What context do you use for

What context do you use for

I’m often struggling to find the right context for a particular action. Today I just realized I can’t seem to find a good one for “take the car to the auto repair shop”.

I’m wondering how other people move past this struggle. Do all your actions have a context/tag? Should they have one?

For that type of task, I would either use an Errands tag or Maintenance. I used to use Errands, but with having a couple of cars and boats, I then used a Maintenance tag because it groups them nicely.

For me, the rule was if I had enough tasks ~6-8 then it was worth creating a tag/context. If it were under 6-8 tasks, I would tag it with the most closely resembling tag and not bother creating a new one.

Now I don’t use tags or contexts at all because I realized it didn’t help me. In your example, I have a Maintenance project, which has tasks like Bring Car to Dealership for Oil Change, Contact Marina for Engine Checkup, Fix Dripping Faucet in Bathroom. So if you have enough Maintenance tasks but cannot think of a tag that might encompass them all, then you could use a Single Action Project called Maintenance.


I have been thinking about tasks with no context/tag but never got the courage to go that route. I’m rarely using tags annyways.

I think I should try this.

If anyone has any tips, feel free to share :slight_smile:

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This is the approach I’d take too.

An alternative way would be to split the task out into sub tasks and use tags that represent the action needed for that. If you need to set up an appointment, I’d use a “Call” tag on a task for calling the shop, then an “Errand” tag for the task to take the car there.

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I would suggest reading my previous post about my move away from tags: Tags: do you have a system? how do you use them?

To replace tags/contexts, in my task names I put enough information to tie tasks together with basic searches. If you have enough information in the task name, then the added benefit tags/contexts give is no longer added. Remember to keep to the same naming convention. For example, my task naming convention is as follows:

  • Read: Article Title on Website
  • Watch: Video Name/Summary on Website
  • Reply to: John Smith Re: Subject
  • Reply to: justindirose Re: Post Name on Productivity Guild
  • Contact: John Smith Re: Scheduling Meeting for Discussion on Upgrades
  • Schedule: Oil Change for Car

These are some examples, but I keep the same naming convention and structure for all tasks.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Hello, I’m new and just randomly jumping in…

I’m a Things 3 user and I don’t like to add tags/contexts just for the sake of having them. I only use them in two situations:

  • So I can find a particular type of task (eg I have a Waiting tag).

  • If I’m in a context and I want to filter and only see tasks I can do in that context. For example, I have tags for Commute (for my train journey to work) and Errands.

I would only tag the car task if I needed to somehow link it to other tasks in a search or filter. Hope that helps!

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If your life doesn’t need contexts then it might not be the right time for you. But there are ways to make it work.

Tags or contexts are only good if you see them at the appropriate time. If your app has a saved search or custom perspectives feature, it takes advantage of contexts/tags.

I’d personally put an errands context to that. Then I created my “On The Go” view. Next I made it a habit to always check this view whenever I leave my house or office.

Most of my “outside” tasks are grouped under errands. But if I visit a place frequently such as @coffee shop or @hardware store then I’ll create a sub-context under errands. When I’m at the hardware store, I’ll see my @hardware store contexts and check out what I need to do.

If your task app doesn’t have a saved view or custom perspective, make it a habit to go the the contexts/tags view and select your errand context or outside context.

We need two sinultaneous things to have a working system: where do we put things depends on what routines we set ourselves to check those lists. The objective is to see things at the right time in the right place.

The right place may be the context and the right time is when we look at that context list.

I guess ‘take the car to the shop’ is not a single task, and that’s why I don’ t know where to put it.

Before I can take the car to the shop I have to find someone who will pick me up in he shop and take me to work, then I have to schedule the visit, and so on

So if input the whole thing in the ‘car’ context it doesn’t help because I cannot just drive there and leave the car without those prior arrangements.

Tasks should be small and simple enough so that in each context I can just do them without any external dependency other than my own time and energy.

Well, in your example, the task would be called “drive to the shop”. What context would that fit in?

YRight. I have a context named ‘car’ I look at this list everytime I get into the car so depending on where I am and how much time I have, I pick up actions from this list.

Except if I have a fixed appointment with the car shop, then it goes to the agenda directly, no need to put it elsewhere.

I don’t want to be rude but I fail to see why you’re procrastinating about what seems to be an appointment. Appointments go on calendars and that’s it.

IF you need to prepare something for that appointment, you might want to schedule some “duedate” tasks with an @Agenda tag.

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Appointments have a date. A task like this one might not.

I can take the car in whenwver I feel like it.

For a classic GTD context (person, tool, location), I’d try to assign a main context that makes the most sense to me. Drive to the shop is an @errand for me. Or if it is a common place I visit, it would be @mechanic shop. I might add secondary contexts but it’s rare.

I’ve debated about this myself. In my life, something that will take more than 30 minutes becomes an appointment for me. It might block my time. I can go to the Urgent Care walk-in visit for my medical clinic. It is no longer a task. It’s an appointment because I’m gonna be in the waiting room at least 30 minutes if not more.

That makes a lot of sense. Then I guess I would have another task prior to that that just says, “block time for taking the car to the mechanic”, and then the it truns into an appointment.


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