So good. Thank you for explaining something I’ve felt for a while, but couldn’t yet articulate.

I lived in a co-living house for about eight years and observed both the scarcity mindset and resentment in me that would come with fixed chores and the beautiful generosity that would arise in me when I was just doing what I could see was needed.

I now live with my partner in a budding apartment building that we hope to transform into something akin to Fractal in NYC. When my partner and I started living together, we oriented towards cleaning from a place of capacity, desire, and generosity.

Capacity means if we both are zonked we don’t clean and that’s completely OK. It also means that if we’re very focused on other things that are more important to us like work or projects and that’s where our capacity is focused then our house can get a little crazy… And that’s OK. We clean from a place of capacity, not obligation and that helps to prevent resentment.

Desire acknowledges that we have different needs for our house. I feel more clear and centered in an orderly home. Whereas my partner Jon needs order less to feel good. So I clean in such a way that helps me feel clear because I want that end result. Jon isn’t very messy so this doesn’t bother me.

Generosity i.e. love means: because we love each other we don’t want undue burden to fall on the other’s shoulders. We always want to make our home better and more enjoyable for our sake and our partners sake, so if we have the capacity we give ourselves to the little moments of cleaning and the big projects.

I’ll also add that we both hold a longer time horizon when it comes to contributions – sometimes one of us will feel guilty that the other is doing a lot to take care of us that day. But the one doing more can see that the game of being together is long. Making sure that both people contributed equally at the end of each day as a recipe for resentment where as trusting the other to show up and generously showing up yourself, is a recipe for continued abundance and a whole lot of love.

Most of the time our house is pretty orderly. Sometimes it’s a hellhole. We’re enjoying the ride and we spend most of our time doing things that really matter to us.

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Sep 5, 2021Liked by Phil

Thanks for this article. I came here by accident (serendipity) via the article on the “ The 9 types of people you find in coliving” and absolutely love it. My “coliving situation” is that as a family, so there might be some differences.

Right now, we employ a chore wheel for the kids/teens to get them going - as we, the parents, obviously have a number of other chores we can’t or right now didn’t want to put on the table to not overwhelm them (but which we “brag” about whenever the kids complain about their chores).

Looking at it from the perspective of “Chore Wheel” vs. “Brag Wheel”, I see we’ve probably missed an opportunity and have done it all wrong.

Naturally, when the kids were younger they loved to contribute. Since there never was any bragging involved in the later stage where we wanted to more systematically involve them in the family chores and the things done that contribute to our family and it’s wellbeing and “well-running”, we probably missed that/an opportunity then to turn this voluntary contribution into something more systematic for the benefit of the whole family.

So, maybe it’s time to shift from chore wheel to brag wheel. I was just wondering whether anybody reading this has some experience with brag wheels in families, particularly with respect to its members and their “time, desire, and ability to contribute”?

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Interesting idea, but it seems rather dependent on social accountability. The #bragging slack channel just seems like a way for housemates to track whether others are contributing or not. Here's an alternate idea, that depends less on social accountability, and should encourage people to do chores on a timely schedule:

All the housemates pool a fixed amount of money each month, say 5% of rent, that is used to reward the completion of chores. Within this pool, percentages are determined for the various tasks of cleaning dishes, taking out the trash, vacuuming, etc.

Now, consider these monthly rewards to be continuous flows of value. If $30/month is set aside for taking out the trash, then that’s the same as $1/day. When the trash is taken out, the person that does the chore claims all of the reward that has accumulated since the chore was previously completed. So if it has been a week, they claim $7. If it’s only been two days, the reward is $2.

This way the reward grows linearly with the amount of time that has passed since it was last completed, and eventually it hits someone's "well that's worth it" threshold, they do the chore, and the reward is reset to zero. By tuning the growth rate of the reward, the frequency that the chore is completed can be tuned.

If everyone does exactly their fair share of the chores, there is no net exchange of money. But if someone doesn’t, the people that pick up their slack get compensated for their greater contribution.

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Gillian, Phil, love your work.

We found this post very helpful, and we’d love to know how, if at all, you see it mapping onto couples, and specifically onto couples’ management of money 💷

Could you recommend a thought leader, book, newsletter or podcast you believe does a great job of helping couples adopt an abundance mindset around money after years of having a scarcity mindset?

Many thanks!

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I've been living in different coliving arrangements for the past several years, and I like this a lot. I can think of one situation where nobody did their assigned chores. I pulled out my hair trying to figure out how to make it happen, and I wonder if this kind of system could have really helped.

Right now I'm living in a place where people do their chores with remarkable consistency, and I'd worry about fixing something that's not broken, but might need to implement this in addition to that.

My objection is for things that simply have to get done at particular times, and thus someone needs to commit to do them rather than rely on an ebb and flow of generosity in the moment. The trash needs to be taken to the curb, or it'll overflow before the next trash day. The snow has to be shoveled, or we'll get a ticket from the city. etc etc

I'm curious how this has worked for that kind of task- is there an additional system for making sure they get done?

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