If you have four people on a project team, and ask each of them what percentage of the project work they’re doing, it should total 100%. Equal division of the work would be 25% each, reaching the total of 100%. In almost all cases adding the individual perceived totals for the four team members would equal 150% or more.
We are very biased toward seeing our own contribution as being larger, and minimizing what other team members do for the project, even when the work is evenly divided. It’s human nature to be more aware of our own work effort, and less aware of the work of co-workers.
Being aware of our human nature, in this regard, can help us resist the temptation to feel unappreciated for all the work we do, or resentful that others are not pulling their share. This can be true at both work and home.
It is also an opportunity to openly discuss workload balance; both in terms of the expectations, and the reality of how it feels. Teams that add up their separate totals are almost always surprised. It’s probably not worth an argument, because our human nature will think our measure is better than the other person’s. However, it is worthy of discussion.
In looking at team workloads, it’s much more productive to define clear roles and deliverable expectations, rather than the perceived effort. Check-off milestones are a more objective measure.
The other lookout for my fellow husbands is that when you think you are doing 50% of the work at home … because of our bias … we probably are not pulling our share.