Easing the Mental Load

Productivity Solutions for Working Parents

The juggling act of full-time working parents, especially those with children between the ages of 2 to 12, is a daily challenge that often goes unnoticed. The culprit? The overwhelming mental load that one person typically carries, leading to feelings of anxiety, resentment and stress. The other partner, often unaware of the magnitude of this mental load, experiences frustration and stress, further straining the relationship. It’s this impact of the mental load on the quality of life for these parents is what we’re most interested in solving, and there’s room for productivity solutions to make a real difference.

The Weight of Mental Load

For many full-time working parents, mental load is not a shared burden but a solitary struggle. One person is tasked with managing a myriad of responsibilities, from organizing schedules to researching products or methods to knowing everything from the kids’ current shoe sizes to the preferred schedule for babysitters. We call this the default parent. They’re the one keeping it all together with their knowledge and actions. The result is a heavy burden that can lead to burnout and negatively impact the overall well-being of the individual.

Good Intentions Stall Against Lack of Understanding

Compounding the issue is the lack of understanding from the other partner. Even in cases where the non-default parent truly wants to share the load, they might not fully understand of the situation, task or job-to-be-done. Often, that means the default parent just does it themself because it’s easier or faster than communicating all the information and context they know to their partner. This can further the divide. While the default parent is grappling with the mental load, the non-default parent might not comprehend the emotional toll it takes. This lack of awareness can breed frustration and additional stress, creating a cycle that hampers the overall quality of life for both individuals.

Productivity solutions are a go-to for alleviating the mental load for default and non-default parents. Those burdened with the load often turn to lists, calendars, and documents to organize their thoughts and relieve stress. Additionally, they handle extensive research to find optimal solutions. They repurpose project management tools like Asana and Trello to cobble together proxies to share what’s in their head and manage tasks in hopes that the mental load will level out.

Several productivity solutions aim to address the mental load challenge specifically. Platforms like Maple, Yohana, and Milo are designed to streamline task management, research, and communication between partners. Often, it’s the default parent finding, setting up and working in these apps, with the non-default parent having access but playing a much less active role. These apps can be really powerful in helping the default parent organize and manage their lives and communicating tasks and information to the other parent — but they aren’t designed explicitly to shift the mental load outside of the technology.

So while the productivity market may seem saturated, the fact that many individuals still grapple with the mental load shows that the right solution hasn't been found by everyone.

A Different Approach to Productivity Adoption

So why hasn't the mental load issue been fully solved for this group? The answer lies in the existing costs associated with productivity solutions:

  1. High Setup and Maintenance Costs: Many apps require significant effort to set up and maintain, making them impractical for busy parents already stretched thin.

  2. High Cost to Progress: Completing tasks often involves levels of research and consideration, requiring the default parent’s valuable time and energy.

  3. High Cost to Collaborate: Communicating findings or outputs to a partner can be challenging, requiring careful consideration of timing and context.

Have you ever done the work to input your info in a new productivity tool just to lapse and have to do it all over again with the next app to promise you freedom from your to-do list?

This is why.

Every person has a different combination of these three that works for them. For some people, it’s most important to have the lowest cost of setup and maintenance. They’re the ones that flock to apps that help collect tasks and information, but they are often left to make progress and figure out collaboration on their own. Have you ever done the work to input your info in a new productivity tool just to lapse and have to do it all over again with the next app to promise you freedom from your to-do list? This is why. The same goes for solutions that successfully reduce cost of progress (virtual assistant marketplaces, for example) or high cost to collaborate (shared calendars or life management apps fit this category).

Further complicating things is the reality that what works for one partner might not work for the other. So if the default parent optimizes for reduced cost of collaboration, that solution may not deliver on the reduced cost of setup that their partner requires. It’s no wonder why the personal productivity space hasn’t been able to find a solution that works for everyone!

Harmonizing Productivity to Tackle the Mental Load

We believe the key to successfully helping busy parents (and really, busy adults of all kinds) lies in addressing all three productivity costs to meet you where you are. Bosa is flexible to mold to how you work best, and our focus on better collaboration with your partner means that the same tool can mold to how they work best too — all in a shared experience so you can better work together to succeed.

Easing the mental load for full-time working parents is an ongoing challenge, but the link between productivity solutions and alleviating this burden is evident. By addressing the root causes of the mental load issue, we’re confident Bosa can empower parents to enjoy a higher quality of life and strengthen their relationships at the same time.

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