PSOhub Blog

Why couples now use project management tools to 'manage' life


I recently came across a New York Times article written last month, poignantly titled, Honey, I Love You. Didn’t You See My Slack About It? 

The piece centers around a handful of couples that are using popular project management software in tandem, not for their professional endeavors, but for practically all things personal.

And it’s not a one-off. I did some digging, and it turns out, that intuitive tools like Slack are becoming incessantly common to navigate the logistics, both physical and emotional, of modern couplehood. 

I myself try to keep my personal relationships as non-digital as possible, but I couldn’t help but wonder about how exactly people are using these project management platforms in the personal sphere. 

And whether or not it’s actually ‘working’ for couples.

Here’s what I uncovered is happening out there, including what couples are using project management software for, what solutions they’re using, and the pros and cons of this new trend. 

How couples are using project management software:

Shared to-do lists

Based on the NYT article and other sources like this popular productivity blog, it looks like the most popular way couples use project management software is with shared to-do lists. 

Because most project management solutions, even the free ones, are dialed in on task management, this makes a collaborative to-do list as easy as opening an app on the phone. Each person can add tasks and subtasks and see exactly when each task has been completed. 

Wedding planning

This appears to be the second most popular usage for project management apps among couples. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, it’s easy to see why. All the different points of contact and stages of ‘development’ in the wedding process, i.e. cake tastings, fittings, guest lists, digital organization, and automated alerts that project management tools offer seem like the perfect fit to plan for the big day. 

Vacation planning

In close third is vacation planning, which also makes perfect sense as a project management tool. Couples can log communications with hotels and outfitters while seamlessly sharing calendar dates to make sure nothing gets missed. 

Day-to-day logistics

Who’s picking up dinner? Who’s taking the kids to soccer practice? Who’s handling the Christmas shopping? Couples with busy schedules and/or children can quickly get bogged down by daily logistics. 

While each person is doing their thing during the day, these logistics can easily be handled by a project management tool that can ‘assign’ duties to the responsible parties. 

Grocery lists

You don’t really need a project management solution for this, but most of the couples in the NYT article used one for just that. Although no one mentioned it, I think it could be a good application for tracking what you purchase, especially as inflationary costs increase. 

You could potentially get better insights into what you’re spending on groceries and how to make better choices from a health and financial perspective, I guess.

Knowledge Center

This wasn’t one of the more common ways I saw couples on the internet using project management software, but the utility of it is extremely appealing. A software tool like this can essentially serve as a single source of truth for mundane-yet-necessary knowledge both parties need day to day. 

For example, you can keep information about school events, pet vet visits, and everything else you might need in one secure digital environment that’s just a couple of clicks away. 

To express gratitude

Now this was something I didn’t expect to see. Many of the NYT couples said they use project management tools as reminders to express gratitude, set date nights, and other more emotional tasks. 

Call me old-fashioned, but I think I would rather receive a heartfelt voice message than a Slack alert. Then again, gratitude in any form is always better than nothing. 

Social scheduling 

It can be hard for couples to maintain a thriving social life after work, kids, hobbies, and everything else that has to be juggled in the air. Project management tools can help with this by helping to plan and schedule social events.

The family itinerary

Finally, perhaps the most useful application of project management software for personal use is the almighty family itinerary. Sure, you can simply use a shared calendar, but a PM tool can help couples get more granular with their weekly schedule by divvying up tasks, setting automated alerts, and even delivering progress reports on productivity and finances. 

What software couples are using

There are a ton of project management solutions on the market for businesses and freelancers. But not all these solutions translate to the personal life of a couple, nor are they worth the expense. 

Based on what I’ve read across the internet and on social, these are the most popular project management solutions for couples:  

Slack - Slack is an easy, slightly more organic way for couples to organize their life by organizing their communication around it. It’s the featured tool in the NYT article for a reason: you can organize and delegate without getting too into the weeds with Gantt charts and crazy to-do lists the other platforms might tempt you into doing. 

Todoist - Todoist began as a glorified to-do list that has since morphed into a global platform that can be used for project management, be it in business or in life. Todoist says they offer mental clarity, where all your tasks can live together. 

