by Bernie Goldbach in Leiria, Portugal
I AM COMPLETING a short advanced programme with RUN-EU and started sharing my research methods with colleagues. I depend heavily on advice I got from Tiago Forte about the PARA method. The acronym PARA stands for Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives. I believe this concept is best explained by Maggie Appleton in her Medium post "Building a Second Brain: The Illustrated Notes".
I started culling gigabytes of digital flotsam from my life, attacking the digital hoarder gene that rules me.
I have too many spinning plates that require my attention. These projects take more than one action step to complete. I have failed to earmark each project with a clear deadline so when I invoke the PARA method and impose a deadline, my mind gets clear thought space.
According to the PARA method, "area" represents "long-term commitments with the singular goal of improving specific areas of your daily life" so that's me and physical fitness, work-life balance, and educational credentials. Unlike Projects, Areas usually don’t have set deadlines.
I have hundreds of resources. Most of them are inside collections of books, articles, notes, and transcripts. With the help of Readwise, my Resources appear very well-organised.
Most of my digital items are in the form of information I've saved that often is of questionable archival interest. So I'm reducing its presence to a simple time-stamped text string and often deleting the original image, video, or sound clip from my cloud storage. I'm trying to ignite a local data repository that I can manage with on-board AI and search tools.
I don't think I've persuaded anyone in Portugal to adopt the PARA method--but simply writing about it makes me feel like I am mastering the flow of information in my life. I've discovered most people are more interest in how the external skin of my PARA method works (e.g., the generative AI powered by Mem.ai and OpenAI services inside Obsidian). I'll explain more about how I skin my second brain in another blog post.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches digital transformation on the Clonmel Digital Campus for the Technological University of the Shannon. Bing Image Creator produced the PNG at the top of this post.]
BONUS LINK: Tiago Forte -- Building a Second Brain