Use the PARA Method to Organize Your Life

One of my favorite and most useful productivity methods is Tiago Forte's PARA. Here's how I use it to organize my life and work, plus some unique changes I made to make it more personal.

One of the 10 productivity frameworks that has changed my life is the PARA framework created by my friend Tiago Forte (article link). It's not even just about work; you can have all these different applications for literally any part of your life, and it really has been huge for me in terms of keeping things calm and organized in my work and in my life. So let me tell you what PARA stands for.

PARA stands for Projects, Areas, Research, and Archives.

The first one P is for Projects and Projects are things that have a very definitive end date, deadline, or just specific outcomes; it's not something that's open-ended. When this is done, it's done. Examples could be things like each episode of Connect the Dots, because once I have it planned, I have it filmed, I have it edited, and then it's published, that specific Project is complete.

Now the next phase of this is Areas of Responsibility and Areas are things that are open-ended. They don't have a definitive end date. They're something that you are committed to, you're working on, or is an ongoing part of your life.

This is a big difference and a big distinction in PARA and it's a really important one to understand. You can still have something that is very similar in nature, or maybe exactly the same, but the way that you treat it will distinguish it between a Project and an Area of Responsibility.

The R is for Research. Now, even though it's third in the order of PARA, many projects will begin as Research.

And finally, the other A is for Archive. It's rather simple. Once something is no longer a Project, it's not an Area of Responsibility, you're not doing active Research on it, then it just moves into Archive. If something ever happens where you're bringing the thing you archived back into existence as a Project or a new Area of Responsibility, you just go into your Archive and you pull it back out.

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