Completing all the necessary tasks as an adult isn’t easy, and it becomes even more difficult when you add children to the mix.
Paying the bills, doing laundry, washing dishes, picking up toys, scrubbing toilets, going grocery shopping and caring for children can take its toll. The workload is rarely evenly divided up between spouses, which can cause potential disagreements or tension within a marriage.
In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled “Can Making a Game of Household Chores Improve Your Marriage?” one couple decided to turn the daily monotony of necessary household tasks into a healthy competition.
Normally, I’m against competition within a marriage — you’re on the same team, after all. However, this activity seems fun either as a one-time activity, or one to do once in awhile to keep each other in check.
So how do you set up your own household chores game?
Assign points for household tasks
Together, decide how many points each job is worth. You’ll need to include cooking, paying the bills, laundry, taking out the trash, cleaning up kid messes, walking the dog; and try to plan for other catastrophes that may occur, such as caring for a sick child (cleaning up throw up in the middle of the night, anyone?) or having a toilet flood the bathroom. Each task should have a point value assigned based on difficulty. Perhaps one point for easy, two for medium and three for difficult tasks.
Decide the duration of your game
You may want to do this for a short period of time, or a longer one for a more accurate assessment of how you normally divide chores.
Find an effective way to track your points
You can do this with a chart at home, a Google doc, an app or any other way that works for you. Complete a task, record your points, and tally them at the end of the day. Seeing where you are compared to your spouse can be eye-opening, and inspire the spouse who is doing less to help out more the next day.
Plan a reward for the “winner.”
What good is a fun competition without a prize at the end? Find something to reward each other with after all points are accumulated. The couple in the WSJ article chose to divide up $600 based on the percentage of points earned. But, you can do whatever works for you. Whether you choose money, a spa day, a night off-duty, purchasing a new “toy” or any other incentive, make it something you both will be encouraged to work toward.
When your fun competition is done, you may be able to see more clearly where you need to improve around the house. You may even want to apply this idea to other aspects of your life. “This type of gamification — where points create an incentive — has been applied to dieting, fitness, education and office work,” suggested the WSJ article.
But be sure to use this as a tool to work together more to succeed together in your marriage.