PARA System: Tips for Managing Messy Files Using It

The file management method that I want to discuss is called the PARA system, which stands for Project, Area, Resource, and Archive

For some people, managing digital files is a troublesome task, perhaps because they are already messy. The hard disk storage space is full, even though you delete several files regularly. Difficulty finding files when needed and what is even more bitter is losing memorial files.

Yes, actually I also feel everything mentioned above. As a content creator, I produce tens of gigabytes or sometimes more than 100 gigabytes of files every month. So, how do you deal with files that keep piling up?

The file management method I want to discuss is called the PARA system, which stands for Project, Area, Resource, and Archive. This concept was developed by Tiago Forte, author of the book ‘ Building a Second Brain ‘.

Managing Messy Files Using the PARA System

In simple terms, we will create four folders as main categories. Then identify all the files we have into these four categories. This method can be widely used to better organize all digital information, but here we will focus on managing files. Let’s discuss these four categories.

Folder Project

In this folder, we will place active tasks that are currently being worked on. Usually there is progress, goals, or has a deadline. When I start working on a product review, I will create a new folder in the project folder, for example with the device name ” Samsung Galaxy A34 5G “.

Inside that folder, I will create several more new folders. Such as photo 1 to save sample photos of the Galaxy A34 5G, photo 2 to save device product photos, video 1 to save device videos, video 2 for edited videos, and so on as needed.

Folder Area

In the folder area, we can put important or responsible files that will be needed from time to time. For example, various kinds of important documents, such as scanned ID cards, passports, family cards, and so on. 

Apart from that, I also placed a portfolio of photo and video works in the area category. The portfolio has been edited or at least filtered.

Folder Resource

As the name suggests, in this folder we will collect resource materials that will be used later. Files or raw information of interest, which can support or be relevant to the current project or future projects. 

For example, design assets, video animations, copyright-free audio, unedited photography hunting results, and so on.

Folder Archive

Lastly, this archive folder acts as storage for inactive or completed projects. Most likely these files are no longer needed but need to be kept just in case for a certain period of time. Until finally I will delete it forever to free up hard disk storage space.

Yes, managing these files will be a troublesome task at first, as you will have to manually group files in large numbers. No need to rush, you can do it in your free time for a few hours every week.

Apart from managing files on my computer, I also use the PARA method to organize my notes in the Google Keep application. This note-taking app from Google doesn’t have a folder feature but we can use labels instead.

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