In my first grad school apartment, we always seemed to run out of dishes and silverware because the dishwasher would be dirty or at least unpacked, so my roommates and I came up with a competitive chore chart for it – whoever unpacked the dishwasher got a star, and the first one to 20 stars won a free dinner or bottle of wine.
And you know what? It worked like a charm.
I love to-do lists, especially that feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing off an item (and yes, I have added completed tasks to my list just so that I can cross them off). But I also think there’s an important place in adulthood for chore charts. I’m making a modified one to keep me on task for my month long winter break (the perks of teaching college instead of high school). Every day I need to write 1000 words, read 50 pages of something, complete a major lesson planning task for next semester, check a task off of my errands to-do list, and exercise or do physical therapy.
And yes, I do think that I need an actual, visual chart posted on my filing cabinet in order to make sure I actually accomplish any of these things on a regular basis.
Ah, pretend adulthood.
I forgot that in childhood chore charts were usually used to work towards a big prize. I don't really have one of those in mind. I'm just telling myself that I can't watch Hulu (or spend hours reading web comics and blogs or other fun ways that I fritter away my time) until my little boxes for the days are checked off. Otherwise I will, umm, be very disappointed in myself. I guess that’s what happens to adult chore charts – they really just become guilt charts. Maybe I should buy some stickers to make it more motivating…