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How Game Theory Can Make Household Chores Suck Less

Household Chores: The Old Way

Household Chores: The Old Way

Logic dictates that whoever is good at a particular household chore is to do the same, for maximum efficiency. This is known as Division Of Labour in simple economics.

If household chores are done by the one who is able to do them well, then one person ends up doing almost everything.

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How Game Theory Can Make Household Chores Suck Less

How Game Theory Can Make Household Chores Suck Less

https://forge.medium.com/how-economics-can-help-you-and-your-partner-win-at-housework-2da1eebd0859

forge.medium.com

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Key Ideas

Household Chores: The Old Way

Logic dictates that whoever is good at a particular household chore is to do the same, for maximum efficiency. This is known as Division Of Labour in simple economics.

If household chores are done by the one who is able to do them well, then one person ends up doing almost everything.

Game Theory In Household Chores

A fair and equal division of labour using a method in game theory called ‘I Divide, You Choose’ creates a level playing field while making the person who is not adept at a certain task strive hard to level up the required skill sets.

Example: When dividing a piece of pastry between two kids, if one kid is told to divide the treat in half and the other is provided with an opportunity to choose which half is whose, then the first kid will ensure that the division is fair and equal.

The "We're In This Together Now" Discussion

Instead of an ‘us vs them' attitude while dividing housework, a thorough discussion followed by a fair and equal distribution of work is the way forward.

Good, honest communication about which chores are draining one partner and what can be tweaked to be less annoying for them is the key. Unpleasant chores can be done together as a team, with each partner dividing a load of work between the two, making it easier for both of them.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Fantasy and economics
Fantasy and economics

Underlying our fears of robots stealing our jobs are more basic anxieties about money. We're using fantasy to confront fears

Sci-Fi has become a measure to assess what's happen...

Economic metaphors
  • The Hunger Games gave us a neo-Depression dystopia where media-obsessed elites torment the starving lower classes.
  • The Expanse is about class warfare.
  • The 1950 Foundation series was partly about saving the galaxy with sound economic programs.
  • The 2012 novel Three Parts Dead, was a mythical reimagining of the 2008 financial crisis. The author, Max Gladstone, said you couldn't tell a story like the financial crisis with realism. You need fantasy to explain it.
The dark side of science fiction

The “dark” kind of science fiction deals with the foundation of economics, which is scarcity. There is a fear that poverty will come faster as automation continues to devalue human labor.

People are experiencing scarcity or are afraid of it on a regular basis. Writers are turning to economists to make their financial worlds more plausible.

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Kids manipulate
Kids are master manipulators. They will play up their charms, pit adults against another and wail loudly in public. It's your job to keep up with them.
Force Cooperation

For siblings who refuse to cooperate with each other, assign them a task that they can do as a team, like picking up the toys.

Over time, this will compel them to work together.

Make Them Pay

Who will get the bigger room? Who gets to name the cat? Have the kids bid for it with their chores or allowance.

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Two of the biggest innovations
Two of the biggest innovations

Two of the biggest innovations of modern times are cars and airplanes. At first, every new invention looks like a toy. It takes decades for people to realise the potential of it.

Innovation is driven by incentives

There are three types of incentives:

  1. "If I don't figure this out, I might get fired." It will get you moving.
  2. "If I figure this out, I might help people and make a lot of money." It will produce creativity.
  3. "If we don't figure this out now, our very existence is threatened." Militaries deal with this, and it will fuel the most incredible problem-solving and innovation in a short time.

During World War II, there was a burst of scientific progress that took place. The government was in effect saying that if a discovery had any possible war value, then it had to be developed and put in use, regardless of the expense.

The conditions for big innovations to happen

The biggest innovations seldom happen when everyone's happy or safe. They happen when people are a little panicked and worried, and when they have to act quickly.

In 1932, the stock market fell by 89%. It was an economic disaster where almost a quarter of Americans were out of work. However, the 1930s was also the most productive and technologically progressive decade in history. Economist Alex Field writes that in 1941, the U.S. economy produced almost 40 percent more output than it had in 1929, with little increase in labor hours or private-sector capital input.

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Taking breaks is key to better productivity
Taking breaks is key to better productivity

The harder and longer you work, the less productive overall you'll be. Research confirms that taking breaks before you're mentally exhausted is essential for productivity.

Setting healthy boundaries

Set your personal boundaries, so you have dedicated time to take care of yourself, your family or household, and your professional responsibilities. You won't be any good to your family if you regularly jump up to respond to work.

The key to success is deciding on expectations, then communicating those to others. You need to get clear in your mind what hours you will be attending to your work. Perhaps dedicate a space in your home as the "office," letting everyone know that you need privacy. Decide when you are "on" and when you are "off."

Technology and productivity

We all have tools in our pockets to help us.

  • For example, consider using your phone's built-in alarm for taking breaks, or giving yourself a reminder to eat lunch, or taking a screen break to reduce eyestrain.
  • If you find it challenging to work, consider a productivity method like the Pomodoro technique, where you work deeply for about 25 minutes, then take a short break. Repeat four of the cycles, then take a 30-minute break before starting again. There are many Pomodoro apps to help you.
  • Don't forget to use the same technology to turn off notifications and distractions while you're working.

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Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off
Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off

... and boils down to what we give up to attain something. Our mindsets are inclined towards pleasure and resistive towards pain. We normally like to think in terms of gai...

Good and Bad Decisions

Decisions are a cost-benefit analysis of risking something small for the opportunity to gain something big.

  • Good decisions can be: Exercising, meditating for 10 minutes daily, finding the courage and striking up a conversation with someone, applying for jobs that you may or may not get.
  • Bad decisions can be: lying or pretending to someone, driving unsafely, sending angry text messages, or staying up late drinking before an important meeting or exam in the morning.
Trade-offs and Life Values

Trade-offs are not something as simple as flipping a coin. Our values guide us towards what we want in life, and it is not the same for all. Example: Buying a house has a trade-off of mortgage for the next ten or more years. This is subjective and depends on what we value in life.

Indecisive people suffer because they don’t know their inner values and what they care about.

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The urgency bias
The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of ta...

Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.
Urgency puts us into reactive mode

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.

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Obstacles to Getting Stuff Done
  • The habit of putting off starting, because it’s uncomfortable.
  • Maybe you get started, but then constantly switch to other tasks.
  • You put off starting (or finishing) because con...
Picking one important thing

If you focus on getting the small stuff done but not the big stuff, or switch between tasks all the time, you’ll be less effective.

Pick one important thing to focus on at a time and learn to evaluate what tasks and projects are of higher value to you.

Starting

It's best done by focusing on the smallest first step and practicing just launching into that.

Pick the tiniest first step, and launch into it.

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