Trello - I can see where Trello appeals to couples, as you can make it really simple with both the free version and the lowest tier at just $5 per month. Trello provides all the visibility you’d need for daily logistics and event planning in a shared digital space. 

Kanban boards - Kanban boards feature those friendly little squares that move from left to right as tasks are completed and the project progresses. You can find Kanban boards in most project management software options because they’re so intuitive and useful.

Cupla - Lo and behold, there is actually a project management app that specifically targets couples. It’s called Cupla (cute), and though I haven’t used it, I can’t deny it’s a brilliant concept. 

What are the benefits?

As I have only used project management tools like Airtable and PSOhub in my professional life, I cannot speak personally to the benefits of using them in my relationship. Instead, let’s see what the folks in the NYT article have to say about the purported benefits:


I couldn’t help but notice the word ‘clarity’ popping up more than twice in my little investigation. Couples claim that a project management tool gives them more clarity since tasks are more easily organized and you can assign varying priority to specific action items. Makes sense, to a point. 

More quality time

The argument here is that with the logistical back and forth out of the way, you can in theory spend more quality time with your partner when you are physically together. Instead of delegating and scheduling, that time can be spent connecting.

Less stress

Project management tools are known for providing visibility into all facets of a project. For personal use, this visibility contributes to a feeling of less stress. By being able to see everything that’s accomplished and what’s left to be done, for planning a wedding, a birthday party, you name it, couples say they feel less stressed about their personal to-do’s.

Stay Social

In today’s grind culture, staying socially connected can seem like a full-time job. If you get out of the loop, it feels like you have to climb a mountain to get back in it. Project management tools offer help in this area, making it so you never miss a birthday or important engagement with your partner. 

Major downsides that shouldn’t be ignored

Now, it’s time to play devil’s advocate. The article in the New York Times, as well as every other tidbit I found online about couples using project management software only spoke to the benefits. But for me, the cons of this trend are glaringly obvious:

Brain fog

Remember how the word ‘clarity’ kept popping up all over the place? Is that using a project management tool as a couple promises mental clarity? Well, I’m not sure this can be true at all, since mental clarity itself theoretically means the absence of brain fog. 

And what causes brain fog? Excessive screen time. It’s an obvious conclusion, but also one that has been proven in various studies. This makes the argument that using a project management tool for personal use offers mental clarity dubious at best. 


Speaking of screen time, plotting out everything in your personal life in a software solution takes time. For my work, the end result of the project management tools I use is that they save me time; they don’t rob me of it unnecessarily. 

I can imagine that doing this as a couple could possibly take up more time than it saves, so again, I’m not sure that using PM tools in this regard is actually in the interest of time management across the board. 

Less face-to-face communication

Yes, the couples who’ve discussed their project management tool usage online say that they have better face time because the logistical stuff gets offloaded by software. However, I can’t help but notice that using these tools could result in less face-to-face communication. A major con for maintaining any relationship, as this study points out: 

“Friendships rely on reciprocal interactions; specifically, the willingness of friends to both initiate and accept attempts to connect (Rubin, Bukowski & Parker, 2006). Similarly, face-to-face relations are associated with stronger social ties than those developed through technology-based engagement (Kraut et al., 2002).”

Overextended socially

For my money, if you need a full-blown project management tool to manage your social life, you’re overextended. Although it could help you by way of remembering important dates and people, I can very much see using PM software for social life spiraling into an overcommitment situation, which we all know is the last thing you want after a tough work week. 

Different strokes for different folks

I get it: The hectic, blended work-life atmosphere of the modern world does indeed require a higher level of organization by couples who historically, could have just written items on sticky notes. 

That said, I think I’d rather simplify my world to the extent that I wouldn’t ever need a project management tool for my partner and me to simply manage ‘life’. 

I love these tools for my work, but I probably wouldn’t pick them up for personal use unless I was planning a wedding or had five kids.

I’d still rather receive a phone call or a kiss versus a Slack message, but that’s just me.