The PARA Method

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.

Tiago Forte.

Yes, we are sticking with Tiago for a bit more. He has a secondary system that is vital for building a second brain called The PARA Method.

This one is simple,

P = Projects, anything that is a couple of tasks or more that aims to achieve a goal. Better yet, a mission statement.

A = Areas, areas of responsibility that doesn’t have a completion date. The things that matter to you the most in life.

R = Resources, everything you need to achieve your projects, this can really vary though the common factor is that it is useful. And sometimes essential!

A = Archive, everything that you have completed or became irrelevant, though you want to have it for some random day.

This is a powerful system for organizing your digital nomad life, and spans across all the digital tools you use. Not just that, It links them all and brings everything together to form your second brain.

The four top-level categories that encompass every type of information you might encounter in your work and life.
The PARA Method, Tiago Forte.
The PARA Method, Tiago Forte.

Enjoy the read and feel free to start building today, I started with an empty sheet of paper. I first identified my areas, then started mapping out all the different projects that mattered to me under them.

This was a mistake, go for the opposite. Draft out all your projects and the areas will reveal themselves. Why, cause life is all projects. And you need to start thinking like a project manager.

If it’s one step, then it is a task. If it’s two steps or more then it is a project. And every project has an ending point. But if it doesn’t end, then it is an Area. An area of responsibility with a defined mission, meaning, If your projects are not aligning with your mission statement. Then don’t waste your time, because they really don’t matter. To you that is, and we only have one life to live. So make it count!

Here’s the advice I got from my friend, exactly as I received it:

Have fun and remember it is about capturing everything then processing when time allows. How you prioritize your tasks and projects will depend on the one thing that makes everything else irrelevant / and the things that serve the mission statement you have per area.
Be flexible. Try different things. Make using things* a habit to make sure "nothing" falls through the cracks.

*Things is a digital task management tool, my preferred choice for the moment. Sadly, it's an iOS only app though Todoist would be the Android equivalent and just as good. These digital tools are build on the philosophy of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen.

📚 Additional Resources

The P.A.R.A. Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information is the original article and main point of reference. Dude, you got to read this. There isn't a way I can explain it better than the original author himself.

Project People vs. Area People: Are You Running a Sprint Or a Marathon? is an article Tiago published comparing projects vs. Areas. This will provide you with insights into how to approach the system and not get lost like I did in the beginning.

Inside Ali Abdaal's FULL Second Brain System is deep dive video into Ali's full set of Second Brain tools, what I like to refer to as a 'digital ecosystem'. They illustrate it in such a nice way where the system is visualized.

PARA Cheat Sheet is a summarized infographic highlighting The PARA Method in a simplified approach.

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