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Do It Over

November 25, 2020-There is an old saying, “If you don’t have time to do it properly, when will you have time to do it over?”

Think about that for a second. Good advice, isn’t it? Today we’re going to talk about the importance of doing things right the first time and how a lack of foresight can spell big trouble for you and your business! Remember being in school and waiting until the last second to finish an assignment or required reading? Remember the stress and dread you felt as the deadline loomed closer? Remember handing in your less than stellar assignment and hoping for the best? Chances are that we didn’t receive the grade we hoped we would when we turned in the rushed assignment. Well, we all grew out of that, didn’t we? Some of us haven’t.

Is the above example of how you’re operating your business now as an adult? Are you rushing to complete your projects or novels, or are you leaving things not as perfect as they could be just to get them done and over with? It’s time to grow up, take responsibility, and do the work correctly the first time. Here’s how to do it right the first time:

1) Know when your deadlines are and take two weeks off of that date. If the deadline is June 30th, your project, novel, whatever you’re working on should be completed by June 15. This allows you wiggle room to deal with problems that will most definitely crop up, and if there are no problems, great! You have less stress because the task has been taken off your to-do list. 

2) Anticipate challenges. If something can go wrong, it will. The last thing you need is a wrench being thrown into your plans at the last minute. Let’s say you’re writing a novel, and it needs to be sent to the editor by midnight. Are you assuming that your program will save the document you created? Are you assuming that your internet connection will be ok, or that the file will be sent properly? Don’t assume. Maybe the power goes out, maybe your manuscript gets lost in cyberspace, or maybe it gets deleted, and you don’t have a backup. Plan for the best, but prepare for the worst. 

3) Most difficult first. Complete the most difficult or time-consuming project first. Oftentimes we finish easy to do tasks because we think that we’ll get it out of the way and move on to the big stuff later. What happens is, no matter how well-intended, we end up finishing things that don’t really matter (checking email, anyone?). By doing the hardest, most time-consuming thing first, we finish the tasks that are most important. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly pressed for time because we’re always in creation mode. That’s why we need to do it right the first time because we won’t have time to do it over. 

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The OHIO Method

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:

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.