RE: keeping track - time as well as $
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 94 07:53:27 PST
> Would be interested in how other groups handle this.

At Sharingwood, where 10 households have now lived together for a 
couple of years we discovered that we don't need any time keeping 
system.  The work needed is listed on a sheet and people  volunteer for 
what they want to do with no expecatations. So far everything that is 
important has gotten people signed up. Of course, this is not a system 
where everyone has to put in exactly the same amount of work, but we 
found that's ok.  Some people have more energy to give than others and 
this varies from time to time depending on life circumstances. For 
example one of my neighbors has been having some difficulities with her 
son and school.  She has spent her energies focusing on him for the 
last couple of months and participating little in community work 
activities.  This is ok, she knows she can participate later, and no 
one is on her case about it, and most importantly, she feels no "group 
guilt" about meeting her family needs first.

>From my experience groups that demand "equal participation" tend to 
lose members who can't or won't put cohousing above their personal, 
family or job needs.  This is an especially acute delemma with families 
with young children.  It is almost impossible for someone who works 
full time, with two small children to attend hours and hours of 
meetings.  It's also a pretty unreasonable expectation on parents, 
especially if high quality childcare is not happening.  Through my work 
with the Puget Sound Cohousing Network I have heard four groups express 
regret at losing parents with small kids because the expectations and 
demands made of the members were more than the parents would endure.

One of the common situations is that the person or people who startup 
cohousing tend to be driven, work a holic, highly self motavated 
people. This is the way it has to be, as you need at least one, 
prefferably three such people to see a project through. The mistake, in 
my opinion, is to expect EVERYONE to be that way.  You lose good people 
that way.  It is important to have enough support so the highly 
energetic core doesn;t get burnt out, frustrated etc.

One good way to get a handle on this is to do a priorities ranking of 
your membership. Give everyone an index card and have them draw a line 
across it. On the left side, put a 1 on the right end of the line put a 
ten.  Then have people turn the card over and write down the top 5 
priorities in their life.  When that list is done, have them rank those 
things on the 1-10 scale on the other side. Then share those cards with 
each other. It is really valuable to understand what peoples priorities 
are, as it helps you set realistic expectations. It is very unrealistic 
to expect someone to put in an enormous amount of time or effort into 
something that is low on their priorities.

Sorry I tend to be long-winded about stuff, comes from being a writer.  
If you think this is of value you can post it to the list.

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