How do you manage contexts when everything is to be done on a computer?

Stefan Godo

GTD Connect
So much on coincidences.
I just made a note to myself to write a post about contexts this Monday. Obviously, thinking is now almost unnecessary, given the excellent and deep thoughts here. Thanks to all!

Maybe a systematic wrap-up:
context = (set of) regularly happening limiting or enabling condition(s) necessary for a given action to be possible/effective
context types:
1. physical (just the ones we are teaching in our courses - place/person/tool/system)
virtual:
2. mental (energy / mindset (creative/maintenance/admin/learning...))
not listed
3. emotional (good mood, sad....) - for some people even this is relevant.

obviously, elaborate combinations can be created (If I am a gardener, a too long "in the garden" list might not make sense, I need to subdivide it by weather conditions...).

So one needs to find which limiting/enabling conditions are relevant for him/her - at a given time. As Dave Edwards said above - significant life changes require context adjustment/finetuning.

Have a beautiful day!
 

pgarth

Registered
One thought, which appears to work for me, is to expand the context with a relative area of focus. In this case you're combining the runway (Next Action) with a 20K area of focus. I still have the context (@Computer), but I'm tagging each item associated with an area of focus from 20K.

I can either click on @Computer and scan down to the (sorted by) tags - and focus on an area of focus which I know needs to be done at the computer, or...

I can click on the tag (which is an area of focus) and scan down to see which items i need to do at the computer.
 

Gardener

Registered
In my personal system, each of the following contexts exist, and tasks in these contexts will often be done on the computer or using the computer, but I don't think of them as "Computer".

Home
Home Tasks
Meta
Paperwork
Shopping
Writing
 

Stefan Godo

GTD Connect
One thought, which appears to work for me, is to expand the context with a relative area of focus. In this case you're combining the runway (Next Action) with a 20K area of focus. I still have the context (@Computer), but I'm tagging each item associated with an area of focus from 20K.

I can either click on @Computer and scan down to the (sorted by) tags - and focus on an area of focus which I know needs to be done at the computer, or...

I can click on the tag (which is an area of focus) and scan down to see which items i need to do at the computer.
yes, attaching actually ANY higher horizon (to which this action is contributing) as tag can be useful for some. Projects are the most frequently used - when working on a project requires "setting my mind to work on a specific project". I call these "virtual contexts" as opposed to the physical ones we teach in our courses (place/person/tool)
 

pgarth

Registered
One thought, which appears to work for me, is to expand the context with a relative area of focus. In this case you're combining the runway (Next Action) with a 20K area of focus. I still have the context (@Computer), but I'm tagging each item associated with an area of focus from 20K.

I can either click on @Computer and scan down to the (sorted by) tags - and focus on an area of focus which I know needs to be done at the computer, or...

I can click on the tag (which is an area of focus) and scan down to see which items i need to do at the computer.
Expanding on my own thinking here, which happens after posting in GTD forums....

In my past life as an IT Director, and now as Social Worker, if I really think about it I could come up with multiple "roles" within areas of focus and responsibility.

Typically, resistance (for me) occurs because it takes a while to get everything setup in order to do work -- multiple spreadsheets open, various databases, handwritten notes, online systems (that freakin' timeout), etc.

In IT Director mode, remembering back to IBM Domino, I would go in to my systems with a specific area of focus, for example, adding a new user (@Computer-Users). Then, when that task was done, I would opportunistically flip my area of focus to "security" (@Computer-Security) and notice that I had an action to review expirations of notes id's. Point being is that the physical context stayed the same (@Computer), but my intention of focus shifted while still working in batches. I tried to make it fun by thinking of all the angles I could work at while all my support systems were still open.

As a Social Worker Case Manager, this really works well, as "human" systems can occur at Micro, Mezzo and Macro levels. For me, when I've cleared out all the "one-on-one" items then the community-related ideas for actions start appearing intuitively. This happened during early days of Covid vaccinations. Focusing first on one-on-one conversations/scheduling led to a community awareness of a need, which led to a macro advocacy to the county to improve online scheduling features.

What I love about GTD is I can create an appropriate amount of contexts that make sense for my ability to pivot between AOF perspectives, while working in an oftentimes online world that happens to timeout.
 

Cpu_Modern

Registered
I handle contexts the classic way and, yes, I do have that one long list with all that work to be done at the computer.

Alas, over the years that one computer also changed. It has become multiple computers, some more capable than others…

What works for me is to work the list. Haha, but that's the truth of the matter. If I work in a focused manner over hours, I just get a lot of things done.

By working from the list I also update my brain what else is there on the list. The more I work, the better I become at picking things from the list.

If I catch myself thinking "don't forget X" what I usually do is to add a reasonable remark to my calendar. Something like "have we worked on X yet?" on a thursday morning can do wonders ;-)

What about project Y the most important mission critical that will help us to conquer Albania?

Well, prior to GTD you wouldn't have thought that that project would be adequately organized with one meager todo item?

If I know that I'll want to work on project Y every day for at least two hours or so, in order to make friday's deadline, I will have that appear on the calendar, at least as an all-day reminder or something.

How many of these project Y projects are there anyway?

Shouldn't be too many.
 
Top