“Men typically excel at both playing and inventing pointless competitive games, but one man has potentially done civilization a solid and applied his gamification skills toward something that actually kind of matters: household chores.
Manhattan civil engineer Bob Ford, a mid-30s father and husband, has developed an app called Labor of Love, set to launch at the end of this month. It aims to help couples not only split up chores more equitably, but with the added incentive of a points-based system that generates rewards for completion. You can even add kids’ chores to the mix and reward them for completing tasks, too.
Ford designed the app out of necessity: His wife had stayed at home for a few years with their son, but as he aged toward elementary school, she decided to go back to school herself to become a lawyer. At home, things mostly went on as they always had while she attended law school, with her juggling childcare and classes, but once she began putting in the long hours as a lawyer, Ford was suddenly faced with a dirty house and childcare responsibilities he’d scarcely noticed were being handled by his wife when he was the only earner. Like many couples, they were blindsided by how the new normal would change their household responsibilities. They bickered.
Labor of Love’s design came from collaboration between them as a result of those spats: Couples both add tasks around the house — laundry, grocery runs, dusting, paying bills, mowing the lawn, etc. They set reminders so the tasks are finished on a schedule. But the key feature of the app is a points system that assigns values to every task and keeps track of who has done what. As the tasks get done and add up to a final tally, each partner is rewarded with a treat of their choosing.”
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