June 1, 2020– Have you heard of the OHIO method? Did you know that this way of doing things can increase your productivity by 80 percent?
The OHIO method stands for Only Handle It Once. A lot of the time, we go around in circles trying to multi-task and completing things on our to-do list that aren’t really that important. Here’s how you can improve your writing life and publishing business by sticking to this simple principle:
Chunk into groups. If it takes 2 minutes or less to complete, do it right away. For example, emails, social media status updates, scheduling meetings, paying a bill, or rebooking a client, taking 2 minutes to deal with these things will ensure that you only handle it once.
Prioritize big tasks. If you’re writing a novel, you know how difficult it can be to start writing and to continue to write long after the spark and ideas have gone. But, it’s essential to keep going and finish what we start as authors. What is the most significant task that you have today to write your novel? Is it outlining? Perhaps it’s character development or plot lines, whatever it is, choose the most important and get to work. Remember, this is not about editing, it’s about getting words onto the paper at this point. By doing this, you only handle it once, and you can go back later and refine your work.
Set limits. The OHIO method is a great time saver because it frees up our options. I do this with my illustrators- every Friday like clockwork, they give me a progress report. This lets me know what they’re doing and how things are moving along and how close we are to completion on projects. By setting limits on when you’ll respond to emails or when you have staff meetings, this allows you to utilize your time more effectively and only handle it once.
The OHIO method works great once implemented, and you’ll realize that you have more time for the things you need to do and want to do.
January 25, 2019– I know a thing or two about resistance, as I’m sure you do; we are human after all, and finishing anything is hard. Sure, it may be easy to finish an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream in one sitting, but it’s a lot harder to finish things that matter in our lives. Do you know how many people have started manuscripts that they’ve never finished? Or how many of us have unfinished paintings or works of art that have sat in drawers and on shelves for decades? The answer to both questions is too many. To make my point, let me tell you a story.
My sister and I decided that we were going to run a race in our city called Around the Bay. It wasn’t five or ten kilometers, it was thirty and I had no idea how the hell I was going to do it. I started training for about five months beforehand, and five days a week I would run along the mountain brow in the wee hours of the morning. I increased my kilometers over time and eventually was able to run twenty-five kilometers without a problem. Race day came and the first twenty kilometers were a breeze. I was happy, and felt great, and was sure that I could finish the race. Well, guess what happened? During the last ten kilometers, I fell apart. I was so close to the end, but I was ready to quit. I seriously thought about calling a cab or throwing myself into traffic just so I could lie down. Why? Because resistance is most powerful at the finish line. We ended up crossing the finish line arm in arm and it was an experience that I will never forget. Am I glad I did it? Yes. Am I glad it’s over? Also, yes.
Here’s why resistance is most powerful at the finish line of your writing:
Because we can’t see the ending. Could we see the end of the race/the ribbon? Not a chance. We were still too far away, but let me tell you when we did finally see the end, we sped up and finished. We got it done. Same goes for your writing! Know that there’s an ending and as much as you want to give up and throw in the literary towel, don’t. Keep going. Just put one word behind the next, and you’ll get there. It will take time, but you’ll get there. You may not be able to see the ending, but it’s there. If we don’t finish something, how can we move on to the next thing?
Because we’ve worked so hard for so long. We’ve been working on the same manuscript for days, months, and even years. We have worked so hard, and we are past the point of caring. If this is you, know that you’re almost there. Stay disciplined, sit in your seat, and type. It’s one of the most challenging things to do, but unless we keep pushing, we will never finish. Know that just like everything, there is always a beginning and an end. All we have to do is persist.
Because we’re tired and we don’t think that we can keep going. During that race, my mind played tricks on me. It said that I couldn’t possibly take another step and that it would be so much easier just to stop and give up. I was not only physically tired but mentally tired too. I didn’t want to do it anymore. What the hell was the point of starting if I wasn’t going to finish? Why would anyone in their right mind run twenty-kilometers of a thirty-kilometer race and give up when they are almost done? Because it’s easier. Don’t take the easy way out of your writing. Finish the race and complete what you set out to do. Don’t quit. You will have an amazing sense of satisfaction and a major confidence boost when you finish what you start. This gives you momentum and you’ll find yourself saying, if I could finish that, I can finish the next thing.
If you’re struggling to finish your race (manuscript, blog, poem, speech), remember that resistance is most powerful at the finish line. Take the resistance that you’re experiencing as a sign that you are so close to the end. Don’t give up now; you can do it! X LLB
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