The key idea of Matterlist is to focus your attention on relevant tasks you can do right now. Contexts are one of the tools that will help you do that. Contexts let you automatically show or hide tasks in your Today view based on conditions, which may be external (such as location or weather) or internal (too tired, feeling energized etc).
There are two kinds of contexts in Matterlist: automatic and manual. Automatic contexts can become active or inactive based on external conditions such as location or weather. Manual contexts can only be activated by you.
Here's an example of how an automatic context can be useful for you. Suppose you have a task: “Vacuum the floor.” Since you can’t vacuum the floor unless you’re home, you don’t need this task to be cluttering your Today view. To automatically hide “Vacuum the floor” from your Today view, you can define a context @Home which will activate based on your location. Just attach this context to the task, and from now on it will only be visible when you’re at home!
Manually-activated Contexts are useful too: for example, you can have a @BrainGone or @LowEnergy context and attach it to tasks that don’t require too much brainpower. Activate it when you’re feeling tired or lazy, and spend your low-energy moments in a more productive way.
Using Contexts in Matterlist
To use contexts, you must first define them in the Manage Contexts view:
After that, you can assign contexts to tasks. These tasks will appear or disappear from your Today view depending on whether their contexts are active or not:
When the contexts you assigned to your tasks become active, these tasks will automatically appear in your Today view:
There is a convenient context switcher that lets you quickly activate or deactivate contexts right from your Today view. This is useful for activating or deactivating manual contexts, or for "peeking" at your tasks that are currently hidden due to their contexts being inactive: the context switcher lets you override any automatic context to appear active or inactive:
To create a context, you must first choose whether the context is automatic or manual. For automatic contexts, you must also define the conditions under which the context will become active:
Conditions are the building blocks that automatic contexts are made of. A condition is basically a question that can be answered "yes" or "no" based on external conditions:
- Am I at home? (Yes / No)
- Is the current time between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM? (Yes / No)
- Is the weather sunny? (Yes / No)
Each context can have multiple conditions. For example: "I'm outside town" and "The weather is sunny" and "It's a weekend." If a context has multiple conditions, you can also specify whether all of these condition must be active (the "and" logic), or just any one of them (the "or" logic).
Conditions can be inverted. For example, inverting a condition that activates when the current time is between 10:00 AM and 11:00 PM makes it activate when the time is outside that range. In the example below, the condition on the left is not inverted and the one on the right is inverted:
Here's an example of how inversion works on Location conditions. The condition on the left is not inverted: it activates when you are at the specified location. The condition on the right is inverted and activates when you are not at that location:
Condition Logic (And / Or)
When a context has multiple conditions, you can specify the overall logic for context activation. If you want the context to activate when all its conditions hold true, select the And logic. If you want the context to activate when any of the conditions holds true, select the Or logic:
Manual contexts are already implemented in the current beta version, but they are a bit cumbersome to use. Since the Context Switcher is not yet present in the Today view, you'll have to navigate to Manage Contexts every time you want to turn a context on or off.
Automatic contexts are partially implemented. You can only use one condition per context, you cannot invert the condition, and location and weather conditions are not yet implemented. However, there's a test condition that can make your tasks "blink" in your Today view every 5, 10 or 30 seconds -- go ahead and have fun with it!
We plan to fully implement contexts in the coming months, after we're done with Reminders. Please subscribe to our updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get notified when contexts are available. Stay tuned!