New Contexts for Getting Things Done

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This is the first in a series about using Getting Things Done principles within Evernote and TntMPD (see next post). If you’re not familiar with Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen, I found a simple summary of his time-management ideas for you to learn more.  If you use GTD contexts, I’m adding some new context tags that you normally don’t see in a GTD presentation.

Contexts for GTD

Tagging is one of the best ways to organize many things online. GTD contexts are “tags” for your to-do list tasks which can be used to indicate:

  • where the action can be done (@home, @office, @errands, …)
  • when you will do the task (@now, @someday, …)
  • who (@assistant, @team, …)
  • what “tools” you need in order to perform your action step (@phone, @email, …)

Contexts help you filter what to do at any particular time. One GTD to-do action step can have multiple contexts; however, it’s best to limit the number of your contexts so you aren’t spending excessive time tagging your tasks. See Back to GTD: Simplify Your Contexts by for more on this.

New Contexts: Time and Attention (Energy and Priorities)

I was frustrated with some GTD contexts, because 95% of what I do would be tagged @computer and also, like you, I no longer have to be in a particular physical location for phone calls and email. I appreciate the insights from A Fresh Take on Contexts by Sven Fetchner on Sven introduces new contexts based on our available time and attention (attention =  energy + priorities).

Using Sven’s new context ideas, I thought of the following, but would love to hear your suggestions for other types of “time and attention” contexts (or how to better name the ones I thought of). By tagging tasks with these contexts, you can filter for things to do when your biological clock is wound up or run down:

  • Drained — Low energy
  • Downtime— Low energy + lots of time
  • Focused — High energy + lots of time + offline
  • Routines

Here’s some contexts which include some Cru-specific contexts  I thought of. Maybe you could suggest more. We’ll be using many of the context tags from this post in the new series about GTD in Evernote and in TntMPD tasks.

  • @MPD trip
  • @conference
  • @project
  • @commute
  • @campus name

How do you use GTD? Do you have some suggested contexts for Cru staff to help for this GTD series?


  • Next in the series: How to Use Contexts: TntMPD 201 Tip
  • Back to GTD: Simplify Your Contexts by will help you think through your contexts when much of what you do is in the same context. This article also helped me think through that contexts need to “reflect functional limitations and opportunities” and need to be a limited number.

3 thoughts on “New Contexts for Getting Things Done

  1. Hi Sus, Landed on your article, while looking for information about the best ways to put context tags to next actions. You have definitely brought me more clarity.

    I am currently using Evernote as my GTD tools. I always find myself not doing any actions step. Purely because I don’t have the energy or I end up have the energy but either wrong location or lack of time.

    Thanks for writing the article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Nigel! Thank you! Glad I could help. I have some posts (hopefully soon) with more ideas about Evernote + GTD + context. Hearing from you today encourages me to get these up!


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