How to Use Contexts: TntMPD 201 Tip

TntMPD 470x140TntMPD 101, 201, …

You know that I’m a big fan of TntMPD, free software that helps you manage contacts, tasks, and donations. I decided to start writing TntMPD beginning (101) and more advanced (201) articles. In this post, I’m going to show how to use Getting Things Done (GTD) contexts in the TntMPD Task list. This is the second in a series about using GTD principles within Evernote and TntMPD. I recommend reading the first post as well, New Contexts for Getting Things Done.

Tagging is one of the best ways to organize many things online. TntMPD contexts are “tags” for your to-do list tasks indicating where the action can be done (@home, @office, @Timbuktu, …) or when (I’ll explain this later).

How to Use Contexts for TntMPD

To do a context for a TntMPD task,  type @ and your phrase and a comma and then your task. (TntMPD contexts can only be one per task.) So, open up your TntMPD database and let’s try some experimental context tags.

We’ll do a sample “where” context first, pretending we’re going to Fairbanks, Alaska, for some MPD and a little salmon fishing on the side. Add a Text/SMS task to your name: “@Fairbanks, confirm appointment” (Leave out the quotes, of course.) This is a task to send a text before arriving in Fairbanks to confirm an appointment. Maybe set the date for the day before the appointment. Enter the task.

If you’re planning to do work on MPD at the office, you can set your context to @office.  Add either a Thank or To Do task to your name with “@office, take box of stationery and stamps” so you’re sure to have what you need with you.

From the first post in this series, I mention “when” contexts, not with a calendar in mind, but in the sense of “time and attention.” TntMPD already takes care of other GTD contexts by helping you: categorize your tasks (Call, Appointment, …), set a date and who will do the task, and rate the importance of the task.  You can add any of these to make your list of tasks more useful to you.   So,  I recommend that your “when” TntMPD context tag be a “time and attention” context. Use the calendar feature and, if needed, the Importance and Status features under Details for the other aspects of “when.”

Let’s try one. Add a To Do task to your name: “@Brain Dead, add photo of George and Sandy.” This is a reminder to add a new photo to TntMPD of a couple after your MPD appointment last week. Your context, “@Brain Dead,” means you’re saving this task for the end of the day when your motivation is zero.

Now, go to the Tasks tab and you’ll see the Context window in the left sidebar under the Type window. This only shows up if you’re using context tags.After you create several tasks for your Alaskan MPD trip, you can go to the Tasks tab, checking only the “Fairbanks” context to see all the tasks related to that trip. See my screenshot below for the three @context tags we just added. You should see something similar in your database.

TntMPD context 750

Fine-tune Filtering of Your Tasks

After creating context tags in TntMPD, you’ll be able to look at just the parts of your potentially large list of to-dos that you want to focus on. If you need to narrow down your tasks further, also use any or all of these:

  1. the Type check boxes in the left sidebar,
  2. the Filter by Current Group in the footer area, and/or
  3. the search window (right above the Name, Date, Description headings).

For instance (corresponds to numbers above):

  1. look up only the phone calls you want to do for your Fairbanks trip or
  2. look up only financial partners for your contacts so the side visit to Aunt Jo’s and visits to referrals aren’t included or
  3. search with a key word. Maybe you’ll have two types of gifts with you and you want to see who you plan to give the JESUS DVD to at their appointment or
  4. remember you can use these together as well as @context.

I’ll be writing more tips like this one in the coming months. I’m fine-tuning my own tips and tricks while also interviewing some top TntMPD users to learn what they do, so I’m excited about offering these posts for you.

What context ideas do you have? A simple idea would be to use @CST, @PST,etc. to indicate time zones for phone calls.

What are your 201 tips  for using TntMPD’s special features?


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