Skip to main content


Lesson 25 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy


Lesson 25 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

25. Contexts

Lesson Info


Contexts are crucial they add the meaning needed to go forward now notice I say go forward forward is the key word there because without contacts you're just going right you're just going there's no meaning in a lot of cases what happens is you're just doing for the sake of doing you're doing because you feel you have to you're doing doing because it's time to get it done because you waited too long it's become urgent and important but when you add contacts and they are crucial and I kind of find it funny that when I put the slide together I didn't even think about the crucial cube at that point in time but when you put a context in the middle of that crucial cube then you can add those things that are associated could say okay, well, this doesn't apply this does this doesn't you could get rid of some of those those that may not have meaning anymore so you know you can actually evaluate your contexts using a crucial cube if you really want teo again something that I thought of as I was...

looking at these this morning I'm like oh, so you could use the crucial cube to say hey, what context should I use? Oh, I don't know how I energy does that mean something to me high energy? Well is this that no, you know what there's not enough in uh, important, but not urgent. So maybe this isn't one that resonates with me too much, you know? I mean, because of so ingrained with stuff I could do that maybe it'll be something that works for you as well, but when you have context, you can go forward, you can move things forward, you're not just doing productive, you're being productive, you're being effective and efficient. And I know todd henry who's done one of these as well is not a creative lives well, he's about effectiveness and that's that's what it is being fast isn't isn't enough fact it comes secondary it's like how time comes secondary attack it's in my mind speed versus, you know, effectiveness, proficiency, that's what you want, you want that because that builds ex expertise, they can't, you know, um, if you're learning to be a photographer, you can gain a lot of tools and a lot of insights over time by spending, you know, time and focusing on the task of learning that stuff, but if you try to speed through it, what's gonna happen that's what I've been doing sometimes, so so you feel that your craftsmanship is not craftsman like you're you're basically you know, you're you're building something that's, a bit of sun, a bit of shaky ground, right it's stressful when I have to get through some of the forest and I know they're not optimal but I still have to hand them in right? It's it's not nice jennifer if you're trying to build clientele and you're just trying to grab a cz many as you can and as little time as you can you're going to find that they're not you're not going to be as effective with all of them remember mule design I talked about on day one where they had only six clients how effective do you think they are with the six clients right dude, they're focused with then they could be faster with them right? Because they've spent time and they've set that limit they've set that boundary so instead of having forty clients you're working with maybe say I'm going to do ten ten for thirty nine days then move on to another ten add if you want these things were all transferrable, but when you add contacts and again I want to be clear contexts in some applications are considered tags and others, so for the people who are in aps they're they're they're similar and keep the universality as well, right like keep them keep them consistent throughout the alps we're using right or throw the tools you're using so if you know resistance is a context use it across the board if high energy is a context if you know, client high energy client low energy we talked about this we look sat down at lunch and you're like what about this? Yeah there's no right or wrong, right? I can't if someone asks me what and I've said this already but if someone asked me what task manager I should use so I don't know I don't know it's subjective you're going you're going to show me things that I mean you go that's that's really great that's gonna be super helpful for you but not for me right? But when you add that those contacts you're gonna have that help you're giving yourself that help you're going to need down the road to keep going forward and that's what it is if you just if you just going then you have your not any sort of direction you're just going right madly in all directions spinning your wheels but when you're when you add those contacts when you add meaning to it that's when you're going forward sure actually she just commented saying how how much she's enjoying adding context to her tasks list and then vanessa fall and I think carla kind of added onto that, vanessa said asked if she said she's feeling a little overwhelmed by everything and but she says she wants to be able to apply it are there three takeaways regarding context that she should really focusing on? Sure so when you're looking at context the big thing you need to figure out first off less less is more with context. So I have and I think we talked about the stream right rinko what? You asked me how many contacts I have write I have I have I have six that are absolutely five there that are consistent um five they're consistent so high energy, normal energy, low energy uh have errands and I do have a few in someday maybe, but far fewer than I used to someday make so those are the five that are consistent and then I've got ones for the aps so a sauna and then any other absent might be using so maybe for meetings at this meeting as as a as a context so less is more less contexts maur mohr in terms of projects that you can apply those context or tags too because again context are going to stay with you they're going to be something that is that is speaks to you they need to speak to you and drive you to go forward not just to go projects are meant to keep you going but the name of the project is what's directing you like creative live talk I know what that isthe but building a slide deck that's going to take some high energy I know why I need to build the slide deck it's for this project but why would I want to win when um I going to do it wide? Why am I going to do it now? Because I have high energy or where am I going to do it? Well, keynote maybe keynotes my my uh my context for building slides because that's where I build all my slides right? So that's that's one like the big takeaway is less less contacts and they need there's really two it needs to resonate over over a longer period of time than a project would that's what you can really identify because a lot of people said well, what's the difference between a project like projects in notebooks and context and tags there's some confusion and some people say, well, my project is is writing a book and so what's the context I apply to that I'm like, well, you know what resonates with you while writing residents with me? Okay, then writing could be