Great little article! Thanks.
I wanted to share my thoughts briefly (or not!).
I find it helpful to remember that a Context is not an Action. An Action is a verb - a 'doing word' (if you remember from elementary school). A Context is a Constraint or Condition which when true means you are able to 'do' the action.
E.g. Reading is something you do - an action. The Context might be @Library, @Home, @Office (if reading work related books/articles), @Vacation (for your once-a-year thriller novel), or @Train/Bus.
I also wanted to point out that an Action also has attributes that help determine the Context, and consequently which 'Context-based' Next Action list the action in question is added to (or categorised with). As mentioned in the example above, @Vacation Context would be applied to the action of 'read novel XYZ' in your inbox - this is the 'Process' step of moving that action into the Context-based Next-Action list '@Vacation' from your 'Inbox'.
One last thing, I think it is very useful to learn and understand the difference between 'tagging' an action with a contextual category and 'filing' an action into a hierarchical 'folder-type' task structure, such as the folders and sub-folders in Outlook, for example. Hierarchical information storage systems do not fit well with the true nature of 'stuff'. It is much more of a mesh (and mess!) than your directory/folder structure.
Hierarchy, when analysed closely, is actually a representation of a 1 dimensional attribute: 'location' - i.e. location within the hierarchy. To understand what I mean, goto your PC and look at the 'filepath' of any file in the 'Address Bar' (or equivalent in Mac/Linux etc.). It is a 1-dimensional 'line of characters'. The window through which you view it simply creates 'branches' whenever that 'path' differs between items (or files/[sub-]directories).
E.g. 1: "C:\Programs\ApplicationX\Filename.exe" is a 1D string which is an attribute.
E.g. 2: "Tasks\@Library\Read book XYZ" could be a representation in Outlook of your Context-based Next-Action list called "@Library" with the action item "Read book XYZ" if you manage Next Action lists using sub-folders under Tasks (hierarchical). It would be here if 1) you didn't own it, AND 2) didn't know anyone who did, AND 3) your knew or guessed the library would have it, AND 4) you really want to read it...
In my thinking, the most useful system would allow you to 'tag' (add) as many Contexts ('categories') to an action list item as necessary, and would allow you to view or sort actions by Context (category). Therefore, I think a better way of using Outlook is to create Contexts using Categories, then applying all relevant Categories to your items (tasks/emails/appointments/note etc.). When you view each folder, you can Group- and Sort-by Category...and there is your Context-based Next-Action list.
But that is just me and my logical brain...what do you all think?
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