Game of Chores: Use This Chore Chart to Actually Get Stuff Done

Life-size replica of the Iron Throne used on HBO's popular show, Game of Thrones. It can be yours for the rock-bottom price of $30,000. Better get some chores done to save for it.  

Life-size replica of the Iron Throne used on HBO's popular show, Game of Thrones. It can be yours for the rock-bottom price of $30,000. Better get some chores done to save for it.  

Pleasure. Or pain.  

Those are the only two ways to change a behavior. People want to pursue pleasure or avoid pain. That's it. So, if you want your family (be it Stark, Lannister, or in my case, Ford) to actually get stuff done, you need to structure your requests so it appeals to one of those two desires. 

As a Message Architect, I do this all the time in my day job. I work with organizations to structure their messaging to increase customer loyalty, engagement, and sales. But I completely neglected this principle at home which meant my house was messy, unorganized, and difficult to maintain.

I could blame it on the baby. Or my husband. But in reality, it's not their fault. I looked at the dusty list of chores on the refrigerator and realized that other than the inherent "ahhhhh" from living in a clean house, there was zero motivation to actually cross things off the list. Life would always get in the way because we didn't appeal to pleasure or pain. 

Enter, my family's weekly challenge.   

I got the idea from watching my husband play the video game Skyrim. When he needs some down time, he cracks open his 6-inch thick players guide and checks off all the things. He genuinely enjoys collecting these virtual points. It's how he relaxes. So I surmised, in theory, I could replicate this structure for our chore chart and instead of playing video games, he would be motivated to help me keep the house clean. 

After using it for two weeks, I'm happy to report that it's working. Not only are we enjoying life in a cleaner home, we're actually having fun keeping it clean. You can see this in the language my husband uses to talk about chores: 

 Before — "Sorry I forgot to take out the trash before the truck came. I didn't think of it until it was too late."

After  — "So, do I get a point for EACH toilet I clean? Score!" (Runs off to clean the bathrooms.)

Can I get one?

Sure thing. You can download the chart above as a Pages or PDF file. I tried exporting it to Word and Google Docs, but had issues with the formatting so it's not available. If someone has the time to make them, I'll be happy to link to them.

Enjoy! And if you have any questions, just let me know in the comments.