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Word's Most Productive Husband

8 Relationship Hacks for Better Productivity

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


We Can End Nagging In Our Time

It is thought that the word “nag” derived from a Scandanavian word that meant “to gnaw or bite.” And how appropriate that is — when we’re repeatedly asked to do something, even in a gentle way, it can feel like an attack. Hey, did you remember to pick up some milk? sounds more like Hey, I think you’re the type of moron who would forget to pick up the milk. Moron. The implied assault on our character is that much worse when we did, indeed, forget to pick up the milk.

Imagine a world where nagging was never invented. In this world, you have a clear understanding of the individual level of importance that every request from your partner carries. He never feels like he has to ask you anything twice. You never feel like you’re being attacked or criticized. What would it feel like to truly be on the same page, to actually assume good intentions, all the time?

We may never arrive at this ideal. A part of me will always be frustrated that my wife will spend more time complaining about her iPhone battery issues than it would take to go to the Apple store and have them fixed. But let me paint a picture of how life works with Tit for Tat (signup for our beta here!) Using Tit for Tat, the more we get done, the more we feel like a team and feel like we’ve “earned” time for fun. The more we have fun with each other, the more positive we feel and the more we get things done.

My wife’s car needed new wiper blades before a road trip we were going on. I don’t mind doing this kind of thing because I get to pretend that I understand how cars work. I even had a set of blades in the garage ready to go. But normally, this would be a low priority for me because it takes a lot of time to re-learn how to get the old blades off and it’s easy to forget because it’s not my car. So this type of task generally gets done when I get worn down. She asks me for the eighth time and I either get sick of hearing about it or it happens to coincide with a me having a few minutes to do it. Grudgingly, I stomp down to the garage to get it over with.

Using Tit for Tat, changing the wiper blades felt totally different. She didn’t nag me into doing it. I saw it on my list as a quick way to earn some points. After getting it done, I felt good! I didn’t feel like I had given in. I felt like I won a prize. And it wasn’t just because I was using my own app. I was genuinely surprised by how different it felt. That’s when I knew we were on to something.

Reduce nagging in your relationship? We have the technology.

Productivity, Intimacy, and Technology: Announcing Boat Launch, Inc.

The biggest problem in marriage isn’t divorce. It’s the slow steady process of turning a spark of passion into a business relationship. In a few short years, I want you so bad turns into I want you to empty the dishwasher… so bad. To wit, a recent study of Google search habits by economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz revealed that the top searches about marital problems weren’t about abuse, cheating, or unhappiness. They were about lack of intimacy. Logistics increase and sparks fade; that’s just the way it goes, right?

Marni and I are starting Boat Launch, Inc. because we don’t think that’s the way it has to go. We believe that at the intersection of Productivity, Intimacy, and Technology, there’s a solution to what every single couple we’ve talked to tells us (confidentially) is a theme in their relationship.

As we get closer to launching our product, we’ll go into more detail on how Productivity, Intimacy, and Technology fit together. Until then, you can follow @boatlaunchinc on Twitter, sign up to test “Tit for Tat”, and go empty the damn dishwasher!