Fill 1Fill 1Fill 1Group 4Fill 3 Copy 2Group 7GroupIGPage 1Page 1Group 8Group 7Group 7Fill 1Fill 5 Copy 2

Cognitive Labour – Do’s and Don’ts

Deborah Mecklinger, mom of 3, MSW, Psychotherapist, Mediator and Executive Coach shares her expert insight on the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to transferring cognitive labour to others.

Check out her 1 to 3 minute bite-sized videos below.


DO employ positive self talk. When the labor is being done differently than you’d like, resist the urge to jump in by talking yourself down. Deborah explains how she manages this personally.

DO start early. Life gets increasingly complex, and cognitive labor accumulates so start shedding ASAP.

DO separate your feelings about what happened in the past from what you want to happen in the future. An archeological dig into the past won’t get you anywhere when it comes to load-lightening. 

DO approach your partner the way you approach parents and colleagues. Creating boundaries and treating your partner like others you delegate to – respectful, patient, demonstrating self-control – may result in better outcomes.


DON’T expect your partner to figure it out on his/her own. This stuff is invisible: vocalize what you’re managing and your need to transfer.

DON’T take the hit of someone else’s learning curve. As with all new responsibilities, the transferee of cognitive labor is bound to have some failures and misses along the way. Allow it and let them be accountable – even if it pains you. 

DON’T criticize the outcome. Be deliberate and constructive in how you deliver feedback to prevent the boomerang effect.

The Sophia Project is our corporate program that unleashes working parent talent through Intentional Subtraction.