The Productivity Hack You Never Knew You Needed

TSP • @myTSPnet


Are you constantly overwhelmed by the number of to-dos in your inbox? If so, you might consider moving to OHIO. No, not the state. OHIO is a magical place where emails don’t pile up in your inbox, unhung paintings don’t sit on the floor and unanswered texts don’t leave notification bubbles on your phone. In OHIO, you Only Handle It Once. It’s a land of efficiency, and after you visit, you’ll have control of your actions and a clear headspace.

OHIO is a productivity hack that can change your life when used correctly. The goal is to only handle things once. Read an email? Respond right away. A coworker asks you to review something? Do it right then and there. See a message requiring your response? Text back. The OHIO method isn’t hard — it requires you to shift your mindset to act in real time and avoid procrastinating small tasks. If you implement it correctly, there will be no delaying or overthinking.

The tactic was outlined by MIT efficiency expert Bob Pozen in his book, Extreme Productivity. The thought process behind the OHIO method is putting off answering that email or text might make you believe you’re not thinking about it, but it will remain in the back of your mind. Delaying tasks can lead to feeling guilty, which makes starting something that much harder. Instead of procrastinating small tasks, do them in the moment. Don’t think — just do!

Studies suggest multitasking actually reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain cannot complete both tasks successfully. Doing two tasks at once can actually lower your IQ to the average range of an 8-year-old child.

So, when you feel like you’re conquering the world as you simultaneously chug a cup of coffee, answer texts and walk to work — you might actually be doing more harm than good. OHIO doesn’t ask you to handle a million things, it asks you to simply micro-focus. Start a cycle of doing one task quickly, pause, do another task and repeat!

Research shows that nearly a quarter of adults around the world are chronic procrastinators. The OHIO method might sound nice but actually finding a use for it in your daily life could be easier said than done. Before you put off a task, ask yourself “how long will this really take me?” More often than not, something that you assume will take hours to complete will actually take less time if you bite the bullet and knock it out. Putting off little tasks can add up — then you end up having more to-dos than when you started. When you see something, do something.

In reality, you won’t be able to finish everything right away, but when you see something pop up, try putting a reminder on your calendar to respond to a request in the future. This way, you’re still giving yourself a deadline and the task doesn’t get lost in your list. Making the move to OHIO can be intimidating, but it comes with a clearer head, freed-up time and happier friends!