I thought it might be fun to explore another example of using contexts for those of you who’ve never used them or seen a benefit from them.

This is from my example of my “Fixing the bathroom” project in my previous post.

One of the tasks was to “restock the bathroom with supplies”.

So in the course of processing that list, I figure it’s a good idea to make a list of all the supplies I might possibly need. Let’s just mind-sweep this and get everything out.

  • toilet paper
  • soap
  • soap dish
  • extra toothpaste
  • deodorant
  • bath balls
  • kids soap
  • towels
  • plunger
  • kids toys
  • candles
  • shaver
  • shaving cream
  • face wash
  • contact lens solution
  • tooth brushes

There’s probably a bunch more, but this is enough for now.  So, I’ve made my mind sweep of all the things I might need for the bathroom.  However, we’re about 4 weeks out from having the bathroom ready to be stocked and used because we still need to clean it out, paint it, etc etc.  So should I wait to purchase these things?   Maybe, maybe not.  It all depends on my schedule, how busy I am, where I’m shopping, what my travel schedule looks like, etc.  It could be that I’m going to be heading to a shop where it might be really convenient to get this stuff while purchasing paint (for example) to paint the bathroom.  If I’m already there, I should pick up stuff that’s convenient, right?

But how do I know what’s convenient?  Should I keep this list with me at all times?  Probably not.  If I keep the list this way, every time I go to the store I’ll read through the entire list and re-process everything to see if there’s anything there that I need to buy.  What a waste of time!  Instead, let’s process this list by adding contexts!

  • toilet paper @supermarket
  • soap @supermarket
  • soap dish @Bed Bath and Beyond
  • extra toothpaste @supermarket
  • deodorant @supermarket
  • bath balls @Bed Bath and Beyond
  • kids soap @Babies R Us
  • towels @Wash
  • plunger @Home Depot
  • kids toys @Babies R Us
  • candles @Scent-amental
  • shaver @supermarket
  • shaving cream @supermarket
  • face wash @drug store
  • contact lens solution @drug store
  • tooth brushes @supermarket

The cool thing about this is that if I’m going to the supermarket, I can bring up a list of all my items that are tagged with @supermarket and pick them up right away.  Then I just store them until I’m ready to use them!   When I’m getting painting supplies at Home Depot, I see that I’ve got a plunger I need to buy.  So I get it then.  It simplifies my life because I’m able to create lists that are totally dependent on context.

It’s also possible to tag all these things with a context like @errand, so you can run over them quickly if you’re going to head out on some errands.  Then you can say “oh, I’ve got a bunch of things to pick up at Babies R Us and it’s on the way home.  I’ll head on past!”.  While you’re in the store, you check your @babies r us and grab everything you may need for any project you may be working on.

So friggin’ cool!

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7 Responses to Another Context Example

  1. really insightful…strangely I just read GTD a few weeks ago and am in the process of evolving a new organizational system.

    Out of curiousity, what software solutions have you found to be effective. I’ve been doing a combination of evernote with my database stored on a flash drive, paper, plus google notebook…

  2. jason says:

    That’s a tough one.. I’m trying to figure out my favorite solution right now, and it’s driving me batty!

    The problem I’m having is that I need something that runs on mac, linux, and iPhone. Something that’s fast and intuitive, secure, and fun to use.

    I keep finding tools I love, but they only work on Mac. Or they have an iPhone app and a mac app, but it would be 70 bucks to buy them both, and there is no linux app. The Web-based app I enjoy using the most (todoist) doesn’t have an iPhone app.

    The mac application I like the most doesn’t export it’s data at all (The Hit List).

    On Linux, the only thing I have to manage todos is Outlook 2003. Blech.

    I’ll do a post about it someday soon, but my big hope is that at the WWDC apple will announce something awesome, and a bunch of new GTD software will be released for the iPhone.


  3. Brad says:

    http://37signals.com/ lots of app choices depending on what you need.

    a few posts to useing 37signals, backpack for GTD..




    app for GTD inspired by 37sig guys.

    or you could look at

    http://www.tadalist.com/ also a 37sig product.

    They have lots of nice web apps that are free and are worth looking at.

  4. Brad says:

    http://www.nozbe.com/gtd/index here is another one inspired by 37 sig apps, but it is built for GTD.. iphone , web acess. looks cool

  5. Dan says:

    For implementing GTD you can also use this web-based application:


    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version is available too.

  6. fsanges says:

    This GTD idea really opened my mind. Thanks for the info. I started using mylifeorganized -> (http://www.mylifeorganized.net/) and its really helping me out. Unfortunatly it doenst have a mac version, but they are working on iPhone version.

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