GitHub Saved My Marriage

personal github 25 comments suggest edit

GitHub is a great tool for developers to work together on software. Though its primary focus is software, a lot of people find it useful for non-software projects. For example, a co-worker of mine has a repository where he tracks a pet project:

I bought a crappy 1987 Honda XR600 and I am going to turn it into something awesome

A while back, Wired ran an article about a man who renovated his home on GitHub. He even has a 3-D model of his beskpoke artisanal bathroom plug. Send a pull request why dontcha?

bathroom-plug

Another person dedicated his genome to the public domain on GitHub. Sadly, genetic technology is not quite at the point where he can merge a pull request all the way to his own body. But who knows? Someday it might be possible to hit that green Merge button and instantly sprout wings. Of course, the downside of such genetic tinkering is you’d need a new wardrobe. I’m not sure Gap sells shirts with wing holes.

Just the other day, I read a blog post about a company that uses GitHub for everything.

  • Internal wiki
  • Recruitment process
  • Day-to-day operations
  • Marketing efforts
  • And a lot more …

As for me…

Meanwhile, I used GitHub to save my marriage. Ok, that might be a tiny bit of hyperbole for dramatic effect (right honey? Right?!!!).

Let me back up a moment to provide some context.

One of the central points of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system is that all the lists of stuff we hold in our head uses up “psychic RAM” and that creates stress. This “psychic weight” drags us down and wears on our psyche.

When you’re a family with a house and kids, you have a lot of lists and thus need a lot of mental RAM. Things break down in the house all the time. You have to drag the kids to a myriad of events and appointments. You need to attend to recurring chores. If you’re not on top of these things, they fall through the cracks.

There’s two common approaches to deal with this.

The first is to always think about everything that needs to be done and bear the full psychic weight and stress of always being on point.

The second is what I call the squeaky wheel approach. You remain blissfully ignorant of all these demands until such a time comes when something is so bad that it forces your attention. Or, as is often the case, it gets so bad for someone else (after all, you’re blissfully ignorant) that they make it a priority for you. A lot of things tend to get dropped with this approach that shouldn’t be dropped.

The second approach carries with it much less psychic weight, but it isn’t very respectful to a person who employs the first approach and leads to a lot of interpersonal tension.

I’ll let you guess which approach I tend to employ.

Part of the reason I employ the squeaky wheel approach is that I have a terrible memory and I’m quite good at not noticing things that need to get done. Worse, despite my ignorance, things were getting done and I just didn’t even notice. This reinforced the belief that everything was fine.

So my wife and I had a discussion about this. I can’t will myself to a better memory and improve my ability to notice things that need to get done. At the same time, while I suck at this stuff at home, I tend to be much more conscientious at work.

So I proposed an idea. What if we ran our household chores like a software project? By that, I mean a well-run software project, not your typical death march past deadline over budget projects. At work, I run everything through GitHub issues. So let’s try that at home!

The goal is that we should no longer maintain all these lists in our head. Instead, when we noticed something that needs to be done, we create an issue and we’re free to forget it right then and there because we can trust the process. Every week, we review the list together and try complete what issues we can. It relieves a lot of mental stress to rely on the system instead of our own fallible memories.

I created a private repository for our household. The following screenshot shows an example of a recent issue. Notice that I take advantage of the wonderful Task Lists feature of GitHub Flavored Markdown. That feature has been a godsend.

I broke down the task of cleaning out the dead bugs from the light fixtures into a list of tasks. I decided to take on this one and assigned it to myself.

A different kind of bug report for GitHub issues

The work involved to close an issue sometimes leads to the need to create more issues. In this case, I learned a valuable lesson - don’t use a screw driver to put a glass light cover back on. I was fortunate that the explosion of glass this created didn’t get anyone hurt.

Broken Lights

My wife and I have tried Trello and other systems in the past, but this one has been very successful for us and she’s been very happy with the results.

