I mostly use the default contexts list. It’s not a coincidence that David Allen still recommends these. Sure, you have to remix them to your liking, but you also have to define clear edges for each of them so you’ll know which one to use at which time.
Here are mine:
- Nearcut: my day job, which is mainly development. These tasks require a different mindset, so it makes sense to group them.
- Freelance: yet another computer context. I have a bunch of freelance projects that I do as a side job.
- Decoding: I write a blog, record podcasts, and such. Next actions that require a deep work mindset, but not related to work, go here.
- Computer: I can do general things (admin, web browsing etc.) at my MacBook Pro or my iPad Pro. Sometimes I have specific next actions for a specific device, but it’s rare.
- Crafting: next actions related to keeping a Zettelkasten system maintained (kinda like my Budget context). These actions usually link to notes (and sometimes project plans, mindmaps) that I want to develop further and add it to my slipbox which I keep in Craft.
- Budget: a helpful one when I’m doing YNAB, or I have to do something on my bank’s web app.
- Calls: calls (and sometimes messages).
- Home: to have something to do when I’m not at any of my computers.
- Errands: well, errands to run.
- Groceries: a shared groceries list with my wife.
- Agendas: I keep people and meeting related agendas here.
- Waiting for: Stuff I’m waiting on from people. I add the date as well to each of these reminders and review them every other day.
I also keep a list of lists that collects all of my next actions list, my Read/Review lists, my video, and audio-related lists as well (Apple TV, Netflix, Prime Video, Podcasts). Why do I have this? Because I want to keep track of which list is for what, so I keep clean edges in my system (and easily create posts like this).