During a recent class I was teaching titled “Cut the Clutter” we were discussing the importance of avoiding repetitive tasks. Touching things once can save you a lot of time and frustration. The key to doing this is to put things away, right away! A student shared an acronym she once heard O.H.I.O. – Only Handle It Once. She couldn’t recall where or when she first heard this but I immediately loved it. Since I’m from the great state of Ohio I have to admit this acronym pulled gently at my heartstrings.
Think about your day today. It’s common for us to get the mail, bring it in the home, flip through it and set it on the kitchen counter. Later that day or the next we might pick it up again, toss out the junk mail and set the pile of mail that has to be dealt with down on the counter again. By the weekend we may be ready to deal with the mail and by then the pile has moved to approximately eight different spots across the kitchen counter throughout the week. The pile got moved when you made cookies. Then again, when you made breakfast. And again when your daughter worked on homework. This pile of mail, in just a couple days, has been handled approximately a dozen times! No wonder you’re exhausted!!!
Rather you could have O.H.I.O.’d it. If you had handled the mail once it would have saved you time and clutter. You could have picked up the mail from the mailbox, tossed the junk immediately. Then quickly sort the mail by recipient in your household. Ideally the mail would go directly into each family member’s “inbox”. For your own mail, if it’s a bill to be paid immediately file it with your other bills to be paid. If it is something that requires reading, you could add it to your “to read” file. This type of file is great to keep with you when you’re on the go and may get stuck waiting (at a doctor appointment, waiting in the carpool line, etc.). If your mail requires a response, respond. Most responses take less than 120 seconds. Get it done! No more mail lingering on the kitchen counter for days. And your to do list is a lot shorter!
How can you apply O.H.I.O. to your life?