Contexts, moods, ADD, and working from home
When I started using GTD (via MyLifeOrganized), I was largely focused on music studies, and I had a large house in the suburbs with lots of rooms.
MLO makes it easy for contexts to include other contexts, so I had a nice system that basically gave me contexts for each of the resources I might need to do tasks (Internet, phone, etc), as well as each room I would tend to be in. (I have ADD, and if I'm not in the right room, I practically have to schedule myself an appointment to get there.)
So my old context list includes:
(Homework could be done at School or in the Office. Anything needing a Piano could get done at School or in the Studio.)
I also had a few "plus" versions called Home+ and School+. If I wanted to maximize my "uniquely available" time, I'd tell MLO I was at Home or School, and see only the items for those two contexts. If I wanted to see anything that was available in that context, I'd choose Home+ and School+, and now all my computer, calls, etc. tasks would show up.
This worked amazingly well at the time. The contexts were separate enough and granular enough that I didn't get too many tasks thrown at me at once when I looked at my to-do list, but yet the context-onomy was simple enough that I knew which one to assign to a task.
Fast-forward. I'm still (occasionally) studying music, but I no longer have a separate studio, and I'm living in a one-bedroom, one-office apartment downtown. Mostly, I'm a contract programmer working from home, doing non-specific tasks at non-specific hours, and spending the rest of the time brushing up on various computer skills.
So "rooms" aren't really contexts anymore, because there's much less to distract me between the two rooms. And a great deal of my tasks - phone calls (day OR night), office work, billpaying, really anything except errands and housecleaning - takes place in the exact same chair at the exact same desk, in front of the computer, with all the same resources. About the only divider is whether or not need to change out of the pajamas...
So I'm a bit stuck. I know some folks have had success with the near-elimination of contexts, but I find it incredibly motivating to have a "hook" to hang a group of tasks on, aside from their related project, and I don't want to lose that. I don't know if that's as true for non-ADDers, but it helps me find "flow" (debate about whether flow is truly "flow" left to another thread).
A friend of mine, studying for med school, found a similar problem when trying to study in her one-room bedroom/office/closet in a tiny NYC apartment. She's discovered that there are certain "environmental cues" you can set up For instance, when she's studying for MCATs, she drinks ginger tea. Now, if she starts losing focus among the leaning piles of books, papers, grocery bags, and laundry on her 3-x-4-foot desk, she takes a sip of tea, and her brain says "Ah! Ginger tea! We must be in study mode". Pretty darn clever way of using the brain's associations with senses and moods. It's an adult version of "thinking caps", I suppose. Anyway, my point was that contexts can help enforce or even create those boundaries.
Back to my problem. Since I can't really use places as contexts (too few), and I can't use resources as contexts (too ubiquitous), and I'm just no good at setting aside "12-3pm is phone call time", I need to look elsewhere for inspiration to create a proper context-onomy.
I liked one poster's idea about "creative" vs "dragging", and "how much time" - in fact, MLO pulls out "time available" into its own field, so you can already filter out tasks that would take longer than you have available. I like the "Create" vs 'dragging", though, and I'm wondering - have other people organized their contexts in a mood, mind-set, and disposition basis?
Soon to lose my "overnight one click"
I have an Amazon Kindle on order. This little gadget will change my life! I have to keep up my habit of getting rid of a book or two every time I buy one, though, because I either need to BUY MORE BOOKSHELVES or get rid of some books. I buy more than I read, of course, but I did read "The War of Art" twice. Enjoy!
Abs? What abs? :D