End Relationship Rifts: Why a Scoreboard Might Be Your Best Tool for Harmony and Understanding

I’m a morning person and am the most productive in the morning. This is when I do stuff I don’t like: empty and fill the dishwasher, put out the trash, any annoying chores that I rather not do.

In the afternoon or evening, I have no willpower left to motivate myself to do these.

That also means, no one else sees what I’m doing. That I’m spending all this time in the morning, because I’m the the only one awake.

Over time this leads to resentment. The feeling that it is only me doing all the chores!

Does this sound familiar?

If you answer yes, this article can help you.

Today I write about the solution that stopped the resentment and bickering. It turned doing chores into an almost pleasant game.

Let me introduce you to The Chore Score.

The Chore Score and How it brings Clarity and Accountability

A couple of years back, we create a simple tool that helps us keeping track of all the chores we do and who does more.

Here is how it works for two people:

There are two sides, one per person. Initially, everyone has 0 points.

We use a simple piece of paper and magnets to symbolise the points as shown in the headline photo.

The starting point:

Every chore that is up to 15 minutes long, earns you one point.

Let’s say I (Person 1) unload the dishwasher. I get one point, move the magnet and the board looks like this:

Person 1 Person 2

If I also load the dishwasher and turn it on, I get another point! Yay me!

Let’s now say, Person 2 wakes up, realises they need to ‘collect points’ they will go and find something to do. That could mean, cleaning something up, taking out the trash etc.

Let’s say Person 2 cleans up the living room from the night before. They get to ‘take’ one point and move the magnet to their side.

You get the idea.

The Role of Scoreboards in Making Contributions Visible

It is as simple as that.

It doesn’t just make contributions visible, it also turns around the psychology of ‘doing chores’. You get to collect points!

Tuesdays have become my favourite day for points as I get to put out the trash! The easiest points of all week.

You can add as many rows as you feel makes sense for you. I recommend you make sure it doesn’t get overwhelming for the other person though.

We can collect up to a maximum of 12 points. That is the right amount for us.

Balance the Scales

Sometimes I wake up and see that I have not only lost all my points, I also have to catch up and the board shows 7 points for my partner. I’m not happy about the score, but then I look around and see the sparkling kitchen and I’m happy!

Keeping Score sounds bad in the beginning. Don’t we all like the idea that we do things just because we love each other?

Well … if you are in a relationship for over a decade and still love doing the dishes because it gives you a fluffy feeling - more power to you, why are you reading my article?

For me leeping score in this way promotes fairness and equality. It gives me a nudge to get my chores done as I don’t like to be behind in my points.

Communication Breakthroughs

It also helps with communication. There are certain things I just don’t like to do. They are worth a lot of points to me. My partner doesn’t mind doing these, and it is a win-win situation!

If you use your Chore Score as a tool for open and honest dialogue it will stop the bickering and resentment.

There are other things that might need to get done and no one wants to do them. Pay a bill? Bring the car to the garage for service?

Start a discussion on how many points this will be worth! I might do it for 5 points and the other person as well? Who is willing to do it for the least amount of points?

We also have an agreement that sometimes things just suck! Then you can take a point to make you feel better. Let’s say the trash bag rips apart and everything spills on the floor. You have to clean up the mess and it is just pure ugliness. You get an extra point for this!

You win instant dopamine!

Your Action Items:

  1. Decide if this is for you and agree on what tasks should be tracked and are worth 1 point or more
  2. Draw the board and put it on the fridge
  3. Keep it positive! If you wake up and see the other person collected a lot of points acknowledge their effor and appreciate them!

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Last Update: December 04, 2023