Did you see that Recent New York Times Article on the “Stressed, Tired, Rushed” nature of modern households? It’s easy to get into this pattern where you feel totally under water, succeeding at nothing and falling further behind every day. Turning that around may be a simple matter of seeing visible results. We’ve designed Tit for Tat to focus on positive, visible results. You can’t do it all, so be sure to recognize and reward what you are doing.
1. Notice and Appreciate
Getting a task done can actually have a net negative impact on your sense of productivity when it goes unrecognized. If you clean the whole house and it goes unnoticed, it probably feel more like a waste of time than a triumph of productivity. That’s why Appreciation is critical to a productive relationship. While it may feel unnecessary or even awkward at first, telling your partner that you noticed the clean kitchen makes that effort worthwhile. You’ll understand the first time they tell you they noticed that you vacuumed the graham cracker crumbs out of the crevices of the car seat.
2. Add Done Items to Your To Do List
If you get a thrill and slight buzz from crossing items of your To Do list like me, you probably already know that you still get that buzz even if the item was just done. Particularly if you view your list as a way to gauge how productive you were (See #3 below), you may find it helpful to add “Take Trash Bins Out” to your list even if you just did it.
3. Focus on What’s Done, Not What’s Left
A long and growing To Do list can be discouraging, particularly if you just crossed out “Decide if We’re Going to San Diego for Thanksgiving” and then added 6 more items to plan the trip. Rather than focusing on all the things you haven’t done, judge your productivity on all the things that are off your list.
4. Enjoy Rewards More When They’re Earned
Did you know that people tend to enjoy things more when they wait for them? Especially when you have a long list of things you should be doing, sometimes it’s hard to enjoy your leisure time. One of the central mechanisms of Tit for Tat is tying productivity to rewards.
Instead of feeling like you’re going out to dinner when you should be doing your taxes, feel good knowing that you’re going out to dinner because your taxes are done.
5. Set Aside a Time
A lot of tasks that come up in a relationship are decisions that involve both partners. Set aside a time, once a week, to quickly make a yes or no determination on anything that requires explicit discussion. It’s far more productive than texting randomly throughout the day, and you can come out of a half hour meeting feeling like you’ve made progress and ready to switch gears and enjoy being together (hint hint).
6. Break Impossible Tasks Into Possible Ones
Daunting tasks like “Buy new house” cause a lot of stress. One of the oldest productivity tricks in the book is breaking big tasks into smaller ones. You don’t have to buy a house all at once in one sitting. But buying a house requires a lot of intermediate steps that you make progress on.
7. Use a Shared Calendar
You don’t want your relationship to become too business-like, but you also don’t want to always be shouting “I told you we had brunch with the neighbors today!” Set up a shared Google calendar or invite each other to events that you both need to be aware of.
8. Tempt With Rewards
While “choreplay” may or may not be a real phenomenon, a little extra encouragement never hurts. Whether it’s a picnic in the living room, or a “naked alarm clock” (both actual rewards in the Tit for Tat catalog), having something to look forward to can make otherwise mundane tasks more exciting.
Want more Productivity and more Fun in your relationship? Try Tit for Tat