Exclude Items from Inbox from 'No Context' portion of Contexts Perspective

Sometimes I forget to label my tasks with contexts after I’ve processed them. I like to find these tasks by going to the ‘no context’ portion of my contexts perspective and then label them appropriately. It’s annoying to have this list cluttered by items from my inbox which have not been processed yet. Is there a way to filter these out?



Well, there’s an argument to be made that triaging the Inbox first would be the “proper” way to deal with this situation – basically get things dealt with in the inbox before going through items that are already filed without contexts.

That said, if you’re using the “Pro” version, however, one workaround would be to use the “focus” feature to exclude the inbox. This might be a bit cumbersome depending on your layout, but if you select all of your projects except the Inbox, and then click the “Focus” button, that will give you a view that effectively excludes anything in your Inbox from all other views, including the “No Contexts” view.

You can also save this as a custom perspective so that you can easily return to it as required, since it sounds like something you do on a semi-regular basis.

Note that you can “focus” on Folders, so one way to make this easy would be to group all of your projects into one or more sub-folders, and then use that for the focus target. This would also be advantageous if you’re often adding new projects, as a saved perspective would need to be updated to include these otherwise.

It’s still kind of a kludgy workaround, and only really an option if you’re using the Professional version. Probably better to look to your workflow first, as in many cases getting stuff filed out of the Inbox should take priority over dealing with stuff that’s missing a context – in fact, even assigning everything in your Inbox to an “On Hold” or “To Be Filed” context would probably be a better way of dealing with it – just go to the Inbox, Select-All, and then assign the context as required, and you can then deal with these separately when you go to actually assign them to projects.


But the idea of the Inbox is to collect things throughout the day, so things can be there after you initial planning. Those new items should be safely away in a trusted place and not put back in front of you mid stream.

Agreed, and it’s a question of differing workflows. In my configuration, nothing ever leaves the inbox until it’s got a project and a context assigned, so having items outside of the inbox with no contexts is a fairly rare occurrence for me.

Of course, I can see how some people may prefer to assign projects and worry about contexts later, and in that case there’s really no easy way to deal with this as OF stands now other than to use the “Focus” method I suggested above (although that feature is now limited to the Pro version), or to assign a “processing” context during Inbox triage, and then use that context as your follow-up filter in place of the “No Context” view.

To be fair, “No Context” is “No Context” regardless of where the items live, and while some could argue that it’s obvious that items in the Inbox have no context and shouldn’t appear, while others might use “No Context” to triage everything without a context, regardless of where it lands.

So unless Omni provides a configurable option to exclude Inbox items from the “No Context” view, there’s really no one solution that would make everybody happy here. However, I think it’s fair to concede that the line has to be drawn somewhere when it comes to configuration options, otherwise you end up lost in a maze of excessive choices and even more confusion.


Thanks jdh, those are great suggestions.

Here’s a new wrinkle. I don’t like to assign contexts to my projects as this doesn’t make sense. (Projects can have tasks with unrelated contexts so which context would I pick?)

The perspective tool doesn’t seem to be able to distinguish projects from actions. Any ideas as to how I can filter out projects and focus in only on actions/tasks?

[quote=“icantlactate, post:5, topic:8388”]
Here’s a new wrinkle. I don’t like to assign contexts to my projects as this doesn’t make sense. (Projects can have tasks with unrelated contexts so which context would I pick?)[/quote]
I have a similar problem, although I usually pick the most commonly-used context. Of course, sometimes that’s also really variable and it can be hard to do that (plus, you don’t want to assign the wrong one by mistake).

One way would be to use a “Processing” context for each project, rather than the default “No Context” although that risks complicating things more since anything in those projects will get that by default and you’ll end up having two contexts to triage through.

Personally, I’ve always found it odd to have projects showing up as actions, since my project titles don’t always correspond to an obvious actionable task. So what I’ve always done with my projects anyway is to ensure that there’s always an individual finishing task. In some cases, it’s just “Review Additional Actions for (project name)” or “Finalize (project name)” – that comes across for me as more of a relevant task than simply turning the project itself into an actionable task. I then set the project itself to “Complete when Completing Last Action” – when the “Finalize” or “Review” task comes up, that’s my cue to either go back to the project to review and possibly add additional tasks, or simply acknowledge that the project is complete and check that last task off, automatically closing the project in the process.

If you then filter your “No Context” perspective by “Available” you should never see Projects appear in that view, as there would never be any empty, incomplete projects.