PARA 8 Core Principles of Digital Organization

Its similar to how kitchens are organized – mise en place

  • The goal is to arrange actions in time and space (preparation) so that the chef can follow a precise series of steps (process) while remaining fully attuned (presence) to the subtleties of each dish.

Eight Core Principles

  • Organize by Actionability
  • Organize Opportunistically
  • Move Quickly, Touch Lightly – avoid heavy lifts, small + dynamic better
  • Controlled Randomness – Projects must be precise, everything else should be fuzzy. Notebooks are like pots and skillets – start them then let simmer while u work.
  • Complex Systems are Grown not made à Galls law “all complex systems that work evolved from simpler systems that worked.” Cant guess at ultimate structure
  • Focus on Outcomes. Don’t get caught up in organization for the sake o f it. Subordinate all to outcome. Guard projects carefully
  • Fail Gracefully. Folder structures can drift apart, where notes are kept is not so important
  • Shallow Heirarchies. Only stacks, notebooks and notes. Nowhere to hide. Notes resurface and interact.

Magic of Starting over

Here’s a thought experiment: what would you do if all your digital files were automatically erased every year? No matter which backup solutions you employed, it would all be gone when the clock struck midnight on December 31.

I think you would start putting a lot more effort into showing your work. You would spend the absolute minimum amount of time gathering research and raw material, and more time sharing your knowledge and helping people solve real problems. I think you would get a lot less particular about your organizational hierarchies, which note-taking app you use, or the endless debates about plain text versus rich text.

So Get PARA over with quickly and move on to creating and doing in real world.