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 bubble up, and resentment kicks in.
A 2007 Pew Research Poll revealed that “sharing household chores” ranks third in importance to a successful marriage, trailing only faithfulness and good sex.Sharing household chores ranks third in importance to a successful marriage, trailing faithfulness and good sex. Click To Tweet
More recently, an online survey (3000 respondents) found that a staggering 25 per cent of people who were divorced attributed the reasoning to “disagreements about housework”.
So there you go, house chores are a big deal, and evidently, can ruin your relationship!
Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll feel inspired to try a shared to-do list app to effortlessly get things done at home with your partner, in harmony.
Domestics = friction.
Maša and I have been living under the same roof for over eight 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 the team.
That’s the first mindset shift. We needed to stop thinking of ourselves as individuals who have different responsibilities, but a team that works in unity.Stop thinking of you and your spouse as individuals who have different responsibilities, but a team that works in unity. Click To Tweet
So what’s the system? We kept asking.
The to-do list 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 started to push the boundaries of how to use the app.
Quick note: We don’t promote anything on The Minimalist Vegan that we do not believe in and 100% love. We are not linked to or are getting anything from Wunderlist for this post. We have just found this tool to be super helpful in our relationship.
After doing some research, 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 our fridge, it’s not very handy when we’re out of the house and we 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, Maša will see that it was added on her phone pretty much immediately.
So we started trialling 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 we needed to buy.
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, car maintenance 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 Maša needs me to 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 your spouse can see when you’ll likely get to it. This eliminates the problem of wondering when things are going to get done.
Another one of our favourite functions of Wunderlist is the ability to leave comments on 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 continually 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.
One exciting 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 internal 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.
We love Wunderlist so much that we created an online video course called Productivity For Couples, to show you (and your spouse) exactly how we’ve built our system over so many years.
Do you have any useful suggestions on how to run a household, where everyone feels involved and appreciated? Leave your comments below.
Note: this entry was last updated on 16/6/2019 from original post on 17/3/2015.
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