To do list vs. Chore calendar

I have used so many different to do lists for chores in the past. Makes sense, right? They’re chores that need to happen, I might as well make a list! I’ve created general lists for the family to see, assigned chores lists, I’ve even used specific chore tracking apps! But at the end of the day, I feel like each of these list systems includes so many chores that I could never possibly successfully complete it.

Do you ever find yourself completely overwhelmed by your chores?? I mean there are so many things to do every day! Then toss in the weekly chores! I mean really, if you get them done today too, then you don’t have to do those later in the week, right? So now, in one day, you have your daily chores, your weekly chores, why not throw in a couple just based on the time of year, then there are those other random to do’s that you have to do today. Hold on a minute! You will now literally have to do chores every minute of this day simply to make yourself proud of doing SOME of your to do list!!

Why not put chores in your calendar instead?

No one wants to do chores all day, every day…so why not give yourself a time allotment for the day. Let’s say, you agree with yourself, that you will only do chores for one hour each day. Sounds reasonable right? It’s pretty easy to find an hour in a day…Just think about how much screen time you may consume in a day, right??…it doesn’t even have to be continuous time! Most chores don’t ACTUALLY take that long to complete. Maybe you have a 20-minute break in your day that you can take advantage of.

Stop feeling guilty about not getting all your chores done, and instead empower yourself to use your time for fun and chores (and probably work…but that’s life!).

I use an app called Famcal for our digital family calendar. I like it better than some of the calendar apps and other family organization apps because it’s very user-friendly, and it offers features like tracking birthdays, anniversaries, and assigning different colours to different people in the family. One day, when I was fiddling around in the settings and adding some events for the kids’ activities, it occurred to me…

What if I make my chores, a family member in Famcal!?

Suddenly my brain was reeling with excitement and I instantly got to work on organizing the chores more thoroughly.

Here is how I did it:

The Chores

Write down all the chores you think you have to do around the house. Write down ALL of them! No matter how big or small. If you want to dust the live plants in your house, by all means, add it to your list. If you want to wipe the finger residue off your keyboard, go nuts! Write down anything you can think of. Don’t forget to consider chores you maybe don’t currently routinely do but feel like you should. Again, this is also to alleviate any guilt you have by not doing chores, so the more details the better. I even enlisted good old Pinterest to help me be extremely detailed in this step.

The Timeline

Go through your list and think about the frequency you’d like to complete the chores. Are they weekly chores? Monthly? Are they only seasonal? Make sure each chore has something listed. It could even be every 2 weeks, or 3 times per year. This is where you set your expectation! How frequently do you want, or do you feel the chore should happen. Ok, you with me so far?

The Re-Write

Now here is where it becomes a bit interesting and seemingly redundant, but stay with me. Re-write out all of the chores into different lists. I had papers with headings for each timeline. I had one for daily, weekly (split into each week and every 2 weeks), monthly and annually/seasonal chores. I added every single chore to one of the lists with a timeline heading.

The Magic

Here is where the magic starts to make it come together. So, now you have all of your lists in front of you. Start by going through your weekly lists. Pick a day of the week for each chore and write that beside the chore. As you pick the days for your chores, think about anything else also happening that day. Let’s say you want to vacuum on Mondays, start the week off clean right? But, what if Mondays, you are also getting everyone out the door for school and work, and in the evening, there are extra curriculars on, and it’s usually a grab dinner while you’re out kinda night? Maybe not the best day for vacuuming…but it could be a great day for cleaning toilets! As everyone is doing their bedtime routines, why not go around and clean toilets! Suddenly, your chore calendar is working with you and your busy life! Think about your life as you plan out your chores. Even if it means one day is a bit more stacked than the other days. At least on those other days, you don’t have to worry about the chores!

After the weekly chores, think about chores that happen every other week. Pick dates for those chores. Take into account when your weekly chores are. Try not to get overwhelmed with your days yet! Bare with me a little longer….

As you go through your monthly (or quarterly, or three times per year) type of chores, think about the seasonal changes throughout the year and pick dates that make sense…like, who goes out to detail and vacuum their car in the winter? Try to make it as logical as possible, because then your chore list will work with the way your brain is already thinking! Try to get detailed with your timeline picking. Spread out your monthly chores throughout the month. Maybe the first weekend of every month is a time to plan meals, or maybe the last weekend of every month you can review your finances. Use this time to really even out the chores throughout the month.

Think about your annual chores with the same amount of care. Use logic to set the timeline. Chimney cleaning on your chore list? Consider it for late October, so that it’s ready for the winter. Cleaning out the garage is a better chore for spring so that you can get all the spring yard equipment gathered, or spring activities like bikes can be readied.

It may seem way too detailed, and crazy, but the more detail you add into your chore calendar, the more free your time is! You may even realize that your expectations of how often chores should be done, doesn’t fit your life right now. Maybe something you think should be done monthly, can actually happen every other month and the world will still spin! Remember, this is where your expectations face reality. The life phase you’re in right now might require different expectations – you can always change it later. The more time you put in here the bigger the rewards in the way of seamlessly fitting in your chores around your life, not your life around your chores!

The App

They easy-ish part! Unless you don’t get along with technology, which is often me, but hey, if I could do it, you can too. Simply enter each chore as a task or event and assign it to your new family member: Chore! Most digital calendars work the same, there is likely some way of colour coding people or events. Don’t forget to change the recurrence of the event, so that it repeats itself without you needing to think about it again!!

That’s it!

I should also point out, that I don’t actually add any daily chores. There’s no empty the dishwasher, or make the beds, that happens (or sometimes doesn’t) based on the day! It’s just part of each and every day! I also don’t add seasonal tasks like yard work. I can’t predict when I have to pull out the snow blower, or how often to water the grass, or even when to cut it.

Setting up the calendar takes a fair bit of time. But the thing I love most about the digital chore calendar, is that everyone can see it, and everyone can participate in doing the chores. We even picked a fun trophy emoji that we can add to the chore once it’s done.

The other freeing thing about the calendar is that if we go away for a week, or life gets hectic – as it tends to do here and there – we simply carry on! There’s no “task overdue alert”, there’s no list that becomes so overwhelming because I missed all these chores. Another week starts and I just pick up on the current day. So maybe the toilets go an extra week without getting done, or the floor didn’t get it’s regular vacuuming done, the chore will pop up again next week. Life goes on! If your weekly commitments change and you want to switch your vacuuming to Mondays, just edit the dates and recurrence and you’re all set. Easy peasy!

Take charge of your life by taking charge of those pesky chores!

Thanks for coming home!

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