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The Power of Contexts Part 2

Lesson 14 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

The Power of Contexts Part 2

Lesson 14 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

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Lesson Info

14. The Power of Contexts Part 2

Lesson Info

The Power of Contexts Part 2

Yeah, I know you know context because you made it at least that part in the book ah do you use them obviously right, like you've got email is a contact is that a useful context for you? Um I just usually actually use that make sure that I'm getting through all that I need to during the day it's no ness we look at the context I look att ok, this is it's evening time have I done all that I had to do today when you look at his general list and the context happened to be there and you just get it so you look at the larger last great but the contacts do they that would inform you like if you've got a twenty item long list at the end of the day right? Does your contract your contacts have to inform you right? My contacts are like mac or at home or at work so you are using traditional contacts like as in location? Yeah people uh application the applications or whatnot, right? So and so and for some people that's going to work fantastically especially when you first that's what I did when I fi...

rst started and you sitting on a ton of contacts too didn't you? Yeah, a lot of contest so if I run into somebody I know ho hey, I ran into joe so let me ask you about this project and there's, nothing wrong with having I mean people as contacts, I know a lot of people will have many people based context, which makes it sometimes it makes the easier for you actually remember their names and stuff a lot of cases, but I'm over eight when you have a lot of them, especially if you're starting out and that's why we're talking during the break remember, we're talking about omni focus during a break, guys, and you said it's so complex and a song, the same thing and every note, same thing and what happens is is that you go all in, I'm gonna load it with context. It says context are important and of course they are, so I'm gonna give his men and then all the sudden you have all these contexts and all these projects and all, and you're like and that's when you again, you throw that analysis, we have too much of that stuff, then what you're doing is diluting the meaning of all of them, right? You know, like a person using a person as a context I've used before, but I stop because what was happening is I would see how much time I was spending with one person versus another, and that was actually informing me of wood for me of like, should I really be like is this a client really want to deal with? And sometimes it wouldn't because it wouldn't be because I don't want to deal with a client, we're just because that maybe that client didn't require wasn't high maintenance, it was an awesome client, I mean, here she was not some client, but they only three tasks in there because they were, like, awesome for me and then there's one that had twelve, michael this this is persons high mean inside, you know, so it would cause a different type of anxiety so that's when I pare down a bit and I mean, I don't know if that happens to you and it might, but it also depends on how you're dealing with people, right? Like, if you've got your boss and your boss is a context could have a lot of stuff in there, maybe while you have clients, they're going to get smaller. Jamie, did you have something you want? And you know what he said about that? I was thinking maybe, you know, in the contacts you put a subcontract suite, would that be happy? I'm not anytime somebody puts the word sub in front of something I was cringe events like no it's, okay, it's, not your fault that's a big gt thing that I've followed asano uses sub tasks um I don't use them and the reason I don't use them is because to me I go with the general you know, the general idea that a project is comprised of two or more tasks okay, if it's a pride like you said prepare for talk that's a project there's several components to that if I said prepare for talk and had some tasks underneath that, then all of a sudden I'm adding another layer and again there's too many layers means that you're gonna have a harder time grabbing on like you're gonna have a hard time grabbing onto you can put grab tools, you don't have to be like specific buy for example a medium I mean law no sorry norma to high energy, right? So just categorize it like for example, I put a you know, like because I'm affiliated with different groups of meditation I said, okay, this is under this group a group b group siegel, but under that I will know this is personal and this is actually about the practice. Sure. So to me context, if I use them that way, they dilute the value of the context that at the top, so if I was because it gives me reasons to start making member and we're talking about decisions making decisions when I can say I have high energy then I know that I could tackle anything that's high energy it doesn't matter if I say medium to high energy or if I try to really knock it down then it dilutes not just the quality of that context to me but it also it also creates that sort of that you know paralysis by analysis thing right looks like oh I like twelve contacts now now hold on a second let me get the guy your energy geiger counter out are okay you know I mean I'm being glib about it but shin I think that that's a problem is when you start to and that's what a lot of people do though when they get new aps and all that stuff they go okay how can I really zone in on it and sometimes you don't need to really zone in on it because the it isn't what you're trying to zone in on your trying to zone in on you and your aunt and your time and your energy and all that stuff so that that to me is that's why folders agree I've projects and some projects that's fine although again their folders and yes I guess I don't cringe when I don't create well to me they're not the same context to me are not project projects and contacts and tags and and and no books are very different to me because the context and tags apply qualities to the notebooks and folders not the other way around, right? I mean in the new mac operating system mavericks the tags inform you about the file just if it's inside a folder it informs you as well but the tags inform you about the folders like it doesn't really work the other way around, right? Right? Do we have anything