that context well, but also I need a lot of energy. Okay? So then you can apply writing in high energy to it or the word writing a book tells you what you're doing with it so just make it high energy if that's what's going to resonate with you, right? I mean, what context after after we've gone through contacts, I'll jump back here just out here guys like which which context just based on the past couple days are already starting to speak to you know we'll start with you have someone move our way across real quick just maybe that will help with the audience at home as well I like the energy once since I've used a lot of context think I like the energy ones because they speak to me more and I know what energy said I'm an and so I can kind of relate to that okay? And then you've used the projects to kind of inform you about what those are related to write so many projects less contact so what I would do is if I'm if I have a bunch of tusks and I mean high energy then I would go to the perspective in harmony focuses perspectives and you can look at the context perspectives so you take high energy and these are all the projects that I could move forward and I would say okay among these three projects what matters to me the most now that I've been now that I'm at my peak energy state I would fall focused on the project that means the most to me right? And I want to be clear you mentioned perspectives and I know I wasn't gonna mention them during this because it's another element but there are some great resources out there if you're going to use an app like that there is asian efficiency has the omni focus premium posts which you could goto productivity's dot com and you'll find that in a sidebar there's also a great book if you're really did like the mindful components of stuff karash deanie he's a doctor ah he's written a book called creating flow with ami focus so that's another one so if you've there's going to be people that their bottom only focus and go that's too big too complicated so if you bought it you again you own it and it's an investment maybe invest a little bit more on one of those essentially resource guide's so jennifer what about you? What context like we've talked about this already know and I want to make sure that people are getting this this component cause it's really critical what one's air you you know ruminating on and figure that you're gonna probably use going forward I thought of doing clients education personal like for the exercise and hobbies social for family and friends and then errands for like the chores and that kind of thing and then possibly work for like another another job that I lady to ensure sure and you could maybe be more specific with that if you want right and then adding energy teo all these contexts so you know plus being high energy minus being lower energy and then just say nothing for sea and that was when we talked about this I found this really fascinating because you're really you're hacking it again, right? You're hacking to commit because you really only have how many they're like seven, eight, seventy eight context, but when you start out in that plus and minus at the end, you're still only dealing with eight but you're just adding a little twist to it that adds a bit more meaning, right? And you're not thinking oh, what's that context again instead you're going it's a client? Oh, this one's a high energy one oh, this one's a low energy one, right? And I liked it just because if I were to write out a list of this, I could see how much like, how much am I spending on each? Like I could see like, oh, man, I'm suiting a way to mention I'm going out like and I've spent on the e education so that it could be a nice wedding trap over time. Yeah, exact and that's track ability is one of those things that these kind of things a lot of context give you so much to work with tags and contacts essentially the same give you so much to work with, and when you start using them effectively and when you choose them and you have to make conscious choices about them, then then you're gonna be able to use them effectively and that's going to help you on the move forward and be more productive and manage your time and task more effectively. What do you think? Oh, what ones of you kind of found that resonate with you to this point? Well, initially I like the energy ones as well and definitely the part ofthe adding minuses and classes for high in the surplus energy minus, and I need to think about these connotations that he told me earlier about making them positive looking so instead of maybe better photograph for or improve as, uh, as a as a tag or context where I kind of start getting confuses the's are mostly taxed task based context, then in every note they're not they're not they're not you want when you're building a context or a tag and you want to add meaning to it like an army focus or any of these aps or any of these things, you're assigning it to either it could be an idea project task, whatever you're signing things to go right things, things to do or think of things that you've captured that's what it is, it's more things you've captured right things to do because some things you're not gonna necessarily we don't want to say to dio yeah things things you've captured, things you want to manage, right when you have those context to you figure out what you want to manage as opposed to when you want to manage it right? So it doesn't matter what if you're using him and every note anyone using that asana that's what you want todo because then when you're looking and ever know and you're saying I'm going through my inbox oh there's this great idea oh it's related to high energy, which I know that you know, then when you move to a song and you start doing tasks stuff you're you're in a completely separate app with probably some definite differences and ecosystem will you have one commonality and what's that the contacts the tag right that that to me is the key because it connects you to both it connects it makes you want to use thes system it makes you want to use these aps it makes you want to capture things because you're adding meaning to it right? And I mean so when you're adding contacts and we talk about the theme of the months when you had a theme to a month through adding a context to it that's what context is king right like content used to be king context is king now because it's the one that's kind of it rules it's the one that's going to make sure gonna decide how far you go with certain things, so do you mean given storing information in every note you still use the same absolutely absolutely so if I want to write I used to write songs you have been a lot of things I used to race so hyung and I had an idea for a song I don't have much time to write songs these days because I got a lot of things going on but I like to do it uh so when I want to do it I I I will assign a context to if it's a task will say oh it's high energy because I need to be at my best when I'm writing it and then if I've got the idea for the song scripted out never know guess what tags assigned to it at least one of the tags is high energy right and it goes into the notebook called song writing or