Everyone who has tried to figure out how to organize tasks efficiently has already created a to-do list for the day. Who has never picked up the paper and a pen to list all the tasks they would like to do that day and then go on scratching one by one, as the activities were carried out?
This is a relatively efficient technique for managing tasks. But it brings a problem: the frustration of when the day is over (or the energy) and there are still tasks on the list. So today we will learn a different technique based on tasks by context, for those who want to know how to organize tasks without having to appeal to the list of things to do for the day. We will see in detail:
- Why use contexts to organize your tasks
- What is the task organization by context?
- How to organize tasks contextually with the help of technology
- What changes in the lives of those who know how to organize tasks by context?
Our analysis will start with the importance of using context in the organization of tasks.
Why use contexts to organize your tasks
In the traditional way of organizing tasks by date, you list a number of things you would like to do on the day and begin to perform the activities, one by one. Some follow the order on the list, others prefer to choose one of the tasks to start, and others just don’t know where to start.
At the end of the day, if you were in a very productive way, the task list is finalized and the next day you create a new one. However, the most common is that the day ends and you are unable to complete the entire list of tasks that you had to do.
It may be that you have run out of time, it may be that your motivation has run out, or it may simply be that there were no resources, places or even people needed to perform a task. When this happens, the advantage of knowing how to organize tasks in context is clearly perceived.
In the contextual organization, you don’t make a list of tasks for the day. Instead, it makes a list of tasks depending on the context in which you find yourself. For example, you create a list of only the tasks you can do when you’re at home. Or at work. Or in college. Create a list of only tasks you can do when you have a lot of time available. Or little time. Create a list of only tasks that you can perform in the company of a specific person. Or a certain group of people.
What is the task organization by context?
The task organization by context was created by David Allen in the classic productivity book Getting Things Done – The Art of Making It Happen. The logic is that to know how to organize tasks you must have a list of tasks for each situation you are in. For example, if you are on the phone and have a certain amount of time available, you should have a list of only the tasks you can do on the phone for that amount of time. Contexts can refer to places, time, people and even their availability of energy or motivation.
This is a different way of approaching task management and can prove to be much more productive for some people. For example, when you’re at home, you can filter the information so you don’t see what the office is doing. And when you’re at the office, there’s no point in knowing which products to buy at the supermarket. The advantage of filtering by context is that you gain more relevance from the information.
Here, instead of listing what you want to do on the day, you will be queuing up tasks within specific projects. But it always marks these tasks with the contexts in which they can be performed. So, when you find yourself in a certain context, just check what tasks you can perform at that moment and start performing those activities. For the contexts to work well, the idea is to use a task manager with support for this type of functionality.
How to organize tasks contextually with the help of technology
Using pen and paper to mark the contexts of your to-do list is not very productive. Each time you are in a certain context, you would have to read all the tasks on the paper to identify which activities could be performed in that context. This situation changes when you are using a task management application that in some way supports the use of contexts. For example, imagine that you have all your tasks recorded in such an application. All marked with the appropriate contexts.
Now imagine that you are in a mall. Opening the task manager on your phone, just click on the “shopping” filter to list all the tasks you can do there. And the best. You can filter two or more contexts in combination to look at an even more refined task list. For example, let’s say you are at work and have just been visited by a colleague named Alice.
You can open your task manager and have it filter the tasks that contain the contexts “work” and “Alice”. Thus, you will be able to quickly visualize the demands that you can solve with Alice at work. Generally, contexts are used as tags in task managers like Todoist, Things, Microsoft To-Do and many others. Some of these apps even have alarms built into your smartphone’s GPS to remind you exactly what to do once you get to a certain place.
What changes in the lives of those who know how to organize tasks by context
If you live the routine of every day having to create a list of things to do and choose which activities to do, it may be time to try a new way of managing your tasks. Perhaps it is time to create a serious life plan and includes all your life goals in a good task manager, breaking them down into small tasks marked with the right contexts. By doing this, you will quickly learn how to organize tasks in a much more productive way.
You will arrive at a place and, with a few clicks, know exactly what you have to do. And you can even refine this to-do list by matching the place with the time you have available or the people around you. This is a technique that brings a lot of productivity to your day-to-day, making you approach your goals with much more speed and efficiency.
Ideally, it should be applied along with serious life planning, covering all areas of your life and containing the necessary actions to transform you into who you really want to be. If you want to know how to prepare such a plan, I invite you to attend a special class in the Planning Your Life course that shows you exactly how to start and continue your life plan.