PARA System Basics

project is “a series of tasks linked to a goal, with a deadline.”

  • Examples include: Complete app mockup; Develop project plan; Execute business development campaign; Write blog post; Finalize product specifications; Attend conference

An area of responsibility is “a sphere of activity with a standard to be maintained over time.”

  • Examples include: Health; Finances, Professional Development; Travel; Hobbies; Friends; Apartment; Car; Productivity; Direct reports; Product Development; Writing

resource is “a topic or theme of ongoing interest.”

  • Examples include: habit formation; project management; transhumanism; coffee; music; gardening; online marketing; SEO; interior design; architecture; note-taking

Archives include “inactive items from the other three categories.”

  • Examples include: projects that have been completed or become inactive; areas that you are no longer committed to maintaining; resources that you are no longer interested in

Two modes of thinking

Projects require you to be laser-focused, to ruthlessly drive toward an outcome, to smash through or circumvent obstacles, to ignore distractions (i.e. people). Areas, on the other hand, require mindfulness, balance, flow, and human connection. This is the realm of habits, routines, rituals, and intentional communities. Areas require introspection and self-awareness, because determining whether or not you are meeting your standard is an intuitive exercise, not an analytical one.

Define your projects on a blank piece of paper. This same list can be used across tools (To Do list, Evernote, iCloud, Google Docs)

PARA keeps items at their proper level of actionability. Focus on active projects day to day, zooming out over longer time horizons (weekly or quarterly reviews)