Step 6 of 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity Video Course

Step 6 of 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity Video Course


Welcome to part 6 of our “10-steps to Ultimate Productivity Course”. Here we’ll talk about “Contexts” a concept borrowed from the David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done”. In short “GTD”. Well, you already are a productivity ninja as you’ve mastered the way of adding tasks, organizing them into projects and getting them done from your “Priority” list. You know, I’m not a big fan of prioritizing, I like “categorizing” to-do list thanks to a method from GTD called “contexts”. The “Contexts” concept is another weapon to help you clear these lists and get more done. As David Allen says – a Context can be a place, a tool or an environment…. which can be applied to various tasks in different projects. Some examples: tools like “phone” (because you have to call people regarding various projects, right?)… Places like: Office or Home (because you can perform some tasks only there)… and “state” like “Writing” (to mark tasks that require extensive amount of writing). Again, it’s a way of categorizing tasks from different projects so that you can batch them and get them done together. Before we move on, let me explain the concept of “batching”. “Batching” means, grouping the same tasks that require the same skills, or effort, or tool, or environment… like when you cook – and first gather all the ingredients you need to slice and slice them, later all the ingredients you need to fry, and fry them… because doing slicing, then frying, then slicing would be counter-productive. My other favorite example is the “phone” context. Imagine you’ve just had a lunch. It was great, you’re stuffed and you’re back at your desk and you don’t feel like working… yet. Happens to me very often. What do I do to bring myself back into “action mode”? I do something that doesn’t require a lot of effort and is very rewarding. I start calling people up. I first call my wife to ask how she’s doing and although I try to keep it brief this makes her happy every time. Then I click on the “Phone” context in my Nozbe app and the whole list of tasks I previously defined as “phone calls” pops up. I call these folks one by one and start feeling very productive. I’m getting things done despite being stuffed with food! Another example: My CFO and I often need to make some payments. I also need to pay my landlord or car insurance or some other thing… I group all these into Finance context. This way I can batch my wire transfers even though they come from different projects. A context can also be a person: My wife has her “Boss” context and whenever she has a task that requires to review with her boss, she marks it with “Boss” context. Later, when she is about to have a meeting with him, she prints all of her tasks from the Boss context and she knows exactly what to discuss during that meeting. Other examples of contexts include “shopping”, because you may need to buy groceries, but on your way back home it’d be great to pickup printer paper for your home office and a new set of pens. I frequently use “Errands” as a context to run errands (small things I need to take care of or buy when running around town)… This is really helpful because otherwise I would forget about something from some project… And if you’re really into prioritizing, you can set up a “Top priority” context in Nozbe. With this context mark tasks that are your priority. The possibilities are endless. Remember, grouping tasks in contexts is not the same as grouping them in projects. In Projects you group tasks around a common goal while with Contexts you group around similar way of getting them done. Contexts serve as an additional weapon as you can now group tasks from various projects together depending on their place, tool or environment… whatever suits you and helps you get things done. In Nozbe you can quickly add new contexts to tasks. Just pull out the context list and drag and drop context on the tasks (or tasks on contexts) to assign one to another. And the contexts are being shared automatically when you share a project with other people! Try it for yourself – choose a short list of contexts and see how they’ll improve your productivity. Remember to use the same contexts across multiple projects and you’ll see how it helps you move these projects forward. The concept of Contexts will help you get things done and process many actions at a time when you’re the most productive with a tool at hand, in a certain environment or even with someone. Good luck!

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