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I'm not very familiar with this whole Getting Things Done thing, but I believe this is where context and lists are very important. I was wondering what the difference between the two were. It seems to me they're exactly the same. I could say, make a list for "Work," or make a context for "@Work", but the substance of the two would be identical. The only difference would be an "@" sign.

Could someone clarify this for me? Otherwise, it just seems like a lot of bologna to me.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

A context is a place or resource. For example "@atDesk" or "@onPhone". I wouldn't use @Work as a list because I find it to be too general. I also have contexts for people i need to talk to like @fred.

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Evomend has an article you may wish to read,

I don't agree with a lot of it because it's based on a task only having one context.

I implement my version of GTD in Evernote, with contexts being tags, so a task can have multiple contexts.

Contexts to me are anything I require to do the current task. I add as many or as few as I feel are important.

So contexts could be:

  • A place, such as @Sydney, @Driving
  • A resource, such as @Supermarket or @Internet
  • A state of mind, such as @Focused or @Scatteredbrained
  • An appropriate amount of time available, such as @1hour, @nointerruptions

Rewriting a complex algorithm might be tagged with @Office, @Focused and @4hours

Many GTD software titles I've played with tend to separate all these into different labels, such as "Energy Level" or "Time Available". I find such systems con me into overclassifying, just because the capability is there.

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Yes, I totally agree. Sometimes I don't know if it's a feature I need that will make me more efficient or if it only appears to make me more efficient, when in fact I'm taking more time sorting everything. I do have one question about your system though, aren't they just tags then? As in #Sydney or #1hr? – user4610 Jan 7 '13 at 7:15
Yes, they are just tags. Statuses also are tags ('!Next', '!Someday'...), projects are tags ('^Renovate Bathroom', '^Do Will',... Evernote has a nice "Saved Searches" feature, allowing a one-click tag search of things like brain-dead activities at home, thence upon I'd glance down the list at the tags to pick something appropriate to my time available, etc. – jontyc Jan 7 '13 at 8:30

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