maybe creative writing if I want to make it more broad but you want to make sure that there's a connection to that because that way when you're storing your information and ever now right so about a client let's say so you've got all their portfolio information you've got all that stuff or you've got your rate card right for the three to one charge you wanna make sure that that's consistent with any task that are associated with it right you want to make sure that you're there some universality there because that's going to allow you to not go I don't know what to do now you know it that definitely helps inform so you're going to say, oh well, this requires high energy to move forward on so I'm not going to work on this project right now necessarily because I'm a low energy and when you're looking at ever know or asan or whatever you're using you could make that distinction in either at so the learning curve is lessened because you're not spending as much time trying to figure out what to assign things you've already made that distinction you've already decided that you've chosen your contacts you may want to create more notebooks or more projects but that's that's different that's what I was going to school that's a different right cause projects coming go right after today this creative art project is done generally there might be a few closing elements but that loop is closed does that mean I'm not gonna be doing any more speaking no so speaking might be the context I use right? Am I gonna ever do any high energy tasks ever again? Nope this is it done normal energy low energy from now on right so that allows me to make that distinction and say okay that's a project it's going to be done at some point it's got it's got a best before date has got an expiry date even if you've got a template for it each project will be different right each project will end eventually right at some point terms of implementing these ideas, carla kind of asked, should you go back and start your projects this way, or just incorporate them in the future? In terms of aarhus faras time management's concerned, it depends on how far down the rabbit hole you've gone, the first thing I would do is I mean, I would start adding contexts now, contexts are the things that are going to have that prevalence overtime, so I would go back into projects that are already on the go and add those can't know anything that's past past gone, time's gone don't go back and manage that that that time has been either managed or mismanaged, right? Move going forward, add context is you got a bunch of active projects, then yes, start adding contacts and tags to it. Now they're going to mean, but choose those contacts, right? Like make that choice first. So everybody that's here? Well, I mean, I know you guys have already decided on some context, but that task should be a sign figure out my contexts figure out my tags, folders, I can't tell you people are going to people are gonna you're gonna have a different project, you're going, we're all going different projects, but figure out what your context figure out what means something to you. We had a few people say any clarification we've had that and it's great, because it takes about two or three times thank you, david allen for that amazing book that takes three or four, five times to finally grasp this stuff, but yeah, like that's that's what that's, what you need to do so I wouldn't go back too far it's all about going forward, so I would add start adding that value and if that's, what helps you do it? If you say I don't understand context, then they resonate context equal value oh value value means something there is some quantification there, right? So I would start doing that I've been helpful. Perfect. Yes, I had an example in my mind for example, I to work a lot with hardware that I need to fix or it can be something with the editing that I don't use a lot, so I try to keep track of these things. I either take notes on how to and I just write what I what steps I followed or if it's a website that explains, uh, these things in sort of a bookmark, I just take a clip of that and went to ever known with the context with a tag oh, how toe on it, so how do I apply this toe? Let's say two tasks that I have a high end their jail right let's let's well again I don't want to get confused and say that you have to use energy yeah let's let's be kind and I'm going to use it so well that's fine I can tell you right now you won't be able to use on me focus for that if you can use multi tags or multiple context only focus doesn't asana is gonna be my right so it's gonna all right so how to use a context we've got like the hashtag how to is your contacts and then you've got hashtag high energy so your project could be rebuild cannon xl one that's a really old camera dating I had that camera back someone asked exactly what was in that old uh let's say that's what you're that's a project rebuild count cannon xl one hasn't the tag is how to so you say you want to do a video about how to do that or pictures or how to write so you may have some tasks in there that are how to orient it and they may also require some high energy but the overall project if you say hey this is the notebook you know where this is the task and asana this project is high energy than that could be your over action, your context or tag for that so double taxes a solution you don't need to have one tag for every like you don't need to have one context or one tag for every single thing right like clients plus uh fashion right so this is a fashion client in their high end their high maintenance boom boom you've got him that's gonna work in every now like I said, army focus you and I both know having used it that that's not so you have to pick one right? You have to pick one and this this is where I would probably start using what you suggested way and what you were using with a plus and minus right because I can then say you know what the comment I can make one context called um book plus and book minus and all of a sudden that's like book high energy book low energy but it's still the essentially the same context and there's more information added to it so it's kind of similar to how home could be a context and harmony but you could have leaving home and arriving home so that's how it gives you notifications as to whether you're coming or going well attacking with geo tagging again going huge on this army focuses great we've got those resources there but you're you're right like you want to be ableto have uh, something that can resonate with you across your entire work flow right whether you're using an after paper, something that says, oh, I know what this means to me. That's. What the context and their crucial, because without it, you're just going to keep going and not going forward.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Productivityist Progress Planner.pdf
Productivityist Workbook Printable Exercises.pdf
Productivityist Workbook v1.2.pdf
The Productivityist Workbook v1.2 - Mike Vardy.epub
The Productivityist Workbook v1.2 - Mike
The Way of The Productivityist Manifesto Poster - 16x20.jpg
The Way of The Productivityist Manifesto Poster - 8x11.jpg

