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The @computer context: how do you break it up?

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  • The @computer context: how do you break it up?

    I know that lots of other people also find that their @computer context can get quite big and unwieldy. Here are my distinctions or sub-contexts for this, to help break up the list:

    @online (self explanatory)
    @offline " "
    @web research (all the googling/browser based searching around tasks)
    @encrypted login (I use a separate login for all financial stuff, so this context means that I can do all those tasks when I switch logins)

    I'd love to hear how others break @computer up into smaller contexts.

  • #2
    Originally posted by JakeInBrighton View Post
    I'd love to hear how others break @computer up into smaller contexts.
    Right now I have a bunch of @computer contexts due to a lot of things going on. I tend to break them up by application where possible.

    I have a category for @Computer Mac and within that my separate contexts are
    @ misc Mac
    @Android Programming
    @Silhouette Cutter
    Then I have @Computer MacBook, @Computer iPad, @Computer iPhone, @Computer Grassroots and then another larger category @Computer Internet with sub categories of
    For me switching applications is my biggest time waster so I try to do everything in one app before I switch.


    • #3
      I've played with breaking @computer up, but I've found it to be artificial, with too many choices. My major contexts are study (home office), work, home and out.


      • #4
        I agree that breaking up a context can be viewed as superficial.

        But I think it can be worth trying to do it anyway to see what results you're getting out of it.

        I have broken up my previous @computer context into:



        @connected to macmini (screensharing or remote access)
        @b ipad (my son's iPad)


        This has enabled me to think a bit more specifically about how and where I would work on something. The edges between the contexts makes me think differently than just to put an item into a computer context. It forces me to make a decision about what the best place would actually be to do a certain task. That wasn't really the case when I had the computer context. I would just dump stuff there, and they wouldn't get done. I think I get more inspiration about doing the tasks when the computer context has been broken up (down?).


        • #5
          I'm currently on:

          - Write
          - - Outline
          - - 1st Draft
          - - 2nd Draft
          - - 3rd Draft

          - Listen

          - Watch

          - OSX
          - - Mac Pro
          - - MacBook Pro
          - - Server

          - Windows

          - iOS
          - - iPad
          - - iPhone

          - Software
          - - Filing
          - - Processing Retouching Photoshop Lightroom
          - - Testing Lightroom
          - - Mindmaps Diagrams
          - - Word Excel iBank
          - - Quickbooks
          - - InDesign Scrivener
          - - Website Management

          - Surfing
          - - Forums
          - - Google Research
          - - Shop Online
          - - Downloads

          It sounds like a lot, but I live on computers, and OmniFocus allows me to see the whole lot in one go or split down into any combination.

          The logic is fairly simple - it's broken down by specific machine, where a particular machine is needed, or by mindset where it could be done on any machine with suitable software. Actions quite often end up in a parent context (i.e. OSX) if they don't need to be quite so specific.


          • #6
            Thanks so much for all the feedback. Lots of food for thought!


            • #7
              Breaking down the @computer context by device doesn't sound artificial to me. IMHO it's exactly what DA meant when he suggested @computer in an era when dial-up modems where the most used way to access the internet. Also, if you need a specific device to do a certain task, that's exactly what a context is.

              However, if the real context is @computer (and not @ipod etc) then it is just that and breaking it further is just breaking it, sorry, but a context is a reality in your life, if it is.

              So, if you find yourself to be without help against a very long @computer list and sub-dividing it doesn't help any, then why not use the rest of the plain vanilla GTD system to the rescue?

              Following the rules for processing and organizing strictly, you will end up with a @computer list, which you could just work off one task after another. Regardless of length, just do the first @computer task and then the next and so on. Yes, but..

              I understand. I am in the same boat as you, trying to make GTD work for me, because DA's kool-aid with the mind like water tastes so good. So, how do we deal with all those "Yes, buts"?

              Mhm, let's take a look at them...

              Over here, we have 5 @computer "Yes, buts" that need to be dealt with this week or actually better yet today and tomorrow.

              Okay, take a look at the calendar, do we have enough time for that?

              Nope, I am overcommitted, but I am willing to choose rage from wife over rage from boss and work longer hours tonight and tomorrow night.

              Allright then, what about scheduling those 5 for tonight then?

              I can't schdule my whole @computer list!!

              I know, I know, just those 5, okay?

              What other "Yes, buts" do we have on the @computer list? What about those 10 projects over there you wanted to get "creative" with? What about them? Maybe we can decide on 1-4 for starters instead? Or we make them all one project and work them one at a time? BTW, are you happy with your Someday / Maybe regime or is it just the @computer list?

              What else? These 2 tasks over there, your are nervous about them, why?

              I want to do them soon!

              Why didn't you do them then?

              Ah, it's complicated, it's better to do them when Elaine is away from here in a meeting while at the same time I have the time AND energy...

              Put them in the Tickler file and re-tickle them everyday until you had the opportunity to accomplish them.

              What's a Tickler file?

              What's a @computer list that is too long?

              It's a pile of halfway processed inbox items.

              But I am a geek by passion and profession.

              Me too, however, we too have only approximately 24 hours a day.

              Beware the subtleties of the Tickler.


              • #8
                Mine has ended up as @computer - for most items; longer more complex items that need more concentrated effort are moved to @quiet(c) so I know I can only address these when office is emptier or when I know there are less interruptions agead of me; and finally @computer* which means really quick or almost mindless - like printing documents, scheduling appointments, setting up meetings, out of office assistant or very short replies that I couldn't do immediately when processing tasks.

                This is an interesting thread though - helping me to re-examine which ways might be better as my approach kind of evolved but I've not evaluated it really. Seems to work most if the time but sometimes putting things on the @quiet list makes that list grow out of all proportion!