I also use Markdown documents in the repository to track kids meal ideas, lists of babysitters, weekend fun ideas, etc. It’s become even better now that we have rendered prose diffs. Our household GitHub repository helps me track just about related to our household. What interesting ways do you use GitHub for non-software projects?

UPDATE 2014-08-07 I just learned about a service called GitHub Reminders.

Get a email reminder by creating a GitHub issue comment with a emoji and a naural language date. Login and Signup with your GitHub.com Account to get started

This sounds like it could be very useful for a household issue tracker.

Found a typo or error? Suggest an edit! If accepted, your contribution is listed automatically here.

Comments

avatar

25 responses

  1. Avatar for Radenko Zec
    Radenko Zec June 30th, 2014

    Nice post Phil. Your task list looks very clean. I am using Trello for same thing but it lacks few things such as recurring tasks and nice reporting of last week/month tasks . Could you create some public repository for us to see how it looks like?

  2. Avatar for Stephen Bateman
    Stephen Bateman June 30th, 2014

    This is cool. What made you choose Github over something like Wunderlist or Things?

  3. Avatar for haacked
    haacked June 30th, 2014

    GitHub Issues also lacks support for recurring tasks. It's something I'm thinking about. For now, I just use labels for that.

    > Could you create some public repository for us to see how it looks like?

    I can't make my household one public. But it's mostly pretty banal. Stuff like "Fix Shower Light" and "Take car in for oil change"

  4. Avatar for haacked
    haacked June 30th, 2014

    I wanted something that wasn't yet another place to go to. I already integrated GitHub into my workflow. I also wanted something that had a website and native apps. At the time, GitHub had an Issues app that worked nicely. We've since pulled that down, but the mobile view for issues is pretty decent.

  5. Avatar for Tony Dunsworth
    Tony Dunsworth June 30th, 2014

    Thank you for an interesting idea. My wife gets frustrated with me because I do tend to follow a similar "squeaky wheel" model around the house. I don't consider myself very handy, so I don't really work very hard at solving it either. However, this could be a very interesting idea which would help me get on top of things and make her happy because I'm paying attention to those details.

  6. Avatar for Radenko Zec
    Radenko Zec June 30th, 2014

    Hey Phil, I meant to create some public repository as a playground not to make your household public.

  7. Avatar for haacked
    haacked June 30th, 2014

    Yeah, I'm not the most handy. But I can call a handyman just as well as she can. :)

  8. Avatar for martijnhoekstra
    martijnhoekstra July 1st, 2014

    I dunno, the open source community is pretty cool. I'm just not sure if it would be more awesome or creepy if someone changed the oil in your car, and made a note to close the bug.

  9. Avatar for Charlie
    Charlie July 1st, 2014

    One point that needs some major clarification -- your house has 4 mudrooms?

  10. Avatar for haacked
    haacked July 1st, 2014

    Ha! No, 4 mudroom lights.

  11. Avatar for Guest
    Guest July 3rd, 2014

    I've put short stories on github. I've not gotten any pull requests yet though ;) https://github.com/wallymat...

  12. Avatar for Matthew Marksbury
    Matthew Marksbury July 8th, 2014

    I've been thinking about this for awhile and your post motivated me to talk my wife into trying it out. Go Agile Family!

  13. Avatar for haacked
    haacked July 8th, 2014

    Sweet! Comment back and let us know how it goes.

  14. Avatar for ahmedbilal96
    ahmedbilal96 July 9th, 2014

    Just like C# saved Scott Hanselman's Marraige

  15. Avatar for Matt Ball
    Matt Ball July 14th, 2014

    Good post.

    This has inspired me to try and use a repo as my training log. Not sure how it'll pan out at the moment. But I use GitHub more than I can be bothered to use any other tool to try and manage it at the moment.

