PARA Part 6: Small-Batch Projects for Focus, Creativity, and Perspective

In P.A.R.A Part I, I argued that the Project List was the lynchpin of modern productivity, serving as a dashboard of your current commitments and the bridge between actionable and reference systems.

But formulating a Project List is also one of the most difficult exercises for most people to complete. And I’m not the only one to notice. David Allen has written:

“One of the most bizarre phenomena I have encountered in 30 years of working closely with some of the brightest and busiest people in the world is how difficult it is for most to grasp the idea of what a “project” is and to consistently manage their total inventory of same.

People complain about “too much to do,” and yet most couldn’t give you, in the moment, a complete and accurately defined inventory of what they’ve committed “to do” if their life depended on it.”

The reason it’s so hard to make a Project List is that it’s not just a matter of writing down what you’re currently working on. Hidden inside this simple exercise is a whole new paradigm for what a project even is.

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