in the give us an example? He says, so if you get an email from a client that you need teo that you that you know is high energy and how exactly do you handle that again from like a task management tags and contact standpoint? So if I get an email from aa a client that's high maintenance slash high energy because that's why its high energy or if it's something that requires a really measured response then what I'll do is I will forward it to my task manager of choice whichever amusing using so only focus I'll use dispatch and moving in on me focus or a sawn off its team based I'll assign that again when you do that it goes into your inbox I want to be clear about that it goes into the room your mean inbox you process it from there and I know a lot of people say, well, why am I putting it from my email inbox into another in box? We're gonna get to that an exception for sure? Absolutely but uh what I then do is is when I'm looking at my contacts I going to say hey, you know, oh, I'm feeling high energy right now I'm gonna work on this particular email because I'm going to assign it to a project that also has value and that's where due dates come in right like that's where you'll say okay, this email came and emails are very specific right there like deep specific or whatnot so I'll say I need to deal with this by this date so if it's a female and I look at it because that's what I'm gonna do is I'm going to look at it in my in box and we'll treat my email inbox like any other in box we're going to do it we're gonna delegate it, we're gonna defer it or am I gonna delete it? Oh I'm gonna do it great email right away, which normally means either low energy or I'm already or I'm already at that context I don't need toe add any more value to it at that point differ okay? I need to hold off on this that's when it goes into the task manager of choice delegate means I forward it to the person that has to deal with it and maybe that's what I get to do more often with those eye or delete right? So that's what I'm doing when I'm processing that inbox so if you're dealing with a high energy email or high, you need to actually figure out when it's do when you want to respond by still assigned the context to it if you're gonna be deferring it toe later but don't don't spend a lot of time like product like basically analyzed that while it's in that inbox unless you've said this is the time where I'm going to check email and I'm going to process the in box right, I know that we're gonna get more of that in the next section do we have anything else? Yeah there's first I want to share an analogy that valerie using the chat room that I thought was really great, she says for these kind for the context conversation for me it's like having a book without a table of contents and no appendix and then she has a follow up question to that I guess this is also sort of a request that she wants but she would like to know if there's an app for a program that will show me the project plus tags plus context and have the task underneath that indicate the energy level for each task plus a visual indicator that I can see how much I have completed and how much is left to be done that sounds ideal I don't know if that's out there not somebody's career might be I'm going to I'm going teo hypothesize that there's one that I've looked at before the camera has all those features but the last thing that was mentioned it's called mind jette tasks it's it's not an inexpensive products from what I remember at least part of it isn't, but it does have that wheel that tells you how far along the project is gone and it's team based to serve you're working with the team it works it's not necessarily the the most ideal in terms of pricing for a lot of people, but it does give you all of that information or at least the majority of that information because you write a lot of people do want to see engages of how far they moved along right in a project another one is called ten thousand feet um and I believe kona ko and a dot com also does that. So as I said, just a cz many is there's a lot of productivity's e, you know, uh, blog's out there and sites there's a lot of maps to. So when you're looking for that like that kind of specific request I love because it gives you a lot to go on as opposed to how do I manage my to do list or because when someone ask, yeah, um so what did you listen? What task means you're should I be doing? I'm like, I don't know I don't know what you have anymore information, right? I need to know, are you an analog person? Digital? Like are you working with teams or you not? I can offer you input, but ultimately it's going to be again back to that yesterday, it's going to you to get to that completion is going to be up to you to figure out what's, simple and scaleable for you so that that I think the context are critical. So no matter what, when you decide to go with that would be a paramount importance for me. But the idea of of of something that gage is you as you go along this there's, three examples there, so thank you. Awesome. Um there were he raising your hand go kind of sea of a half question, do everything half way or go ahead, spend a lot of time to make a decision for it could be like whether it could be going to a party or where should I go for dinner tonight? Or should we eat at home or go out? So is, do you have some ideas on how do you make decisions quickly? So you don't waste too much time in making a decision si for me when when you're when you think about decision making like that. Those enter I honestly think those energy level contacts or one of those things where you can like I mean you could decide like dinner dinner was last night's a great example wow good good thing I thought of this good thing because I wouldn't have an answer otherwise um no last night after we can't we finished the event my wife and I want to go for dinner now I know the kind of energy I put out when I do one of these right? So I'm high energy go go go octane to the hills right she's like why would you want to go for dinner? I mean, I'm able to think quickly well what's my energy level like like that's just something I can feel its innate right well feel good I want to eat I have to eat there's no question, but do I feel like dressing up too? I feel like getting really you know or do I just want to go someplace where it's kind of easy peasy? I don't have to worry about getting all fancy and whatnot so that's one way I can for myself is just deciding the halloween party that was taking place downstairs like you want to go to