The thing that struck me as genius when I first read David Allenís Getting Things Done was the idea of contexts.
But many are realizing that Allenís original contexts of @work, @computer, @phone, and so on, donít make as much sense today as they did in 2002. Contexts are really outdated now .
I got rid of contexts except for errands context, but, let's be honest, this list has nothing to do with GTD or David Allen, it's a shopping list for crying out loud! It's been around for so long, everyone uses it.
@computer: When are you not at your computer nowadays? Or how many times have you been in a context where you're really pressed to get things done but don't have your computer, and really can't stand looking through all those tasks that involve a computer? I seriously can think of zero situations like this.
@computer-internet/nointernet: Are you really on a plane this much? Please.
@phone: Don't even start.
@agenda: Compared to the three above, this has slightly more use, but I still don't think it's necessary. Chances are, there are fewer than 2 or 3 people in your life whose time is so valuable that you need to make a list like this for when you're with them.
@email: This is useful under one and only one circumstance: if you've become so disciplined as to check your email only a few scheduled times a day, then by all means make a list of the email you need to make when it's scheduled email time.
Deciding a context for an actions was always a useless waste of time and effort for me.
I always have iphone and ipad with me and I can do anything anywhere so contexts were really useless.
I also tried to use mental contexts, e.g. @Research, @writing, @focused thinking, etc. but it didn't help either, it actually made things worse. It was too much time spent deciding on the context for each task. I was over organising because I was following gtd by the book and/or someone else advice.
Contexts are simply unrealistically complicated and to tell you frankly, for most people whose main jobs and main sources of stress involve work done in an office or any other single setting.
I'm not simultaneously running 6 businesses and constantly on the road with 10 kids. I don't have 200 projects because I don't fill my lists with tonnes of random stuff just for the sake of it anymore. If I forget to buy butter when I'm at the grocery store, I don't stress and it doesn't stay on my mind. If I forget to surf or read something on internet, I don't care. But the large project that involves simply sitting down, closing Gmail and Facebook, and getting it done, will stress me out and will stay on my mind if I spend the day ticking off all kinds of less important tasks on my list.
I treat my projects, especially my work projects, as contexts. This system has the advantage of simplicity. I never have to think about the appropriate context for a task. Forget labeling tasks by context and focus on getting that big monster task done and you're on your way to real stress-free productivity.