The CORA story, a system & methodology
You're on holiday in a delightful little fishing village, and have just found a beautiful handmade cup in a quirky little shop down by the wharf.
You find the muted colours and texture appealing - it feels nice in your hands. You purchase it, and as the shopkeeper packs it up, you imagine sitting at home sipping your morning coffee from it, and remembering the holiday.
A few days later you arrive home and unpack, and the cup gets washed and finds its place with your other favourite cups. The next morning you enjoy your first coffee from it and remember the sounds and the light dancing on the water in the harbour.
Was there any effort needed to decide where it belonged? Or where to look for it the following morning? No!
The same applies for that new underwear that goes in the top drawer, or the new shoes in the closet, or the lawn rake that goes in the garage or the garden shed.
Now imagine if your digital information system was this easy? Imagine always knowing where new information belongs, and where to find it when you need it next.
The story of CORA
CORA is a radically simplified way to manage information. It helps people know where to focus time and attention, and ensures they have at hand the information needed to take the next self-evident action.
It's a cloud based software that makes it obvious where to store any important information you might or will need to reference again. The key is explicitly stating the obvious connections between each new piece of information, and one or more existing pieces of information. Like building a neural network with your digital assets.
I deliver the CORA template during a series of carefully structured coaching sessions, that ensure you get the most value from it.
So much information, via so many channels!
90% of the digital information in the world today, has been created in just the last two years!
Files in One Drive, in Teams, in Google Drive, in DropBox Photos & videos on your phone Text messages Conversations ... - someone tells you something, or suggests you look up something, as it’s relevant to a current project you've been talking about.
Email messages Attachments in emails Web browsing and research YouTube Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Signal And on, and on . . .
If it’s come across your path, and you sense it has or could have value, but you leave it where it is, you know you’re in trouble, or potentially missing out on an opportunity!
By now you realise you won’t simply remember where you saw it, and will likely waste inordinate amounts of time scrolling, searching and looking for it when you need or want it later.
So if it's of value why not take a moment to capture it into a single personalised system, that ensures it will be at hand, when it's needed and its value can be extracted.
Information resources can yield their value over and over again, and can even increase in value, depending on the moment.
It’s time to become a guardian of your digital resources.
What does this mean?
Acknowledging that the human brain can only hold four things in mind at one time, more on another article about this soon, let’s define the four (connected) places that can store all your information.
AREAS of responsibility
These are equivalent to the rooms in our houses. You knew immediately and naturally when you purchased the mug, that it goes in the kitchen, the underwear or shoes in the bedroom, or the lawn rake in the garage or garden shed.
Now think of all aspects of your life, and all the things you are responsible for maintaining and advancing. These are the AREAS in CORA.
If you click on the ▷ top level areas you’ll see the next level of detail.
It might surprise you when you make your own list, just how many areas there are.
PROJECTS are where the work gets done
These are the actions that maintain and advance each AREA
At any point of time we will have multiple incomplete projects on our plate.
- Has a clearly defined outcome
- Requires multiple tasks to be completed in order to reach that outcome
- Has a desired or required completion date
See this article for more on projects.
These support the PROJECTS and AREAS, and can come in many forms:
Spreadsheets, PDFs, images, videos, text based documents that might be articles, agreements, research papers, Standard Operating Procedures, recipes, receipts, proposals, manuals, reference materials, insurance claims, and so on.
This fourth location is a page is where you can build your own information tools (pages and databases) that support AREA'S strategies, and PROJECT'S actions.
The databases often contain pages that can be referenced anywhere across the system. Things like a PEOPLE database, connected to an ORGANISATIONS database, or MEETING NOTES, HABIT TRACKER, TASKS, and so on.
Capturing and connecting
The most common scenario is that you will want to store a new piece of information into the system as as a resource.
You've sensed it has value, and now need to connect it with an existing project you’re working on.
However, if there is no current project to connect the new resource with, it can be connected to an area. Having made the connection(s) between the informational resource and one or more projects, or areas, you will be able to find it easily when you need it.
About the creator
I'm a pragmatic technologist and have been working with computers for 40 years. I’ve always sought to answer the question of how to get them to work better and do more for us, and meet the challenge in our information abundant world, of having relevant information surface in a timely fashion.
Some years ago I read a book called "A beautiful constraint" which gave me an appreciation of limits or constraints. So when this idea surfaced of having just four places to store all digital information, I went to work.
"The goal is to make things as simple as possible, but not more so." ~ Einstein's razor
I went through dozens of iterations, always seeking to find that perfect balance. Now that a growing number of people have tested CORA in real life, I know it works!
This is tremendously rewarding, because I’m holding a vision for a better world and a desire to help thousands of social enterprises achieve many more great outcomes, supported by a radically simplified approach to information management.