  16. Avatar for Brown Emma
    Brown Emma July 14th, 2014

    My name is emma brown, i want to use this medium to testify of how i got back my boyfriend after 8months of seperation, I and my boyfriend broke up on the 12th of August because he felt i was cheating on him with a male friend of mine, i tried all i could to explain to him but he paid deaf ears, i was emotionally devastated because i really did love him until i saw a post on the internet about a spell caster, who helps people gain back their lost love, at first i doubted if it was real because i never believed in spells but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this spell caster, he helped me cast a re-union spell and i got back my boyfriend within 48hours (2days). Contact this great spell caster for your relationship or marriage problems via email dradelabispelltemple@gmail.com....
    if you are out there passing through any of
    this problems listed below:

    1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dreams.
    (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4) You want women/men to run after you.
    (5) If you want a child.
    (6) You want to be rich.

  17. Avatar for Precious Micheal
    Precious Micheal July 14th, 2014

    hello friends, this is unbelievable but it worked. I became frustrated in my relationship and after trying several methods i went online to seek help there i saw a post on how a lady got her husband back and i decided to try this prophet that helped her because my marriage was failing. truly speaking, i never believed in spiritual work or spell casting but i reluctantly tried him because i was desperate and had no other option. To my greatest surprise this prophet helped me and my relationship is now the best you can imagine. just as he promised my husband now treats me like a queen even when he had told me before he doesn't love me anymore just the other day my husband bought me a rose flower and this days he does things I had forgotten existed in relationship. well, i can not say much but if you are passing through difficulties in your relationship try him here is his email prophet.briancarn@yahoo.com of a truth he really helps again his email his prophet.briancarn@yahoo.com in deed prophet I am grateful

  18. Avatar for Brown Emma
    Brown Emma July 15th, 2014

    My name is emma brown, i want to use this medium to testify of how i got back my boyfriend after 8months of seperation, I and my boyfriend broke up on the 12th of August because he felt i was cheating on him with a male friend of mine, i tried all i could to explain to him but he paid deaf ears, i was emotionally devastated because i really did love him until i saw a post on the internet about a spell caster, who helps people gain back their lost love, at first i doubted if it was real because i never believed in spells but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this spell caster, he helped me cast a re-union spell and i got back my boyfriend within 48hours (2days). Contact this great spell caster for your relationship or marriage problems via email dradelabispelltemple@gmail.com....
    if you are out there passing through any of
    this problems listed below:

    1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dreams.
    (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4) You want women/men to run after you.
    (5) If you want a child.
    (6) You want to be rich.
    (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be
    yours forever.
    (8) How you been scammed and you want to recover you lost money
    (9) If you are a lesbian or gay and you need your partner back

  19. Avatar for mac grewal
    mac grewal July 18th, 2014

    The post was funny and offered a solution. Well Done! Now if only I could get the missus to use a computer...

  20. Avatar for Anonymous
    Anonymous July 18th, 2014

    boyfriend broke up with me two weeks ago, we were in love, we were happy and everything was perfect not until he started dating my best friend, I cry myself to sleep every night, I tried everything to get him back. It looks like its hopeless, He spends time with my best friend and not me. I miss him so incredibly much everyday, he was a great guy and I needed him back and i never thought possible that Mr Robinson can restore broken relationship! At first I was scared cos I read a lots of stories of fake spell casters, scams and i never really believed in magic but I played along with a little faith, to my suprise his love spell worked like a magic, 3 days after the love spell was done Robinson made my lover to come back to me with greater love, i was happy, I was floored that his spells worked, everything felt dreamy and unbelievable thanks to Mr Robinson for helping me to bring my lover back, please if you have the same issues call or email robinsonbuckler@yahoo.com for help @ his number + 19715126745

