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GTD, Contexts, and “Break/Fix” November 2, 2005

Posted by Gary Slinger in GTD, Time Management.

In a discussion, the comment was made:

“I’m getting there. […] Break/Fix messes with it some, but it’s a help.”

To which I offered my reply/opinion/advice:

It shouldn’t – other than possibly leading to an occasional long day… Break/Fix, at least the way I look at it, is just another context.

  • You’re busy working away at something from your “@Office” context, because there’s nothing on your calendar right now.
  • Something occurs that needs you to stop, and go do Break/Fix.
  • You return to your desk (or, you stop doing whatever remote-control you were doing, etc. This is one of the reasons Context is a good thing to think about – it isn’t necessarily a location thing, it’s a what am I working on thing).
  • If you generated any new Next Actions as a result of your break/fix work – they go into the system.
  • Right – anything on the calendar? No – OK, time to go home yet? No – OK, back to context thinking.

The risk is that whatever you were working on in that @Office context is something that’s actually due today, and it’s now 16:30. One argument would be that last week’s Weekly Review (because you did do a Weekly Review, didn’t you? 😉 would have identified the upcoming deadline, and you’d have booked hard-time into your calendar to work on it. Cool. But then the counter-argument is that break/fix comes along and you don’t get to use that hard calendar time. That’s where my “occasional long day” comment comes in – that’s just an unfortunate aspect of Operations. The underlying reality is that most ducks are smart enough to build slack time into any deadlines they give you, and if you genuinely couldn’t do something, because of break/fix, you can probably use that slack time.

Or stay in the office until Midnight



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