One aspect of my OmniFocus setup that is constantly evolving are Contexts. They change because the way we work changes, often because technology evolves and allows for different work patterns and workflows. After my Fresh Take On Contexts I got along well with my more energy based contexts for a long time. Lately, however, it felt like even those are more blending into each other rather than providing a clear demarkation.
Radically Simplifying Contexts
- Big rock climbing - also known as 'Most Important Tasks'
- Jogging - Medium energy & time tasks
- Dashing - Quick and simple
- Locations - well, places, you know
A New Next Actions Perspective
I am half-way through a change as well and while I still keep pretty much the contexts I cover in my original Fresh Take On Context post, I made them less relevant when actually 'doing stuff'. My most used OmniFocus Perspective is the 'Next Actions' one which I am looking at most of my day. I recently changed it from grouping by 'Contexts' to group by 'Flagged' (Status). As a consequence I no longer look for what to do next based on one of my (many) contexts, but whether I have flagged it (important) or not.
While I keep location contexts unselected in this Perspective, I have recognised that the differentiation by tools, energy or time really does not add to much value anymore, at least at the moment. Using start dates and flags I try to keep the list of Next Actions as small as possible and with only about 15-20 tasks on the list a quick scan is enough for me to judge for which I have the time & attention levels required.
My 'Next Actions' Perspective has the following settings:
- Context Filter: Remaining (select only relevant Contexts)
- Grouping: Flagged (show me the important or aspirational tasks of the day first=
- Sorting: Due (adds another dimension to the list)
- Availability Filter: Next Action
- Status Filter: Any Status
- Estimated Time Filter: Any Duration
As a next step I might change the 'Context' column in above perspective to show 'Project' instead and eventually I may reduce the number of Contexts I use even further.
While this is certainly tweaking for incremental improvements, I believe we should make sure our productivity setup keeps up with how our thinking and working patterns change or evolve over time. Looking at the Contexts you use is likely the single best place to start.