After years of complaining that our master bedroom was too dark and my daughter wanting to convert her room to more accurately reflect her “teen” personality, we recently had several rooms of our house painted.  The outcome looks great, but my garage is now full of old paint cans that I no longer need.  Not wanting to deal with the hassle of unloading hazardous waste, I thought this would be a good task to delegate to my husband.  My choices were to remember to ask him when he got home and then nag him until it was done or use technology to help me out.  For the sake of our relationship, I chose the latter.  I sent him an e-mail and asked him to add it to his “honey do” list.  The task was off my plate and soon enough the paint was gone, no nagging needed.  Keeping a busy household running smoothly takes work, but with good communication and some helpful tools, you and your spouse can avoid a lot of undo stress.

Family Calendar

– Business trips, school performances, and kids activities can quickly fill your calendar. When everyone knows what’s going on there’s a lot less chaos in your house.  I personally use a Google Calendar to manage our family’s busy schedule.  It includes all of my appointments and commitments in red, my kids’ activities in green and blue, and my husband’s travel schedule and social engagements in purple.  If I want to let my husband know about my daughter’s band performance, I add it to my calendar, send him an invite, he accepts and it automatically goes onto his personal calendar.  If he has a late meeting and won’t be home for dinner, he sends me an invite and once I accept, it’s right there in purple on my calendar.  The same thing can be accomplished with a paper calendar or wall mounted calendar, but it takes a little more work to maintain because it’s not as easily sharable or portable.  That said, if you’re not comfortable with an electronic calendar, then find a paper calendar that works for you and your family.  Make a habit to update it and communicate to your spouse, kids, and household help what’s happening each week.

Shared Tasks & Appointments

– If you want one platform to share all your household tasks and family appointments, you might want to check out SimplyUs, Cozi, or Family Organizer.   With the built in calendar you won’t have to e-mail back and fourth to let your spouse know what’s happening.  You can also create a shared task list for all those annoying household chores and mutually decide who will take care of them.  Less nagging and more done, who doesn’t want that?

Grocery Lists

– A accurate and up to date grocery list will save you time and money when you head to the store.  No impulse purchases or last minute dash-outs when you’ve run out of milk.  You can post a paper list in a central location where all your family members can access it and make additions as needed.  Or, you can try some of the available apps like Grocery Gadget, Grocery IQ, or ZipList.  The first two allow you to keep a centralized grocery list, while ZipList has the added bonus of access to recipe ideas.  By sharing your login or accessing these apps on the web, you or your spouse can head to the store without multiple phone calls or text messages.

Nice Thoughts

– At the end of the day, if couples are not communicating well the entire family can suffer.  You’ve heard and read about the importance of date night and couple’s alone time to keep a marriage healthy.  However, sometimes even little things can show your partner you care.  Technology can help here as well.  When you are stressed and rushing around a nice text, e-mail, or voicemail from your spouse can brighten your day.  If you like the idea of a private space, there are some apps like Pair or Cupple that let you share e-mails, photos, and good thoughts.

How do you and your spouse communicate so you’re in sync and managing your busy lives together?  Share your stories or solutions at