the halloween party you know, like I knew right away like so having that structure and using contexts in away that makes a lot of sense to you and I mean you've got some already that air very I would say mechanical to a certain extent and that's not that's not a ah slam of any sort it's just it's what works right so mechanical sense but I like to have like a bit of an artisanal or craftsman kind of look at it as well where it's like we're spiritually even if you want to go that way where it's like okay, I have these these ones like the apse right asana and errands which are obviously very common but then the energy level kind of lets me go you know what how do I feel what do we want to move forward? What how how well do I feel today that kind of thing so that that helps inform my decisions um and also clearly when you're looking at that larger list that's on your task manager if I see like twelve or so items that also allows me if I'm not thinking that I could go out if I've got like four low energy level tasked on there and I want to go you know what I don't feel I've been I've been able to move things forward as much as I want today cross cross cross get those low energy one's done then I'm down to like eight things like all right I feel good about it now who is the one who said that they feel guilty about you right? So that's going to help you with something like that right was like twenty things remember, we talked about capturing as you're sitting at the you know, going out, but then you take that stuff back to your task manager you've added context to it because when you're sitting, you're adding the context that you've chosen, right? Yes, and then you go back put in your digital task manager if that's what you're here, whatever you're using and then the next time they ask you to go out your life. Okay, let me look at my list let me look at my my task manager oh, I've got fifteen things on here, but five of them are like those housekeeping things that I could probably get out of the way, so they're not carrying over to the next day where they're not going to put me off from doing these other things later boom. So that's about moving those things for its being active because you're moving things forward in a way that isn't just about checking off boxes it's about checking off the right boxes, right and the right boxes we'll change depending on your circumstance and depending on what contexts you assigned to them because what what doing laundry at one day may not may make a ton of sense at that point in time, but doing it you know now I hope you're not chris would not make a lot of sense right? So that that kind of thing it's all about again we talked about this before influence forming you it's all about that inform inform process because the more informed you are the better decisions you could make it a bit of decisions you can make the better the results and that's what we want right this is making sense I see like a look you got it. You got it. Okay, okay. I wasn't sure I was like what are you thinking about your contacts is that what is your client? What do you guys got some what context would work for you guys? Yeah I've been thinking about this throughout and I am a definitely one of those sub context type of brains if you saw my email folders I'm sure your brain would explode I categorize everything to the point where it gets on organized right? So I'm having I'm struggling with this one. I really I think it's one that I need to sit down and really take a look and figure out which were avenue each thing that really belongs in and once we go teo email then that will hopefully help further along well, yeah that's what happens a lot of people, the questions I get a lot of like a uh so email and contacts so everything comes back to that that last closing thing today is, but but what? Email, what about email and context do play a huge role in terms of when where all that stuff, especially with female? Because, like we said, you know, in the papers second or computers or in our pockets, which means people know that they can reach us anytime, anywhere, no matter what, but should they be able to is the question, should they be able to kiss the quest? You have anything else in the chat room before we, uh, I'm pretty much done with unless you guys have other ideas about contacts or maybe you've come up with when I haven't thought about right now. Now now you good, good you chat rooms good. A lot of people are just sharing their personal context with each other, talking about more abs that they've been using and just trying to help one another, but I want to share a couple of these these context people have philip belgium shares his my context are who where the tools needed his main status and things to do, the kind of status and the information so everybody's sharing their own personal way of categorizing this information and adding this to their work flow, and you know what, philip belgium actually had a question for you. Fell into this category he was asking if you break down your tasks into that smallest to do possible um you know a few says or do you use only one task from for multiple to dios um if I mean if it's a project it's a project so if I look at like building building this talk is a project if doing the laundry um that becomes that's that's a little bit different I don't do that whole and I know people who do they go load the hamper bring it down like people some people especially and I've talked to many who like they need that because if they don't have that then there then they don't see the bigger picture of it all and uh but me I don't put you know like for do laundry it's do laundry to me I don't have to do that task necessarily that's something machines doing and it's not something that is really a high energy thing cook dinner I don't put cut vegetables all that stuff so there are certain ones where I consider them to be ah larger task that's made up of parts that I can kind of go with as as on the on the fly and if I did compartmentalize cooking dinner into one I probably wouldn't enjoy cooking dinner as much because then it would become a bit like a bit too clinical sometimes you have to escape that that whole on tethering sometimes you need to disconnect in order to better connect that kind of thing can happen there but when it's something that is that is I know is something that's going to be taking of a longer period of time stretching over hours or days or weeks or months that's when it becomes a project if it's two or more tasks generally I'm turning it into a project