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PARA Method Notes

Put personally relevant information in Areas, and generally useful information in Resources (allows you to share notes from your resources without having to comb through for any personal information).

As yourself: When would you like to face this information next time?


  • Rule of thumb: max to 10-15 projects.
  • Pay attention to goo titles for a project

“Any outcome you’re committed to that requires more than one work session to complete”

Write desired outcomes in the present tense to project yourself forward in time to when the outcome you are describing has come true (For example, Project: Schedule doctor’s appointment ⇒ Outcome: Back pain is resolved and I can sleep through the night without discomfort)

Add a date

Language patterns

We’re looking for a verb that describes DONE: finalize, submit, deliver, complete, send, clarify, organize, update, implement, resolve, submit, reorganize, design, roll out, install, set up, publish, or complete

If you are using verbs such as manage, oversee, ensure, or maximize, it is probably an ongoing Area of Responsibility, not a Project

About Goals

  • A goal without a corresponding project is a “dream”
  • A project without a corresponding goal is a “hobby”

Areas of Responsibility

  • The roles you take on in life and the hats you wear (Spouse, Mother/Father, Team Leader, Soccer Coach)
  • The ongoing standards where the buck stops with you (Product Development, Company Newsletter, Legal)
  • Things that take a certain amount of constant attention (Exercise, Finances, Apartment, Pets)
  • Require ongoing or repeated actions now or in the future


  • Finance - Managing your money well does not have a finite end-date
    • Standard: e.g. Pay the bills on time
  • Monthly reports
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Travel
  • Friends, Kids
  • Home
  • Health
    • Standard: A commitment to exercise and eating vegan and healthy food
  • Learning


  • Catch-all for anything that does not belong to a project or area
  • Are not especially actionable right now
  • Interests (web design, crowdfunding, woodworking, frisbee golf, bio-hacking, books, meeting notes, favorite quotes, music, pictures)
  • Themes (psychology, politics, leadership, integrity)
  • Assets (stock photos, typography links, marketing swipe file, product testimonials, code snippets)



  • keep it to a max around 9 notes during a week
  • when filing - go via P ➡ A ➡ R and ask in what way that might be useful
  • review in weekly review session

Flow of items

From Projects

  • ➡ AREAS: A project can become a long-term, ongoing responsibility
  • ➡ RESOURCES: Scan the “intermediate work” (brainstorms, notes, background research, diagrams, interview notes, etc.) generated during a project that may be useful for future projects
  • ➡ ARCHIVES: Moving completed or inactive projects to Archives for future reference

From Areas

  • ➡ PROJECTS: Information you’ve been collecting may be useful to a new project you started
  • ➡ RESOURCES: If you realize a note that you thought was only relevant to you can also provide value to others
  • ➡ ARCHIVES: Archiving an area that ceases to be active (this applies to relationships)

From Resources

  • ➡ PROJECTS: An interest can become a full-blown project (one of the primary use cases for resource notebooks)
  • ➡ AREAS: When you realize a piece of information in a resource notebook could apply to an area of responsibility in your life

Core Principle of Organization

Organize opportunistically

Avoid heavy lifts at all costs to avoid doing upfront work of questionable value, to avoid sunk costs, and to remain as open as possible to changes in direction

Move quickly, touch lightly

Keep the investment in any given action low to nudge your organizational system in a certain direction while avoiding total commitment

Controlled randomness

  • Precision is only required in the definition of projects
  • Everywhere else, fuzziness is encouraged
  • Don’t create an internal structure for notebooks, use a standardized template for all notes, or even use a common naming convention

Complex systems have to be grown, not made

An organizational system can’t be deployed all at once, it needs to start as a small seed that gradually unfurls and evolves to meet the changing needs of its designer

Focus on outcomes



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