Mac Power Users #569: Contextual Computing

5th February 2021

I don’t link to podcast episodes that often here on the blog (maybe never?), but I had to share this episode about contextual computing, since I found it really clicked with me, and I think others may find it useful.

They talk about how you can build yourself processes on your computer which are specific to certain contexts, and allow you to reduce any friction or distraction when trying to complete tasks.

A few examples:

  • Launching your task app and opening a specific project instead of being presented with all of your tasks.
  • Launching a document from a task instead of having to navigate and find it manually.
  • Storing URLS in an easy access location, like a Shortcut with a Show in Menu action with all the links, so you can access them without being distracted on the web.
  • Adding content to a document without needing to open the app, find the document, etc. I use this to save interesting links in Craft that I may want to write about at a later point.

This idea resonated with me a lot, and I think it’s because partially I do this already, although at a smaller scale, and also because it just makes sense.

If you have a project to do, and that project has various tasks, documents, links, associated emails, etc. You can just create a central document in an app such as Craft, that can contain links to all the relevant information. So there’s no browsing to find a webpage, or searching through your email app, all the relevant pieces of information can be collected in a single place.

It might sound a bit weird, but after you listen to the episode I guarantee it will make sense.

David Sparks also wrote a great blog post about contextual computing over at MacSparky, which you should check out if you’re intrigued by the idea.

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