  21. Avatar for Precious Micheal
    Precious Micheal July 18th, 2014

    hello friends, this is unbelievable but it worked. I became frustrated in my marriage and after trying several methods i went online to seek help there i saw a post on how a lady got her husband back and i decided to try this prophet that helped her because my marriage was failing. truly speaking, i never believed in spiritual work or spell casting but i reluctantly tried him because i was desperate and had no other option. To my greatest surprise this prophet helped me and my marriage is now the best you can imagine. just as he promised my husband now treats me like a queen even when he had told me before he doesn't love me anymore just the other day my husband bought me a rose flower and these days he does things I had forgotten existed in marriage. well, i can not say much but if you are passing through difficulties in your marriage try him here is his email prophet.briancarn@yahoo.com of a truth he really helps again his email his prophet.briancarn@yahoo.com in deed prophet I am grateful

  22. Avatar for Anastasia Svetlana
    Anastasia Svetlana May 20th, 2015

    i just want to share my experience and testimony here.. i was married for 4 years to my husband and all of a sudden, another woman came into the picture.. he started hailing me and he was abusive..but i still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost…then he filed for divorce..my whole life was turning apart and i didn't know what to do..he moved out of the house and abandoned the kids.. so someone told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell caster…so i decided to try it reluctantly..although i didn't believe in all those things… then when he did the special prayers and spell, after 2days, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn't believe it.. anyways we are back together now and we are happy..in case anyone needs this man, his email address realhomeofspell@outlook.com his spells is for a better life. Again his email is realhomeofspell@outlook.com

  23. Avatar for ANDREW STEPHEN GRATH
    ANDREW STEPHEN GRATH June 12th, 2015

    I want to make a Big thanks to a man that just brought back my ex husband and my Kid back to my life through his spell casting,i thought Dr.PETERWISE is a fake when i first meet him due to our Language differences and he told me that there is nothing i should be worried about because he is ready to help me and he promise that my Husband will be the one to call me begging me that he wants me back,i thought it was a joke,to my surprise this happen and Mark my Husband and ZAK my Kid is back to me now and i am very happy with the help of DR PETERWISE that bring back happiness into my life..
    if you really need help or you are looking for a way to know him,you can contact him on +2348147342914
    or email address: peterwisespellcast@gmail.com..

  24. Avatar for ANDREW STEPHEN GRATH
    ANDREW STEPHEN GRATH June 12th, 2015

    I want to make a Big thanks to a man that just brought back my ex husband and my Kid back to my life through his spell casting,i thought Dr.PETERWISE is a fake when i first meet him due to our Language differences and he told me that there is nothing i should be worried about because he is ready to help me and he promise that my Husband will be the one to call me begging me that he wants me back,i thought it was a joke,to my surprise this happen and Mark my Husband and ZAK my Kid is back to me now and i am very happy with the help of DR PETERWISE that bring back happiness into my life..
    if you really need help or you are looking for a way to know him,you can contact him on +2348147342914
    or email address: peterwisespellcast@gmail.com!

  25. Avatar for ANDREW STEPHEN GRATH
    ANDREW STEPHEN GRATH June 12th, 2015

    Today has being the most happiest day of my life after 1 year of sadness and sorrow without being with the one i love, i tried all my possible best to make sure i make my lover happy but it never seems to work out well it was like am doing everything in vain but all thanks to Dr PETERWISE for coming to change all my worries and sadness to Joy. i knew the great man when i read some wonderful reviews about Dr PETERWISE how he has helped a lots of people on there relationship problem i was reading a magazine which then i saw great testimonies as well which then i decided not to waste time because i have missed my lover so much i decided to contact him and share all my problem with him which then he told me not to worry that he assures me that within 48 hours everything would be sorted out i believed Dr PETERWISE so much because i believe he can't fail me but truly Dr PETERWISE never failed me a man that stand on his worlds is really a man,my husband who left me for good a year plus replied my text and returned my calls and asked me to please forgive him i was so happy am so grateful to Dr PETERWISE for what he has done for me if you are there pass the same problem or any kinds of problem just contact the great man on peterwisespellcast@gmail.com or call his mobile number +2347031362391!!