bonus material with enrollment

Paperless Organization Guide.pdf
The Way Of The Productivityist - A Manifesto.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


Mike's class was chock full of useful information on streamlining a to do list, digitally and by hand. His process seems pretty robust, and extremely well thought out, to provide maximum efficiency and success with the least amount of effort. Granted there is a learning curve, and one must practice to become proficient and use it effectively, but if you are willing to put in the effort there is a major positive impact on productivity. He goes through his favorite apps (he apparently consults with app developers) and why, which was exactly what I needed at the time. Some of his 2nd choice apps may now surpass the others, but he explains clears how to pick the best app for you. I'm a small business owner and I found the class to be quite helpful. Thanks Mike.

Pavel Voronenko

Very interesting class! I would recommend recording it as it based on apps' solutions and since 2013/2014 there are a lot of changes. Al least maybe some wrap-up session. Well done, Mike Vardy and Creative Live team! Jan. 04, 2021


Just finished Mike's course and it was exactly what I wanted and hoped it would be. Nuts and bolts, real life ideas and hands on ways to implement what he shared. If I dedicated the time spent on researching an organizational system on just USING the system, I would be a shining beacon of efficiency. Mike's class and materials helped me let go of the need aka obsession with looking for the Holy Grail of systems and just pick a combo and do it. Thanks, Mike, I'll let you know when I AM that shining beacon of effortless organization...or at least when I quit writing notes on my hand! Great course!

Student Work