I don't have much else for this for this I mean I'm actually when I do this section often talked people contacts you guys wrap your heads around pretty pretty pretty well there's a lot of people it takes me a lot longer so I'm really happy that because it's so valuable toe know what's goingto work and what's not um I think you talked about this yesterday so I don't want to be asking some questions that you answered yesterday but can you use either time for your context or I believe you mentioned the important in urgent pointing but another urgent absolutely if you if that's what's going to resonate with you absolutely you can say you know you can use kept I mean I know someone forget who it was that uses like the initials for like urgent important so you I and you are you know like they'll do they'll use that as their contacts which builds in that priority matrix into their task manager so that when they actually want to use the physical priority matrix they'll do that right in time I'm not a big fan of using time as a context like morning evening, noon, you know, like morning activities, evening tasks, that kind of thing because again I think that that that sets too many limits because you already have the limitation of what the task is somewhat going to entail and then to say I can only do it during this time, you know what I mean? Like what I had in mind was a different use of time like I don't know if you suggest it against this, but sometimes I hear the advice toe when you make a task list also put amount of time that us humans going to take for you to do so like one hour tasks half in our tasks or like five our task, the reason I don't do that is because that can do the same thing to a lot of people that you know just the plain list does to you they go that's going to take two hours I don't have two hours or that's going to take thirty minutes I don't have thirty minutes or I hate scanning receipts that's going to take an hour forget that noise thank you know what I mean when you start putting that when you start adding quantity to that, then the quality is good you're not gonna use either going to non existent for some people or it's gonna be rushed because you want to prove that you could get it done faster or whatnot so I don't really use time in that sense I have try do track time we talked about this in terms of deliberate practice so if you're for editing photos and this is a great this actually great point for anything photos you can say hey, I want to track how long I'm spending anything photos because I want to get to that ten thousand hours that magical you know malcolm gladwell asked ten thousand hours so you can put down and there's apse for that there's one called my minute's on ios that allows you to do that it's all one word my minutes tomorrow everyone's gonna be like okay, mikey gave us thirty thousand abs which one should we use way but you know what I mean? Cal newport he wrote the forward to my book s o uh he's the author of so good they can't ignore you he just uses simple spreadsheet to track his deliberate practice and deliver practice can also be used in terms of you know like that don't break the chain thing right where it's like they have done this have done that you could do that I mean I'm going to talk a bit more about paper tools that allow you to do that as well tomorrow but I generally don't associate like this is how much time it's going to take because then adds that that restriction to me and throw the limitation up there that I don't want to have in my way actually backfires on me and some of the ways I say it'll take two hours and six hours later I'm still editing yeah, all of the releases were like I suck it this yeah tio I read reports book to sow some of the education the education contacts that we're talking about is based on the deliberate learning part and he does say like he uses an excel to keep track of I think like active bets or something how would that translate into going into ever know well again ever known allows you to attach documents within a note, right? So use you would basically put into an ever note note and then is you updated it in so if you're using numbers on the mac right, then it would not then it would update in so it would actually update and yeah, like the documents I mean it's worked for worked for pages the whole eye works we have tested it has worked I mean, they've just done an update so hope they didn't break it please don't break it, but yeah, I mean, so if you if you got a document inside ever now and you update you open it outside of every note, right, and you'll have to do this on the desktop obvious, I don't know if you could do it in icloud like the, you know, the ipad or whatever, but you'll be able to update it and add to it. So, yeah, you could literally if you had new books that we're about deliberate practice, you could have a spreadsheet in front of each one of you because I was doing that last night, and then I got stuck at the xl I don't know just drag that into your evernote not like, make a note, drag it in and try it it works with document files, works through pages and they're all the same architecture's, so it should should work unless unless it's too complex, but I've tested it before, and it seems to work fine, so okay, and you could even use google if you really wanted to google drive google docks? Yeah, so lux put a link to it and never know, absolutely that's enough that's another method if you wanna have, like, just a link in there, but if you want the visuals and try, try the numbers round, but does that work when you're offline? If you're well know, ifyou're off if you're if you're sinking it locally, if you're not doing a sinking across then, obviously, you're using your mac anyway, so it would just think between that notebook. But if you sing, if you have thinking, enable, then yes, it would show up on your on your smartphone or what. What I mean is, if you're working, when you don't have wifi or something else, you won't have access to this over google drive, you know, but I mean, that that's, something to consider, right? If you'll be aware of my aunt, have wifi right now, I can't really look at the liver practice thing. So what you have in your hands, there is gonna be perfect for that, right? Right? Because I don't think it emits a signal as much as we'd like it, unless you want to fold it up in here, you know, awesome.

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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!

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