooks) -- in other words, too many to divide up into separate context lists. Thus a single reading/writing/brainstorming list allows me to see which tools I need to bring with me on any given day.
                Honestly, I'd prefer to work directly with all those media, especially a full size notebooks and legal pads. But the overhead of all the context switching invovled, and the benefits of consolidating my toolset, were too large to ignore. Lately, I've been doing most of my commuting by train, so carrying a laptop and books was inconvenient.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gameboy70 View Post
                  Since the books I read tend not to fit into what Sony offers on their Connect ebook service (usually Oprah/NYT Bestseller material), I scan paper books into the Reader with an OpticBook 3600 book scanner. A 300-page book takes about an hour to scan, and I generally find it worth the time and effort. The OpticBook makes it dead easy to scan papers in, even more so than standard flatbed scanners. So basically I have everything in the Reader, except for what's in my home general reference files or anything not relevant for ubiquitous retreival.
                  Cool! Thanks for the response.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the replies everyone. I guess the more I think about it, I could probably do these NA,s anywhere so long as I bring the requsite support material with me. The @work or @home contexts are just the most convienient places to do them. Perhaps the prudent way to handle this is, any of these NA's that aren't work-related go on the @home list and vice-versa...

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                    • #11
                      I have the following contexts, after using just one context for a couple of weeks to get started

                      - Work is a mix of things that have to be done at a computer, done at a phone, or done with reference material. I am leery of splitting this into three different contexts anytime soon.
                      - Home is a mix of things that have to be done physically at home (more some paper towels from the garage to the upstairs storage unit) as well as more open-ended items which can be done whenever I'm bored (brainstorm a list of 40 places where I could potentially buy a second home)
                      - Home - Computer is a mix of actions which require broadband and actions which require access to my physical home computer.
                      - Reinvention is a set of actions with a specific focus on a single particular goal. One of my problems in the last couple of weeks is that I have not had the timeframe and the energy to do any of these NAs at the same minute but then again I spent all day yesterday at the Roadmap so I guess that counts!
                      - Errands are self-explanatory, and I mark the ones which can be done when I'm out of town with a star in the margin

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