How To Be A More Productive Couple At Home

productive couple

The problem in most households is getting things done where everyone feels involved and appreciated. In other words, being a productive couple. It’s easy to get caught up in how much you do versus how much he or she does. It’s like everyone is secretly keeping score. This friction builds, and eventually, arguments come bubble up resentment kicks in.

An online survey of 2000 adults revealed that couples fight more over who cleans the house, does the cooking and washes up than anything else except money.

Nearly two-thirds admit they argue over chores at least once a week. And one in five people knows a couple who row regularly or have broken up over the issue.

So there you go, house chores are a big deal, and can potentially ruin your relationship.

By the end of this post, you will learn how to effortlessly get things done at home with your partner, in harmony.

Domestics = friction


Masa and I have been living under the same roof for four years now, and for the first 2-3 years, most of our arguments stemmed from domestics. You know, cooking, cleaning and running errands. I couldn’t believe how wiping your plate could turn into such a big deal. But these little battles build and manifest until things get ugly.

Our friction came from having different expectations in the house. Who is going to do what, and when? We tried timetables, daily lists, emails, cleaning days; you name it.

But there was still this feeling of unappreciation and constant messiness.

Things were slowly starting to work themselves out, but it still didn’t quite seem right. It felt like we were 60% there. We’re not ones to sit back and wait. We needed a system that would keep track of what needed to be done and to hold us accountable, not to each other, but to the team.

That’s the first mindset shift. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as individuals who have different responsibilities, to a team that works in unity.

So what’s the system? We kept asking.

The app that saved our household


I had been using a simple task management app called Wunderlist for my business, and I enjoyed using it so much that I took a short course on how to maximize its features.

Just a quick note: We do not promote anything on The Minimalist Vegan that we do not believe in and love 100%. We are not linked to or are getting anything from Wunderlist for this post. We have just found it super helpful for us in our relationship.

During the course, I learned that Wunderlist could be used for running a grocery list for the household. This got me excited because even though we loved our paper shopping list which lived on the fridge, it’s not very handy when we’re out of the house and remember that we need to buy something.

Wunderlist is on your phone which is with you pretty much all of the time. It also syncs instantly across all devices, so if I add a shopping item to the list, Masa will see that it was added on her phone pretty much instantly.

So we started trialing the software as a means to manage our grocery list. It was an absolute hit, and I stopped getting in trouble for not being proactive enough about what needs to be in the house.

I stopped getting frustrated that the foods I wanted in the house weren’t getting bought. Either one of us can do the shopping without having to check in to see what we needed, cause the list was always up-to-date.

By the way, the “ding” sound that the app makes when you tick off an item is arguably better than crossing off a task on your to-do list. Big statement I know, but you have to try it!

As our grocery list was such a success, we started thinking about how else we could use this app to streamline our household. The next thing was errands—which included things like donating old clothes, fixing computers, etc. So we created another joint list to manage our chores.

The great thing about Wunderlist is that you can allocate tasks to members of the list. So if Masa needs me to do scan my paperwork that’s on the desk, she can create a task and allocate it to me. When I open the app, I can see that I need to scan my documents.

You can also set a due date and reminder for each task. This is great as you can look at the week ahead to see what needs to be done. If it’s unrealistic, you can reallocate the times, and the other person can see when you will likely get to it. This eliminates the problem of wondering when things are going to get done.

Another great function of Wunderlist is the ability to leave comments in tasks. We often have conversations with each other in the comments section. It’s so much better than talking because we’re forced to be succinct when we write to each other. It’s also less personal then constantly asking each other to do things, which can get irritating for both parties.

The last thing I want to mention is the power of goal lists. For example, you can create a shared bucket list of things you want to do before you die, and watch yourself tick off some major dreams!

It’s also great for compiling song lists, articles, and other bits and pieces. Here’s a quick overview of how Wunderlist works:

One interesting thing I’ve noticed about this method is that we’re getting way more done than we were before, and we really feel like we’re on the same team. We spend less time talking about what we need to do, and more time doing it.

The path to being a productive couple


If you feel that there’s some domestic friction in the household, give Wunderlist a try. It’s completely free and is simple to use. I know it has changed our relationship and we’re better for it.

Do you have any useful suggestions on how to run a household, where everyone feels involved and appreciated? Leave your comments below.

8 comments… add one
  • I love a good list and have always used Evernote to keep things in order but admittedly they can become a bit of a mess! Will definitely check out Wunderlist, thanks for the rec 😉

    • Hey Tegan, we also found that Evernote got little messy as a task list. Let us know how how you get on with Wunderlist 🙂

  • Chrissie 18/03/2015 Reply

    OMG! I think you’ve just provided a solution to my problem – living with (almost) adult kids. Their phones are ALWAYS with them so no more ‘Sorry mum – I didn’t see the note’ excuses. Thanks guys xxx

  • Steph 18/03/2015 Reply

    Love this post, gonna try this App ASAP! Keep up the good work 🙂

  • Mark 28/03/2015 Reply

    I was a big fan of Astrid, until Yahoo killed it.
    Then I switched to Wunderlist and was hooked by its simplicity, great UI and smart layout. They recently added folders which really helps keep your growing list quantities in check.

    Using it with your SO to manage groceries, household chores and family priorities is amazing! WL is simple, non-tecchie, and works great on tablets and phones. So it crosses the bridge between people’s different styles, focusing on simplicity and GTD.

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