Should you use PARA in Obsidian
I recently read Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain and I think that book has a good explanation of the PARA method and the CODE Method, but should you be using PARA in your Obsidian vault?
I think the PARA system is good and has merit, but no I don’t think it is a great fit for Obsidian or your modern graph PKM systems because it is not flat enough. A file can only be in one folder and I think that makes sense in a traditional file system, but one of the benefits of Obsidian is that the structure of your files emerges through the references and use of that note via your graph database. To force a traditional folder structure here is limiting the benefits of that system and creating unnecessary effort in maintenance by moving files from folder to folder.
One thing I do use from the PARA method is having a projects folder and enumerating those at the top of Obsidian. This helps me to keep focus on what I should be working on instead of meandering around my garden. Don’t get me wrong, I still do plenty of that, but I’m working to have a bit more intention when I’m in the garden.
I could see tagging or backlinking your areas so that you could produce a dashboard or dataview of them, but I have operationalized my Areas via my task manager, in this case Akiflow, as that’s where I’m going to make sure I meet my expected standard there.
In my opinion, everything in your garden is a resource, so no need for a folder for that.
For me, I avoid the archive in hopes of repurposing any of these project notes as a document in my public garden, but I could see if you are a major user of fleeting notes putting those into an archive.
So I’ve mentioned that I don’t think PARA is a perfect fit for Obsidian, but that doesn’t mean that it is not useful. It has been amazing in organizing my Google Drive, I recently consolidated and organized all of my local documents and cloud files and I feel very good about PARA for this.
I also use the Arc browser and that also lends itself very nicely to the use of PARA. I have contexts for my different environments (Personal, Work, moc/YouTube) and projects for each. I can see Areas and Resources working here. If you would like to see more about the Arc browser and how I use it, let me know down in the comments.
If you’ve implemented PARA in your life, I would love to hear about your experience and what has worked and what hasn’t. Feel free to DM or email me.