Getting Things Done (GTD) teaches us to identify our tasks by context—location, people, tools, and so on—so we can do things when and where we’re best equipped to do them.
I stopped using most contexts a long time ago, since I can do just about anything from just about anywhere.
Calls, emails, reading, writing—I can do all of these from the office in my pocket.
I still use the @waiting context, but not much else.
I’m going to take another look at my use of contexts, however, based on a short video I saw last night, which makes the case for contexts based on “time plus energy”.
GTD has long recommended contexts for time and contexts for energy, but I like the way the presenter combines them:
- Short Dashes: Tasks that can be done in more than 2 minutes and less than 15 minutes. Most calls and emails fit here, don’t they?
- Full Focus: Tasks requiring maximum energy, no distractions, and longer periods of time; deep work.
- Brain Dead: When you can’t do anything that requires a lot of thought.
- Routines: Your weekly review, exercise, writing a blog post.
- Hanging Around: Tasks that don’t require a lot of time or energy and don’t have a deadline, e.g., Light research, organizing notes, buying something online.
What do you think? Do any of these appeal to you? Do you already use something similar?
I like “Brain Dead” or “Hanging Around,” especially for things I can do after I’ve shut down work for the night. I’ll give this some thought later today.
But first, I have some “Short Dashes” to take care of.