Tip: separate your location-based contexts from your organizational ones

I just finished answering a customer question, and in doing so, realized that I was doing something so completely wrong, for so long, that I’m going to post about it here in the hopes that someone else can avoid repeating my mistake.

For years, I have used a context hierarchy for Omni as a whole, with descendent contexts that represent the groups and other people I work with here. Shortly after I set this up, I attached the office address to the parent context and enabled location-based reminders.

Theoretically, this was a good idea, but in practice what it meant was that as I approached the building, I’d get location-based reminders for any uncompleted task assigned to anyone in the company. Utterly failing to follow the advice I’ve been giving customers for years, I didn’t fix my broken system; I just developed the habit of dismissing and ignoring those reminders.

Every workday.
For years.
Now that I think about how much time I wasted tapping those reminders away… UGH.

In any case, I’ve attached a screenshot of what I’ve replaced it with. The organizationally-useful parent context is still in place, but the location information has been removed. I’ve added a couple of new contexts to the top level of my structure that give me places to specifically put items I want the different types of location-based reminders for.

So, yeah. Don’t be like me. Don’t try to make your contexts pull double-duty. Better to create more places to put things and if in means each place has a specific and helpful purpose. :-)


That’s a useful tip, thanks. I wonder how many people even know you can create nested contexts :)

I’ve wrestled with that kind of thing in my “Errands” context for years – one parent context with sub-contexts for all of the places I need to do stuff, and I found it ended up being a mess. A few months ago, I opted for a much more literal “Arriving Home” and “Leaving Home” approach – fairly similar to what you’ve done here.

Once I did that, I found the entire process much more logical and intuitive, and of course I think part of that was also getting my mind into the habit that context assignments can be fluid. I frequently now move things in and out of my location-based contexts as part of my daily/weekly review, based on whether I need to be reminded of that item based on location.

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