How to delegate housework

Housework can come high up on the list of annoyances in any household, with only money topping it as the reason why fights break out In a perfect world all household tasks should be lovingly and keenly performed with every family member taking his or her share . Unfortunately this is so rarely the case I have to admit I have never seen the system in action What usually occurs is that one person seems to take ownership of all the household tasks and then tries to delegate them, leading to accusations of nagging and a constant need to keep redelegating every time the chore comes up

Task delegation in the household can be tricky, especially if you're going to avoid the three key forms of failure

1. Verbal repetition: often seen as nagging .

2. Giving up and doing it yourself: turns the "delegater" into a compliant doormat

3. Getting other family members to do the tasks but with the attitude that they are your jobs that you will always have to ask them to do: victim still retains ownership of ghastly task and anyone doing them considers themselves to be doing him or her a favor

Ideally your family should understand the tasks are for the benefit of all and decide themselves to do them when they need doing, not wait to be asked or expect to be thanked Here are some tips to help achieve this ideal situation:

I Always communicate face-to-face when you can have undivided attention. Ideally all family members need to be present

I Employ body language that oozes confidence and authority.

Avoid any Power Posturing, but a calm posture, good eye contact, and a confident delivery are vital

I Don't begin the conversation by airing past gripes . "You've never lifted one finger to help in seven years" is a very weak gambit because this is something they can't change Do you want an apology or do you want action? Too many goals, especially emotional goals tangled up with behavior goals, will cause confusion I Never allow emotion to show in your vocal tone or your body language If they can hear you're upset they'll smell first blood

I Sit slightly higher than the rest of the family—perching on the edge of the table is better than sitting on a low sofa. I If they fight back, don't back down. Fiddling, looking away, face touching, or arm folding will all look like defensive signals I Listen to their points and don't interrupt . Then pause . Then stick to your guns I Don't make threats . Kids can always threaten better and carry their threats out I When your children or partner do the tasks never stand over out rules and instructions or ridiculing

Encouragement and praise are more motivational, but never thank them—it gives ownership of the task to you forever

When you relate to friends and family it's probably true to say that you are as near to "being yourself" as you can get These transactions will work on a completely different level to those you have with colleagues or even sexual partners, as you're dealing with people who you have known or who have known you probably from birth

However, this doesn't guarantee that all your transactions will be successful; in fact, far from it . Your friends and family behaviors have been learned from a very early age, but that doesn't mean there's no hope for change As with nearly everything else in the book, I've looked at small changes that can make the maximum difference Just a tiny diversion from your normal, programmed response could make a massive difference to the results you achieve

Continue reading here: Friends Reunited

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