I think I enjoy Scrum too much, how can I adopt it to my own life?


You need a certain love for planning and tracking to be interested in this method of following your passion. Well, I do.

I approach my many interests and moderate obligations using a method inspired by software engineering scrum. As product teams using the scrum, we break down our work into epics, stories, and tasks. So, why not use a similar technique to navigate the busy modern life?

One might say, "Because it's a frustrating overkill." I know, I know. It would be for many. But if you need to jot down what’s going on with your life and organize it all, it might not be an overkill for you. It wasn't indeed for me.

Life Projects

For me, life is a set of projects. So, I manage it by breaking them down. The first layer is the "projects" itself. Projects are major life categories. One way to categorize them is the wheel of life method. Mine is different, but I follow the same logic. These are my life projects that need tracking:

  • Research and development
  • Sports
  • Art and culture
  • Skills and crafts
  • Life and well-being
  • Family and friends
  • Hygiene and beauty
  • Payments and savings

Once declared, they shouldn't need to change anytime soon; they're the fundamentals.


Sub-projects are the high-level children of the life projects. For me, cooking and learning languages are sub-projects for skills and crafts. Yoga and dance are the sub-projects of the sports. Sub-projects must have a "status" to know which ones we pursue now. I use the following types to distinguish between different life sub-projects:

Different status for sub-projects: e.g. Prioritze, paused, in progress, not now

I review my sub-projects quarterly. I go over them, change the status for the modified ones, and prioritize new items if I need them.


Next, we get to the naughty, ever-growing children of the subprojects, the "epics." An Epic is the breakdown of a subproject into different ways of approaching that subproject for me. For example, these are my "fiction" epics:

"Fiction" sub-projects divided into epics: e.g. fantasy, mystery, theme-based.

I use a similar set of status types to manage the epics. I review my epics monthly and decide which epics I want to pursue the following month. This way, I don't get overwhelmed and self-critical when I stop following a personal goal. I consciously postpone a pursuit to another time and focus on something more important. I can always re-prioritize an epic at a later time.


This is an optional part. Stories are time-based children of the epics. If I have a deadline for an item or I'm pursuing a limited-time effort, like reading a book or taking a course, I use a story to track that.

Similar to the previous chunks, I have a status for stories and refine them weekly.


After all this breakdown, I shortlist a set of sub-projects and epics each month so that I can focus on them during my free time and not worry about the rest. I create stories for some of them if I need. But most importantly, I create the atomic "tasks" for them to achieve those goals in a SMART way.

Tasks are the eventual reason this system works for me. I ensure each prioritized epic has at least one starter task to kick off that epic each week. I add some properties to the tasks to help me choose the best candidate to pick up next:

  1. Add the new tasks to the bottom of the list and pick something from the top (oldest first task) to avoid recency bias.
  2. Specify whether the task is weekend-only, weekday-only, or neither and decide the next task based on the day. This helps me see the work-related items highlighted during working days and time-consuming personal items on weekends, rescuing me from some unnecessary anxiety by hiding the irrelevant tasks for the moment.
  3. Define how often I'd like to do a task. See, my tasks list is also a habit tracker for me. I re-create a task for the recurring ones as soon as I complete them. If I want to do something several times a week, this is a sign to pick up a new one every day, even if it's not at the top of the list.
  4. Check when the task was created. I try to follow a weekly cycle of tasks.** So, if a task has been there for over a week, it's a sign that I should get it out of the way.
  5. Use a calendar next to my list and move the completed items to the respective day. This motivates me greatly. Besides, it's a handy overview.

My tasks list in the left with properties to show the created time, frequency and schedule. With a week calendar on the right showing the completed items on each day

The tool

To implement the system, I used a powerful, yet user-friendly tool, Notion. Notion can create advanced lists and link them together. Although this post is not about my exact implementation but the mindset itself.


I've been using the personal scrum method for a year or two. It's flexible and powerful. The breakdown works just perfectly for me. I can place something new somewhere between the sub-projects, epics, stories, or tasks whenever I fancy something new.

However, even with such a system, I struggled to pursue my interests in baby steps. The number of different to-dos overwhelmed me. I knew the important epics for me but didn't know the exact steps to pursue them. You see, I didn't use the tasks that well before. I only used it for emergency tasks. But it's been a few months since I created a task for each work-related task, habit, long-term passion project, etc.

With this top-to-bottom approach of settling on the "epics" and then breaking them down, I can contribute daily to my goals without feeling anxious about the big picture. Because reviewing the big picture is my quarterly, monthly, and weekly task to see what I'm doing with my life.

The complexity of this system opened many possibilities for me to expand it to meet my needs. It looks like it will continue to work for me for a considerable time in the future. This is the system that helps me turn “new year’s resolutions” or “activities on a whim” to long-term goals and viable results.