The ClearContext Information Management System

We’ve said it many times before, if you don’t have a process for managing your email, you’re not being fair to you or your customers.  ClearContext is a great enabler for various popular efficiency methodologies such as those developed by authors like David Allen, Michael Linenberger, Sally McGhee, and others.   One of our key focus areas with v2.0 – the ClearContext Information Management System – is to provide a flexible framework that helps you be more efficient working with whatever system or methodology you use to process all your tasks and information, whether that be your own personal system or one developed by a methodology expert like the ones mentioned above.  We also plan to provide tools and enhancements to ClearContext that help users of specific methodologies really get the most out of ClearContext.

To that end, we recently met with Michael Linenberger, author of Total Workday Control, a really useful book/system on email best practices.  We’ll write more about TWC in the future, but we’re very excited about the opportunity to provide some views and other tools that will help people really leverage ClearContext functionality while following Michael’s best practices. 

A number of ClearContext users are fans and followers of David Allen’s GTD system and have already started taking advantage of the ClearContext 2.0 functionality within that methodology.  Here are a few comments from some of those beta users about how they use ClearContext to help them optimize their personal productivity approach:

In Getting Things Done you learn about the tickler file. … ClearContext v2 allows you to defer a message by a number of days, or to a specific day and time. This has come in really handy for me for the following types of emails:

  1. I have to follow up on something at a certain date/time. I’ve either asked some one else to do something or I just won’t get to something till later. This acts as a great reminder system. Since my inbox has few few messages in it then I notice these reminders quickly.
  2. Shipping noticed and the like. Typically I want to discard these emails, but I need them for a short period of time. This way I can just make it go away for a while and when it comes back I can defer it again, or delete it.

This feature helps me keep both my inbox and my task list clean of clutter. In the "classic" GTD way, you must add such an item to your calendar or task list. No thanks, because I am poor about doing my weekly review, these things get lost in my task list.

I think this feature alone is worth the upgrade. It works well, and helps me manage my inbox.

– Omar Shahine, ClearContext v2 Beta


Outstanding software. For anyone implementing the ‘GTD’ approach – this is a must have.  I have used the GTD plug-in off the David Allen site and this beats it hands down. Why?

  1. The plug-in is robust and elegant keeping everything as just as simple as it can be.
  2. Defer functionality allows me to put a task or email on hold for a set period of time without it fouling up my in-box or task list
  3. The plug-in does not create lots of new views and linked items in by Outlook.
  4. Schedule a meeting allows you turn an email into a meeting with one click. Great for coping with folk who send out invites as email not calendar requests. Also great for when a email thread has got out of hand and needs a face to face.

– Christopher Kenyon, Comments in the ClearContext Corporate Weblog


If you are considering GTD – then you will like alot of the new features in V2…  I find it is much easier to keep my inbox low and focused on what needs to be done. It is very easy to file the messages to the appropriate folders and now that it has the features to delegate, or create tasks or create appointment or follow-up on a sent message – this now has all the features I wanted.

– BJ Burlingame, in the ClearContext User Forums


Please send us your stories on how you use ClearContext to get through your day – we love to hear the feedback!

One comment.

  1. Using ClearContext for Getting Things Done

    Over the last few weeks, a number of our users have posted methods for using ClearContext as a vehicle to incorporate Getting Things Done into their lives. As we mentioned in a previous post, one of our main goals for