When it comes to organizing your files, think Goals, Roles, Interests, and Treasures and you'll understand the PARA system.
Why it Matters:
When you are learning a new skill, It helps to have some mental hacks, like scaffolding to hold ideas. Tiago Forte's PARA system is useful, but the acronym itself doesn't easily explain anything. PARA means:
Most people don't know what we mean by Areas and Resources. I find most people understand the GRIT a little better. GRIT stands for:
- Goals - what I need to get done soon.
- Roles - the many hats I wear (and can't easily take off or get rid of)
- Interests - what I'm curious about
- Treasures - The weakest of the four words, but still work that has value and might be used again in the future.
You can still use PARA if you want, the names of the folders are not important. The main thing is that you organize by TIME and OUTCOME. For me, Goals & Projects are things I want to get DONE. Roles (like areas) are on going aspects of my life and my focus is on how I want to show up. They are relationships, not things. Interests aligns better with my curiosity and future than resources (to me). And while I will admit Archives is a better explanation of how to treat old projects, roles, and resources, Treasures gives it a better acronym and conveys there is value contained in these folders.
It doesn't really matter what you call any of these things, what matters is that you have a consistent, easily understandable way of thinking about how to organize your work.
The easiest way to get started is:
- Make four folders everywhere.
- Move all your Folders into a Master archive folder with todays date.
- Start fresh
- Only pull out what you need from the archive and put it where it belongs.
This is scary for most people but once you try it, it is liberating.
Organizing work for time and actionability may sound daunting at first, but becomes invaluable the more you use it. To remember your system, think GRIT - Goals, Roles, Interests, and Treasure by asking these four questions:
- Am I trying to get it done now?
- Is it related to how I need to show up soon for someone else?
- Is it something cool I might use in the future?
- Is it a valuable piece of work that I have finished and it is part of my past?