The PARA method and the hard facts of life

Personal experience only, not really advice.

I’ve been using Obsidian for almost a week, and adopted the PARA method fairly quickly. Though I didn’t fully understand it until reading about it on Tiago’s site last night.

I had already put half a dozen project folders into my Project folder, but this morning I realized that most of them, if not all, weren’t projects. At best they are hobbies I rarely work on. With little to no goals or tasks.

So I had to face the hard facts of life, that well… I don’t have much of a life. I think that I do, but when it comes down to it, I mostly just F around with daydreams about producing great things.

So, I moved all but two of the “projects” to the ARCHIVE folder.

They weren’t Actionable. Its as simple as that. The two that remain, I am working on setting up actionable goals.

I guess PARA works. At least to some degree. Deceptively simple, but immensely powerful.

Back to work.


The process of organizing our ‘life’ can generate some real insights - well done. FWIW I have “Areas of Responsibility”, “Areas of Interest” and “Projects”. AoR = duties. AoI = hobbies, more or less. And Projects = goal-driven set of actions designed to achieve an objective.


Hi. I took the Building a second brain course by Tiago Forte.

One of the first steps in the course is to move everything to archive. I was really surprised of how few times I had to go back to the archive to resurface old stuff.

Also a project objective can be: find out if this idea is doable by Friday.
Open ended but it provides a goal and a timeline. Then after Friday you can decide if to open a new project with more specific tasks or to simply move it to Archive for example.


Excellent writing by Tiago. All projects have goals. If a “project” has no goal, it’s just a hobby. If a “goal” has no project to achieve it, it’s just a dream.

So where do hobbies and dreams belong relative to the PARA structure?

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I think hobbies and dreams are archived. Sounds cruel, but the system is about productivity. I suppose you could give hobbies a goal and a timeline, some people fish in a nearby river like its a job. Everyday practically. Seems there is a grey area there.

I think PARA discourages the use of folders. There doesn’t need to be a Hobbies and dreams folder. Archive sounds final and closed, but its more like a back burner or a store room. We can always work on notes that are in the Archive folder. Plus its easy to move something out of Archive, work on it, then put it back. I’ve seem other people call the Archive other names. Maybe call it Hobbies and Dreams XD

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