Alternative contexts

What’s the best way to handle tasks that can be completed in either of the contexts?
For example, tasks that can be completed either on the Computer or the iPad. Or shopping that can be done either Online or Market.

I tried to mark the task with both tags but the problem is when one the tags is on hold the task becomes not available!


I’ve used a context called @App for tasks that can be done on a digital device. I don’t really care about the distinction. Many of my apps are crossplatformed on the iPad, iPhone, or Mac. When I feel like doing app work, I’ll go to a device and know instinctually which platform is appropriate.

For my shopping, I just use the @Shopping tag. If I’m in the mood to buy something, I know I can either do it online or go to a brick-and-mortar store.

I’ve eliminated iPad, iPhone, and Mac from my tags list and just use @App.

Ok: so basically you aggregate the contexts C1, C2, C3 … into just one context C

I considered this approach but it would impact the tasks that can be done only on C1 but not in C2.

If C1, C2, C3 are child tasks of C, couldn’t you default to using C and then use the child tasks for tasks that are specific to a given device? You can use the context C as the general filter and you should still get C:C1, C:C2, etc, right?

But if I define the task that can be done on C1 and C2 but not on C3 and either of C1 or C2 becomes unavailable the whole task will become unavailable.

I think of tags as serving the purpose of being used for exclusion rather than inclusion. So I would only tag with “Computer” if it can only be done at the computer. And only tag with “iPad” if it can only be done on the iPad. Then use perspectives to filter out the exclusions for your various available lists - so unless a context is excluded from the list, the task is going to be available.

Not an answer to your question, but I’ve recently stopped using positive context tags altogether and instead use them to filter out things I don’t want to see on my “one long list”. I found I was spending too much time asking the kind of questions you are asking. Instead I find that if i look at a list of available items and scan/flag according to my current context, I’m much more productive then if I over-engineer the OF system.

That said, over-engineering a task list is what OF is sort of all about, so have fun and please don’t mind my unsolicited two cents!

Thanks, ok. And how do you mark the items that can be completed only on the computer or iPad.