OK, I am done here. I have cleared off my desk at work and at home, and I have finally selected my set of tools.
I will be going the software route, though I also plan to print out useful items and carry them with me. In an earlier life I was an actor, and any professional actor will tell you that you must NEVER be more than an arms reach from your resume and head shot. As I transition to writing, I have adapted that to NEVER be more than an arm's length from paper and pen. I have finally accomplished that by printing a calendar or todo list on the back of something I have already printed on, and I fold that into thirds (like a letter about to be put into an envelope) and stick it into my pocket.
After having tried just about every existing to do list manager (no, really, I think I got to them all) I have finally decided to use Evernote.
Here's how I set it up:
1. Produce keyword category "@ context"
2. Make subcategories (@ call, @ work, @ computer, @ home, etc.)
3. Right-mouse click on each category and activate keyword filter using name of category. For example, "@ work" category is set to automatically assign any note with the phrase "@ work" to the @work auto category.
(To assign "@ call", I entered the words "@ call,@ phone,@ telephone" so that I can use any of those terms to assign the @ call category.)
How to use it
Collect all your to do items ( I use the single to do template rather than lists)
as you review the list, add keywords to indicate what project they belong to, and where they must (or can) be done. Just type the keywords anywhere in the note
If you like, you can also add words indicating priority, or urgency, or even energy required. (I also have a category for "@easy" and for "@hard". )
The auto keyword category system will automatically categorize the note into "@ computer and @ work". Need items to complete while "at the computer"? Click on the @ computer category line, and all notes with the @ computer text will appear. Obviously, it's easy to select >1 category if required.
What really makes this work for me is the intersection panel. During the collection phase I develope a practical list of all my "next actions" and I can quickly limit it to where I am and even to how much energy I think it will take, which gives me a menu to select how I will spend the next 15 or 20 minutes of my available time.