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P.A.R.A. Method

The PARA Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information

Projects always fall into Areas. A few examples:

Running a marathon is a project, whereas Health is an area
Publishing a book is a project, whereas Writing is an area
Saving 3 months’ worth of expenses is a project, whereas Finances is an area
A vacation to Thailand is a project, whereas Travel is an area
Planning an anniversary dinner is a project, whereas Spouse is an area

The bottom line here is, define your projects, or they will define you. You’ll be constantly pulled and pushed into the projects of others, and find that even when others offer to help you with yours, you won’t even know what they areю

It operates according to three core principles:

The first principle is that it uses the number 4 as a guidepost. The entire hierarchy is four categories wide (projects, areas, resources, archives), and no more than four levels deep (using Evernote as an example, the levels would be: application > stacks > notebooks > notes).

The third principle is that P.A.R.A. preserves and actually enhances the most important distinction that any productivity system must make: between actionable and non-actionable information. Making this distinction allows you to set aside 95% of the information coming your way, to focus on the 5% necessary for the task at hand.

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