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Sub-contexts for @work?

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  • Sub-contexts for @work?

    Most of my GTD lists hum right along, but one area where I could use the most improvement is @work. I'm trying to come up with a good solution for subdividing this list. It gets a little longer than I would like, which makes me reluctant to add items to it.

    I am a web developer. I work in a cube about 10 feet from all of my colleagues and 20 feet from my manager. My phone rings about twice a month, and one of those is a wrong number. Virtually everything I do is on the computer, or if it's a face-to-face thing, my team members are readily accessible to me. Agendas and contexts don't help very much here.

    I've thought about breaking the @work list up by applications that I use regularly, but this would honestly be more trouble that it's worth. Firing up my development software or remoting in to a server takes 30 seconds at most, which is minimal compared to the effort required to switch gears and tackle a task on another project that uses the same program. I never make phone calls. I've had an @email list in the past, but I spend so much time in email that it's more effective to use @Action/@Waiting For folders in Outlook.

    Which leaves me with a longish @work list. Lately I've found myself going through this list and picking out a few items that I hope to do today. It's not a daily to-do list--more of a light prioritization.

    Any suggestions for an elegant method to break this list up?

    Thanks,
    Josh

  • #2
    How about by energy level or brain power needed?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by malisa View Post
      How about by energy level or brain power needed?
      That's a good suggestion. Extending that, I could also use time available...

      Comment


      • #4
        Bonus for using time-available contexts

        Time available contexts does seem like it could be a good idea for you.

        The bonus to creating and using this kind of context is that you must have actually put some up-front thought into each next action in order to know how long you expect each one to take you. And this is a very good thing.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by joshearl928 View Post
          Which leaves me with a longish @work list. Lately I've found myself going through this list and picking out a few items that I hope to do today.
          That's pretty much how Next Action lists work, regardless of their length. You go through the list, you pick something you hope to do, and then you do it. Rinse, repeat.


          Cheers,
          Roger

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          • #6
            i have the same problem as you and i think i will also try the time available context.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi,

              I'm working as a software engineer and am facing the same problem, especially since I work on several projects with numerous different technologies.

              What I've done is defining a hierarchical division of my projects. For example:
              • Work -> MyCompany -> MyProject1
              • Work -> Software -> Eclipse
              • Work -> School -> DutchTraining

              This may be inappropriate for some, but it works for me (until I find something better ). What is important here is to separate professional from personal and transversal projects (that is, projects which are not tied to a particular personal or proffesional project, such as learning a software or programming language).

              Hope this helps...

              Benjamin

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              • #8
                Someday/Maybe

                I had the same problem until I was honest with myself about how much I can really have on my plate at one time. My someday/maybe list is now the long one, which is OK with me. Easy to pull from that list during my weekly review to load up my @work when I have been productive.

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                • #9
                  I would say that you should only use subgroups if you need some more categorizing types. Using to many categories/tags can be overwhelming and decrease your organization of your tasks and increase the mental work that your brain needs to do to be able to know what task to perform.

                  So, choose your subgroups carefully. Just use them if you really need them.

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                  • #10
                    I don't know if this is helpful, but this is how I organize and delegate things. Please note, I am totally new to GTD and have added my own flavor to things

                    Project 'X' - i usually reserve a project for a collection of tasks that will take several hours or days to accomplish
                    Action Items
                    Me: the stuff i need to do
                    Teammate1: the stuff they need to do
                    Teammate2: the stuff i don't want to do and they can do

                    Focus Items
                    Me: get it done first and foremost
                    Teammate2: stuff they need to do yesterday

                    FutureThink Items
                    Me: yeah, that would be cool to do, but not now
                    Teammate: stuff they can do at some point, but just not now

                    I use OmniFocus, so I set up a Perspective view that just shows me the following:

                    Perspective:
                    Action Items
                    Focus Items

                    I then go thru my tasks and check things off as I go. I don't worry so much about the software i'll need to accomplish a task since it's an inherent part of the process. I just focus on Action & Focus Items, and whether I need to do them or Delegate them to a Teammate.

                    Hope this helps,
                    -policarpo

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by High View Post
                      I would say that you should only use subgroups if you need some more categorizing types. Using to many categories/tags can be overwhelming and decrease your organization of your tasks and increase the mental work that your brain needs to do to be able to know what task to perform.

                      So, choose your subgroups carefully. Just use them if you really need them.
                      how true. many new to GTD will suffer the same thing.

                      I think GTD have change the way my brain works but the fallacy of using certain tools like how i use my iPod Touch is that entering alot of information is just not productive lol.

                      So i tend to only areas of focus/responsibilities as main projects



                      and anything else will be a sub project. I dun make them to deep hierarchy.

                      IMO if i have too much area of focus i'm really finding it difficult to close them.

                      So only 2 levels. then again hmm, why are we talking about projects when i thought we are on sub contexts =)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by humblepie View Post
                        how true. many new to GTD will suffer the same thing.

                        I think GTD have change the way my brain works but the fallacy of using certain tools like how i use my iPod Touch is that entering alot of information is just not productive lol.

                        So i tend to only areas of focus/responsibilities as main projects



                        and anything else will be a sub project. I dun make them to deep hierarchy.

                        IMO if i have too much area of focus i'm really finding it difficult to close them.

                        So only 2 levels. then again hmm, why are we talking about projects when i thought we are on sub contexts =)
                        Nice mind map, but some of your comments raised some flags when I read them.

                        You do have some areas of focus items in this map, but some are projects and some are 30,000 ft goals. You also mentioned that you have difficulty closing some areas of focus; those are never marked as done. 20,000 ft areas of focus are roles and aspects of your life that you need to monitor and maintain regularly. It's very important not to mislabel things or misuse terminology; many a system has fallen apart by misuse.

                        Suggested revisions:
                        • I would change "To be good at what I do at work" to "Career". Your career is an area of focus.
                        • I would change "Fulfill my commitment to friends and family" to two focus areas: "Family" and "Friends". Or, you could make one focus area, "Relationships" and list "Family" and "Friends" as child branches.
                        • I would put "Proj A" on your Projects list and manage it as a project. It is not an area of focus. If "Proj A" is a multi-year project, it might be a long-term goal. Intermediate outcomes that can be achieved in less than one year would be a project.
                        • You have two other "nodes" related to an area of focus called "Finances". Put that on your map.
                        • "Brush up on money management" could generate numerous projects such as "Set up a family budget" or "R&D money management books" or "Implement expense tracking system".
                        • "Brush up on trading" might generate projects such as "Set up/implement securities trading routine/program/habit". "Earn $20,000 in one year through trading" would be a longer-term goal.
                        • "R&D alternative income streams" would go on your "Projects" list.

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