This article is also available in Dutch


Imagine for a moment the perfect organizational system. One that supported and enhanced the work you do, telling you exactly where to put a piece of information, and exactly where to find it when you needed it.


This system would have to be:


  • universal, encompassing any conceivable kind of information from any source
  • 普遍性,包括任何来源的任何可以想象的信息种类
  • flexible, able to work with any project or activity you take on, now and in the future
  • 灵活,能够配合你现在和将来的任何项目或活动
  • simple, not requiring any time-consuming maintenance, cataloguing, tagging, or reorganizing beyond a bare minimum
  • 简单,不需要任何耗时的维护、编目、标记或重组,只需要最低限度的维护、编目、标记或重组。
  • actionable, integrating seamlessly with task management and project management methods
  • 可操作性,与任务管理和项目管理方法无缝整合
  • cross-platform, able to be used with any application, now existing or yet to be developed
  • 跨平台,能够与任何现有或尚未开发的应用程序一起使用
  • outcome-oriented, structuring information in a way that supports the delivery of valuable work
  • 以结果为导向,以支持交付有价值工作的方式构建信息
  • modular, allowing different levels of detail to be hidden or revealed, depending on the needs of the current task
  • 模块化,允许根据当前任务的需要,隐藏或显示不同层次的细节
  • opportunistic, in the good sense, taking advantage of work already being performed, instead of requiring dedicated overhead time
  • 机会主义,在良好的意义上,利用已经在进行的工作,而不是需要专门的开销时间

I believe I’ve developed a system for organizing digital information that meets all these requirements. After several years of introducing it to a wide variety of people, I’m confident that it works. In this post I will attempt to show you how.


P.A.R.A. stands for Projects — Areas — Resources — Archives, the four top-level categories that encompass every type of information you might encounter in your work and life.


Let’s start with definitions. These are very precisely formulated:


A project is “a ...


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