Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chore Charts

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. 

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…

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