The P.A.R.A. Method

The PARA Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information

Imagine for a moment the perfect organizational system. One that supported and enhanced the work you do, telling you exactly where to put a piece of information, and exactly where to find it when you needed it.

This system would have to be:

universal, encompassing any conceivable kind of information from any source
flexible, able to work with any project or activity you take on, now and in the future

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PARA Part 2: Operations Manual

Last month I published The P.A.R.A. Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information. It describes a simple, lightweight, yet extremely flexible system for organizing any type of digital information across any platform.

The feedback I’ve gotten has been so phenomenal, I’ve made implementing P.A.R.A. the first unit of my upcoming online bootcamp, Building a Second Brain (BASB). It will be the foundation on which the rest of the course is built.

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PARA Part 3: RandomNote – Building an Idea Generator

What if you could push a button and immediately be given an idea?

Not just any idea. A good idea. An idea relevant to your interests, your goals, and your current projects.

What if every time you pushed this button, you also made it more likely that even better ideas would be surfaced in the future?

I’ve found a way.

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PARA Part 4: Setup Guide

This article is a guide for getting started with PARA, an organizational system for your digital life.

Here’s the 5-step process I recommend you follow:

Step 1: Move existing files to a new folder called “Archive [date]” (with today’s date)
Step 2: Create folders for each of your current projects
Step 3: Move all the project folders into a new folder called “Projects”

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PARA Part 5: The Project List Mindsweep

Welcome to the Project List Mindsweep, a step-by-step exercise to help you properly identify every project in your work and life.

Your Project List is a list of the outcomes or goals you are currently committed to, all in one place. It serves as a dashboard of your current workload, helping you grasp the current progress of your projects with just a glance.

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PARA Part 6: Small-Batch Projects for Focus, Creativity, and Perspective

In P.A.R.A Part I, I argued that the Project List was the lynchpin of modern productivity, serving as a dashboard of your current commitments and the bridge between actionable and reference systems.

But formulating a Project List is also one of the most difficult exercises for most people to complete. And I’m not the only one to notice. David Allen has written:

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PARA Part 7: Creating a Project Network

The Values-First Era at the dawn of corporate America told us that character was the most important thing. If you were a virtuous person, living according to principles and high ideals, you’d be successful. But then the cutthroat corporate culture of the 1980’s set in, and everyone realized they had to look out for their own interests.

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PARA Part 8: Core Principles of Digital Organization

Over the past year, I’ve seen P.A.R.A. implementations of all shapes and sizes. I’ve seen them from every corner of the globe, in languages I don’t even recognize, in at least a dozen different programs, and both digital and physical forms.

Over that time, eight core principles seem to have emerged as fundamental features.

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