Impact/Effort contexts/tags


I have been considering implementing impact (small, big) and effort (easy, hard) contexts/tags into my system and was wondering if anyone has had any experience and success doing that. I use Things 3 and my thinking in addition to the traditional contexts, was to filter tasks so that I could appropriately focus on things that would move the needle in my life both personally and professionally. Thanks in advance for any insights or feedback!



I am not a big fan of making your @context lists more complicated. Sure, modern software makes it fairly easy, but it is still administrative overhead that has to pay off somewhere. My suspicion is, the way modern software is build, it creates a desire for ornamenting your lists.

But I also don't get how people think it is appropriate to have a very important project going on, and _all_ you do to organise that would be a single NA reminder on some @office context. People who don't do GTD would never do that!

Let's get real. Per definition, work that is supposed to have "an impact" will take more than an NA that you may get around to do this week, somewhen, this week, maybe tomorrow, or so.

GTD provides the natural planning model and in it the question "How does success look like?" and the notion of principles and standards to work by.

"I make 20 prospecting phone calls for this project per day and I'll do them before noon" – could be a good routine for a sales project. All things considered. As an example.

How would working that impactful project really look like?


I have found that labeling tasks or projects as “high-effort” leads to procrastination. It is much better for me to make next actions look small and easy. Labelling something as “low-impact” is not good either, as it also leads to avoidance of actions I have to take. Similarly, too much structure to the day is bad for me. If I tell myself that late morning is the best time for certain kinds of tasks, then that is the only time I will do them. I do plan most days a little bit, but I try not to over-think and over-structure. I also use Things, but I have found too much tagging causes friction.


I've bene finding that too many tags just makes adding new items hard and complicated. If stuff isn't that important then the better way to handle it is to figure out how to delegate it or quit doing it altogether or reduce the time and effort needed to do it by making approprate checklists and optimizing the work.

I'm closer to @mcogilvie in that if I think things are high effort I will tend to procrastinate and if I try to structure my day when life and sheep inevitably destroy my plan I get frustrated. So I rarely do much of that sort of planning at all.

That said, if it works for you great.