Deciding where to store something in PARA

Back in Building a Second Brain Cohort 12, I created a flowchart for determining where information should be stored in a PARA structure. I thought it would be useful to apply this flowchart to a practical example.

Let’s suppose you took notes from a seminar on things that you may be aware of during meditation. Where in PARA should you store this note?

Before we jump to the flowchart, I want to observe that one topic may be engaging to one person but not another. Similarly, the nature of any engagement may differ from one person to the next. This means that where a single note gets stored in PARA will depend on the individual doing the storing.

So let’s look at a few of the different ways this note may flow through the flowchart.

Suppose you’re following a meditation program that guides how much you should aim to meditate each day over the course of 21 days.

  • Is the note relevant to anything you’re actively working on?
    • Yes, this note may be useful for your meditations as part of the program you’re following.
  • Does the work have a finish line with a deadline?
    • Yes, the program wraps up after 21 meditations over 21 days.

In this case, the note would belong in your Projects. Personally, I would create a folder/note for the project titled “2021 Complete meditation program by December 5”.

Next, suppose you’re trying to build the habit of meditating for 1 minute each day.

  • Is the note relevant to anything you’re actively working on?
    • Yes, this note may be useful for the habit you’re trying to build.
  • Does the work have a finish line with a deadline?
    • No, this habit is meant to be on-going and has no deadline.

In this case, the note would belong in your Areas. Personally, I would create a folder/note for the area titled “Meditation”.

Next, suppose meditation is something you’ve researched and tried in the past. It’s still something you’re interested in, but you’ve got too many other things going on right now to prioritize it.

  • Is the note relevant to anything you’re actively working on?
    • No, you’re not currently practicing or actively learning about meditation.
  • Is the note related to any active interests?
    • Yes, you’re still interested in meditation.

In this case, the note would belong in your Resources. Personally, I would create a folder/note for the resource titled “Meditation”.

Next, suppose meditation is something you’ve researched and tried in the past. It wasn’t something that you found useful, and have since replaced the practice with other resources.

  • Is the note relevant to anything you’re actively working on?
    • No, you’re not currently practicing or actively learning about meditation.
  • Is the note related to any active interests?
    • No, you’re no longer interested in meditation.

In this case, the note would belong in your Archives. Personally, I would create a folder/note in the archives titled “Meditation”.

I hope this helps to illustrate how, depending on your personal context, you can determine how to store your notes in a PARA structure.

2 thoughts on “Deciding where to store something in PARA

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