10 Fun New Ways to Use Your Backlog

We’re always looking for fun and creative new ways to use Wrike. The backlog may seem pretty straightforward: stash stuff in there for a rainy day, or if you follow Agile, use it for sprint planning. But there are actually quite a few interesting ways to use the backlog that you may not have considered. Here are 10 different ways to make the most of your backlog:

1. Track High-level Goals. 

Not everything you put in Wrike will be tied to specific projects or individual action items. Keeping quarterly goals, product ideas, and long-term plans in the backlog makes it easy to remember the big picture and see everything you want to accomplish — which can help you prioritize wisely. And if you put these items on your Wrike Dashboard, they'll never be “out of sight, out of mind.” When life gives you a window of opportunity or the stars align, you can instantly say, “Now’s the perfect time to _____!” 

In the same vein, you can use these backlogged goals as parent tasks. Create every actionable task as a subtask to at least one goal. This shows which long-term effort the work is supporting. Using the backlogged goals this way will help make sure all your time is devoted to worthwhile efforts.

2. Complete Creative Projects. 

Compose song lyrics or creative writing pieces in your backlog, letting them marinate until inspiration strikes. They’re always at hand when the perfect lyric or headline pops up, and you can take full advantage of the Time Slider (revision history) tool. Since Wrike tracks every keystroke and lets you revert to previous versions, you can let your creativity off the leash and just play without worrying about losing any of the good stuff. The revision history slider is also a pretty cool way to get a timelapse view of your unique creative process. 

3. Write Routine Lists. 

Keep track of wish lists, grocery lists, movies to watch, books to read, bands to check out, and more in your personal backlog. Once they’re in Wrike, it’s easy to share these lists if you choose, and you can view them from your mobile devices

4. Plan Trips and Events. 

Say you start planning a trip to one of the destinations on your backlogged “Travel Europe” bucket list. You can easily create a folder to keep track of the growing number of details like itineraries, confirmations, packing lists, maps, guides, and more. And since it’s backlogged, your info is always at hand when you need it (like at the airport). 

The same goes for planning events: a task called “Plan Jen’s Surprise Party” can easily grow into a folder with invite lists and RSVPs, menus and recipes, gift ideas, music playlists, and more.

5. Stash Your Read Later/Watch Later Items. 

One of my personal favorite uses for the backlog is to make it my virtual back pocket. I often come across interesting articles, videos, and TED Talks that pique my curiosity while link surfing, typically when I’m researching an unrelated project, or a link shared by a colleague or friend. It’s the kind of stuff I want to keep for reference, or save to peruse when I have more time. Instead of bookmarking it or emailing myself the link, I use the Wrike Chrome Extension to automatically create a task in my dedicated "Back Pocket" folder of Wrike. I backlog the task, take a screenshot of the page if I want, and always have it right there to look at later.

6. Store Your Knowledge Base. 

The backlog is the perfect spot to keep useful tidbits, whether you’re logging personal reference items (think Emergency Maintenance numbers, contact info for doctors and dentists, a list of good babysitters, that article on magical baking soda cleaning solutions) or sharing professional ones like notes on competitors, administrative passwords, routine IT/troubleshooting tips, vacation schedules/PTO request forms, best practices, and templates. 

7. Track Inventory (Like a Librarian). 

This one we picked up from our customer Tisso Naturprodukte: make Wrike your office librarian! If your office has a stash of books to borrow, you can easily keep track of them using the backlog. Here’s how Tisso Naturprodukte’s system works: each book gets its own task. When someone wants to check it out, they assign it to themselves and set a due date for when they plan to bring it back. Once they return it, they unassign themselves and clear the due dates again. You can also use folder tags to keep track of equipment or supplies, tagging backlogged tasks with their specific location or status.

8. Keep Agendas and Meeting Minutes. 

If you have upcoming meetings with clients or colleagues, the backlog can be a great place to stash agenda items or reminders for things you’d like to bring up. If they’re shared agendas, two mouse clicks can bring someone else into the loop. Now you can avoid that nagging “I know I was supposed to talk to her about something” feeling, and use the backlog as your personal book of reminders.

9. Log Research

Some projects just don’t conform to a set timeline. Long-term, ongoing research is one of them. Instead of trying to shoehorn these items into rigid deadlines or constantly rescheduling them, simply set up a backlog of tasks. Log every piece of acquired knowledge as a backlogged task in your "Project Research" folder, then rearrange your tasks to create a mind map. You’ll be able to see all the pieces of the puzzle, make new connections, and organize your thoughts or process. A new breakthrough could be just around the corner!

10. Collect Personal Interests/Reminders. 

Keep a running list of potential weekend activities, personal best mile times, good habits you want to pick up — anything that’s ongoing you want to track or be reminded of. I like to keep a task at the top of my backlog widget on my Wrike Dashboard called “Sit Up Straight!” It catches my eye every time I check my Dashboard and reminds me to work on my posture. Once I’ve kicked that bad habit to the curb, I can replace it with a new one. 

Your turn! How do you use your backlog? Share your genius tips in the comments!

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