Technology That’ll Help You Manage Honey-Do Lists
Nagging your mate to do household chores isn’t any fun, but it can definitely be made easier (and less annoying!) by using everyday technology.
While most couples have relied on sticky notes to communicate in the past, they’re quickly being replaced by new technology and reminder apps designed to help couples more easily manage their household, according to Lisa Haisha, a relationship coach and life counselor.
“Over 6,005,000,000 Post-it notes are sold every year, but how effective have they been for you and your partner as reminders?” ask Haisha. “If you’re anything like me, the Post-it notes are less than effective. It’s hard enough reminding ourselves of the extensive to-dos on our own list, let alone the delegated list that we require our significant other to accomplish.”
Every couple is different in terms of how they prefer to divide up responsibilities. “Everyone has a system—whether that system works or not is the bigger question,”says Haisha. Fortunately, many of us have ‘smart’ tools to remind us of our goals right under our nose and we don’t even realize it. Here are 5 easy ways to help you streamline your joint to-do lists:
Lori Prapas and her husband have made the time to incorporate new technology into their lives and are glad they did. “We use a shared Google calendar to keep track of pediatrician appointments and bill payments,” said Prapas, who has an infant son. “There’s also the option to make a to-do list on a shared Google document. We don’t use that, but I can see how it might be helpful to people in need of a system to delegate tasks.”
“A good portion of the population—and most likely your partner—has a smart phone with a slew of apps that come with the phone itself for reminders and calendar bookings,” says Haisha. For instance, apps like the iPhone’s Siri allow you to simply tell it to remind you to do something. “If there are items that I need to remind my husband about, I simply take his phone and tell Siri to remind him to call the plumber at 2 pm, pick up our daughter at 3:30 pm, grab groceries at 3:45 pm, etc,” explains Haisha. “He’s grateful for the reminder, and I’m grateful he remembered to charge his phone before he left home!”
There are a number of other apps, like SimplyUs and Avocado, that are free to download and allow partners to share calendars, to-do lists, grocery lists and even photos. Cailin McGuinness and her boyfriend Mike have found the Couple app to be particularly useful since they have different work schedules. “I find the grocery list function to be extremely helpful since I can’t call Mike at work,” says McGuinness. “With this app, we’re able to keep a mutual list so that if I stop at a store, I already know what he needs.”
Keeping lists simple is also important, and there are apps that can help, according to Haisha. “Long lists are often intimidating, especially to men, I’ve found, so adding a visual element to your to-dos can make the tasks seem reasonable and painless,” she advises. Apps like Google Keep add a Pinterest feel to your items by color-coding them, alternating their sizes and adding check boxes to them inside each quadrant. “There’s no question that this simplifies the brain’s ability to differentiate one task from the next, and it adds breathing room to the process.”
“Even if it’s not your turn to drop off the dry cleaning…send your partner a text stating ‘I’m headed by the cleaners. Need me to take anything of yours?’” Your partner may or may not realize they’ve shirked, but now it’s on record,” says Campo. “If the cleaning doesn’t get done the next week, you can send another nice text like, ‘Sorry, is it my turn this week?’ Of course, now this chore is stamped, timed, and dated.”
Evite.com isn’t just for sending party invitations. It can even be used to remind your partner of household responsibilities, says Campo. “This is for bigger chores, not for picking up milk,” he recommends. “If the car needs to be inspected, send an Evite that will automatically get added to your partner’s Gmail or Outlook calendar. Set it for a time that works for them and send it at least a week in advance. If all goes well, the reminder pops up just as your partner is leaving work.”
As a last resort, you can always entertain your partner into action with an e-card, advises Haisha. “No one likes doing chores, and people like being nagged even less, so I make it a point to make it as painless as possible and add a little humor to the process.”
Haisha suggests using a site like www.JibJab.com, which allows users to easily send hilarious animated messages to their partner that will take the edge off of doing chores. “It really puts the ‘friendly’ into your friendly reminders.”