PARA in Capacities

PARA in Capacities

Applying this popular framework in Capacities

Here at Capacities, we believe folders limit our thinking, and we therefore built an app without them. Instead, we think in objects.

But if you have used Tiago Forte’s PARA system elsewhere, you might be wondering how a PARA setup could translate into Capacities.

What follows is a suggestion from the Capacities team. It is not the only option, but it’s one that might help you think through what PARA could look like for you in our tool.

What is PARA

Before we start, let’s define the components of PARA, with definitions from the PARA method.

PARA is an acronym for a multi-platform organizational structure for digital information, created by Tiago Forte.

Taking each component in turn:

Projects- “short term efforts in your work or life that you’re working on now”

Areas- “long term responsibilities you want to manage over time”

Resources- “topics or interests that may be useful in the future”

Archive- “inactive items from the other three categories”

Now we know the definitions, let’s explore how this could look in Capacities.


We recommend using a project object type. We have a template for this available already.

This is a more functional and flexible approach to unifying information related to one of your projects.

This is because you can give your projects some properties, to hold the information you need for every project you have.

For example, using Forte’s definition, it’s clear we need to know the status of each project, and the time each will take to complete. This helps you know if it’s a project or an area.

Based on this definition, we suggest adding the following properties

  1. Start date (date time property)
  2. End date (date time property)
  3. Status property (tags)
  4. Goal outcome (text property)
  5. Project priority (number property)
  6. Related area (multi select tag property)

Once you’ve set these properties up for your project object type, every new project will automatically have them, without you needing to think about it.

Just create a new project, fill out the information and get to work. If you have a predefined way of approaching your projects, you could also make your own template to apply to each new project. This will help you get started even faster!

PARA Projects

In this picture above, you see there is also a large area for you to write in. This is where we can bring related information together about your project, in order to help you complete it.

This is chance to explain a very important point about Capacities: unlike files in folders and subfolders, your content doesn’t live anywhere specific. Objects aren’t moved from A to B, they are just linked to whatever they are useful for. For example, if you have a resource that can help with your project, just link to that resource from your project object with @ or [[]]. Repeat this as much as necessary, until you have all you need to do your project. You can even add notes and tasks in.

PARA Projects and Resources

In this way, the project object (whose properties you’ve just filled in) replaces a project’s subfolder, and the project object type replaces your projects folder. Then, instead of moving materials into a subfolder, you just link whatever is useful.

The result is the same: click on one place to find all your projects, open each project to see related materials. But it’s much more flexible. This method recognises that resources might be useful for more than one project, but with linking, there is no conflict with where materials need to live.

Long term, this is a sustainable and intuitive system that will help you organize your digital life.


Areas are clearly very personal, as are the responsibilities within them.

Some examples of areas are: health, home, marketing. As these are long-term categories rather than types of information, they are well suited to tags- one tag per area. You could even put all your area tags in a collection and pin it for easy access in the left-hand sidebar.

Area tags

Any time you have an object that relates to one of your areas, simply tag it. All objects can be tagged. If something relates to two areas, just tag both. When you click on the tag, you will see all objects tagged with that area. This is a flexible and easy-to-review set up.

Knowledge Management

You could also build some Map of Content type pages in Capacities to give your areas a hub, similar to how the project objects act as a hub for all objects related to it.

For example, you could create an area object type, where you’d have a Health Area object, a Home Area object and so on, or you could use pages and make a collection of areas. Do whatever makes sense for you!

To make it like a hub for this area, you could embed the area tag. This will automatically update as you tag more things.


But the real advantage is that you also have a place to write things down directly about that area. This is great for brainstorming, planning, reflection and many other things.

Pro users could even add queries in that look at all projects related to an area.

PKM Projects

But Capacities gives you this flexibility to explore which layouts, processes and workflows work for you. No need to worry about the rigidity of a folder structure here.


Your resources are probably going to be lots of different types of information, presented in various formats, about lots of different topics. There is huge variation here, but Capacities’ tags are a very user-friendly, long term solution for managing such information.

This is because tags can be applied to any object type. So If you have a PDF resource, a useful image, a list of notes that are all resources for later, all you’d need to do is tag each one as #resource. You could combine this with your area tags too.

This way your resources are very easily linked to three things

  1. their type (pdf, image, page)
  2. their PARA category (#resources)
  3. their related area

Well linked resources

This gives you lots of ways to resurface this resource, without having to find exactly where you put it in a folder structure. Why decide where something has to live, when it can simply show up in multiple places?


Archiving is assigning a status to your information, so this status can apply to anything in your space. Just as above, the best mechanism for dealing with information like this is a tag. Therefore you can have a tag called archive.


Simply tag any archived objects (be it projects, areas, pdfs, pages or other) with #archive. If you no longer wish to see these objects in your object types, add a filter like this:

Archive Filter

If you didn’t want an archive tag, but were using tags elsewhere, you could simply untag whatever is no longer relevant to you. Then it won’t show up when you’re looking through your areas or resources.

This is a quick and easy way to make sure you’re only ever seeing the important, relevant information in your Capacities space.


Finally, Tiago Forte also talks about having an inbox. This is another use-case a tag can help with. This time, #inbox.

A common inbox workflow in Capacities is to pin your inbox tag, and review it once per week.

Simply remove the inbox tag when you have processed the information, replacing the inbox tag with area tags, a resource tag or anything else!


An example

If you have previously used an app based on files and folders, this will be a new way of working for you. So we created a video walking you through how you might set up PARA in Capacities.

But here’s another example.

Say you come across a useful article online that you think could help you in your job for an ongoing project. You probably have areas for your job, such as marketing.

This article is particularly useful for the marketing area. You can save the link to Capacities as a weblink object. This automatically saves the title of the webpage, the url, and an image. On top of this, you are able to tag the weblink and add notes to it.

This is great, you can tag this new weblink with #marketing and #resource. Next you can go to your ongoing project, and @ the name of this new weblink. Now it’s embedded in your project page where you need it, and it’s available as a resource, and it’s related to this area of your job!


Overall, the PARA method is a popular way of organizing information that can work very well in Capacities. In order to find success with PARA in Capacities, it’s important to adjust thinking about folders, subfolders and files, towards the more intuitive approach Capacities offers with objects in a network. These are two of the three core pillars Capacities is based on. We suggest making good use of tags, which are a flexible structure for categorizing and organizing your objects.

Whilst this might be a change from what you’re used to working with, we are confident that you will find our alternative intuitive and sustainable in the long term.

We hope this article helped you consider if PARA could be right for you in Capacities. It just works. Try it for yourself!

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