Backlog – a word and practice that I learned two years ago in August when I became a Certified Scrum Master with Agile in Nonprofits. If you don’t know what Scrum is, I recommend checking it out ….. It is a process that I love, and don’t have the time to explain. I am also much better at Breaking Scrum than I am at using Scrum on my team of JustMe. 

A backlog is an organized task list that is tied to a project. It includes estimates of time and effort. Where the whole team can see it, it is also subject to continuous evaluation and evolution. The project team is presumably growing and learning, and the project goals are becoming clearer and closer. 

Of the many things that I love about a Backlog, the idea of strategizing and putting tasks in an order that works toward an End captures my sense of vision. The accountability and honesty required toward completion nurture my calm. I love that scrum includes building in margin for interruptions and other unexpected pauses and extensions. Scrum is meant to build a team and to grow momentum rather than nurturing grind culture. 

In case you missed it above, I break scrum. Scrum is for teams. I am one person. Sometimes there are two of us on our team. I also look at my WHOLE life as the project. Which, if we are honest, is not a project that can have a completion date. It is a lifelong goal and value that I will continue learning and growing – neither has a measurable completion. 

When I covered the dining room table last Friday and did My Brain Clear – I poured out everything from cat care to writing goals. It was all over the place – my values and hopes were scribbled alongside quilting plans. 

I left the BrainClear on the table and stepped away for the weekend.

When I returned I noticed two lists that I could populate as I moved from a Clear to a Beginning (next week). 

Chores, Habits, Projects, Play, Hobbies

Notice that Work is nowhere on the list. I think it might be couched between projects and play. And I’m not sure if it is useful to list it. 

Me, My Self, My Roles, My Values, My Purpose, My Priorities, My Joy. 

I have an inner critic that says “that list is awfully self-centered”. Ssshhh, I tell her.

The main points of a Brain Clear and a Backlog is to give you strategy and space in your life – like a Tetris game. Sort the tiles into categories that are workable for you. In Scrum, if it is on the backlog, it is measurable. So something like renovate the kitchen is only a starting point. Likewise, ‘organize the dessert forks’ might be too specific. Break down the big ideas to bits and bytes. 

And next week, I will write about the final magical B. Beginning. (It’s not really magical, but it does require the magic of you.)