Wednesday, May 26, 2010

OHIO, not just the Buckeye State

Apparently my bid to make writers forget all about that mythical critter Balance hasn't quite achieved world domination like I'd hoped.

So here is how I endeavor to show how to do more, not all, but more. Note that I don't advise doing that. The best way is to either win a lottery ticket (my religion frowns on entering) or finding oil under the petunias.

Until one or the other of those miracles happen, I have to remind myself the following strategies to keep things, as Lydia Kang might put it, WNL, or Within Normal Limits.

I did not invent these strategies. I hunted them down and corralled them, then tested them in a regimen that would have put Consumer Reports to shame. The losers I tossed. The winners? They are here for you. They will give you a (reasonable) facsimile of an orderly homelife.

OHIO (Only Handle Item Once): This lovely jewel of an idea came from Rita Emmett and her book PROCRASTINATOR'S HANDBOOK. You know that sock/dirty-dish/book/thingamabob in your hand? Don't let it go until you put it where it belongs. Same thing applies with issues. Handle it and banish it.

Empty the Dishwasher at Night: In this way, you can OHIO all your dirty dishes as you dirty them throughout the day. Kitchen looks clean. The Husband is hopeful that it will produce nourishing food later.

31-Meal-Salute: This will make you tear out your hair, but it's worth it. Brainstorm 31 complete menus and mix them up so you don't have chicken four nights running. Program Outlook (or some desktop calendar) to make each repeat on the first Monday, the second Monday, and so forth. Print it out. Stick it on the fridge. There. No more answering the question, "What's for supper?" Brownie points for making a weekly pre-printed grocery list ahead so that you're just taking inventory and getting the things you don't have.

Have A Responsibilities Schedule: In this I have completely fallen off the wagon, but I'm about to go back to it. On certain days, do certain chores. It is amazing how much quicker it is to vac or mop when you're only taking off one week's layer of grime, and more frequent laundering means, oh, joy, smaller loads to fold and put away. Don't forget -- put writing on that list!

For Writers/Bloggers: Use Blogger's schedule feature and write several blog posts ahead. I swear, it doesn't take as long to write three posts back-to-back as it does to sit down three separate times.

Enlist Help: No, The Fam may not be a fan of everything that you're trying to do. But those kids you're raising? They need to learn how to wash clothes and take off the trash and cook a meal without burning the house down. If they can re-program your cell phone in 30 seconds, they can learn to do basic housekeeping. Your future in-laws will thank you.


Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Dang it. I knew I was doing something wrong. I need to birth some kids so I have help with the chores.

Great list!

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

Great advice! I especially like the OHIO rule. That will make a big difference around my house!

Linda G. said...

Ack! That all sounds so...organized. *runs away*

Toby Speed said...

I just discovered that Blogger scheduling thing! You're right, it would be much easier to do a few at a time. I'm also thinking of using a calendar to actually plan topics in advance, instead of waiting for inspiration to hit me. Do most of you do this?

Good post.

LR said...

Sage advice. Especially the dishwasher part (doh).

Piedmont Writer said...

I love that schedule. That is so fantastic. I hope you don't mind if I blog about it on Friday...
You are an inspiration to me!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Great advice! I needed all of them. Thanks for sharing.

Tawna Fenske said...

These are great tips for all writers to consider.

I'm considering.

Wait, I'm not actually supposed to DO these things, am I?


Patty Blount said...

Woo hoo! I now have a plan. Thanks, Cynthia!

Natalie said...

I totally need to bookmark this. Scheduling and organization are my two biggest weaknesses, but I know life would be easier if I could just get them down.

Jamie D. said...

What is it about blog posts that make them easier when done in groups? It really is true - I schedule all mine on Sundays, but they took far longer when I tried to write them the day before posting. Weird.

I do have my housework mostly scheduled, but I won't go into detail. For some reason, people tend to run away when I start spouting my routines... ;-)

Cynthia Reese said...

Karen, moms all over the world are ROFL at your comment. Trust me. This is NOT a good plan. ;-)

Elizabeth, people look at me really weirdly when they see me clinging to something that totally doesn't jibe with what I'm doing or where I am, but I do eventually get that sucker where it's supposed to be.

Linda G, I scare you? YOU? Lil ol' me?

Toby, isn't the scheduler feature GREAT? Caveat being of course that you remember to put the right time in.

LR, I can wind up with an "almost" clean kitchen at the end of a meal as long as I have an empty dishwasher. The Husband cannot understand this.

Anne, borrowing is the best form of flattery -- unless I should be getting royalties on it, and on this, I don't ... borrow away!

Thanks, Kathi!

And Tawna, you are supposed to actually DO them. Yanno. One at least.

Patty, I am so glad! Now if you and I can stick our heads together and be, ahem, accountable, well ... maybe my plan will actually work.

Natalie, I take back what I said about borrowing -- BOOKMARKING is the co-best form of flattery. ;-)

Jaime, people get that same look in their eyes when I tell them about the wonderment of a pre-printed grocery list. They think I'm a little, dunno, off.

Sandy Shin said...

These are definitely great, great tips, especially the first one. Tackling problems, large or small, the moment they show up is the least time-consuming method. I do need to remember this.

Jeannie said...

I like OHIO. That's a rule I can live with.

out of the wordwork said...

You freaking amaze me. Seriously, I need you to organize my life. When are you moving to Canada (it's not that cold - over 85 today!)

Julie Musil said...

Ha! Love these tips! I've wondered if I could schedule blogs ahead of time, now I know I need to dig around and find out how that works.

Might get my 13-year-old to figure that out!

Thanks for the great information.

Elliot Grace said...

...I've little choice but to dig
O-H-I-O, considering I'm currently there,(as in BuckeyeState)...not that this has anything to do with your post, which was quite interesting, especially the blogger/schedule...a definite keeper.

Lola Sharp said...

Dude, you really are the most organized person on the planet!
I'm not worthy.

Cynthia Reese said...

Sandy & Jeannie, I love Rita Emmett's book, and I can't recommend it enough. I'm a procrastinator by nature because, believe it or not, I can be indecisive. But the OHIO rule? It helps you catch problems when they're minnows and not shark-size.

Nelsa, what can I say? I do better with structure, and I'm miserable without it. This was as much a sermon to myself (to remember how things WORK BETTER and actually DO THEM) as it was advice to readers.

Julie, with Blogger, click on Post Options, on the bottom left of the box where you type your post. That will reveal, to the right, a date and time for the post to publish. Pick your date and time, and voila!

Elliot, thank you for your wonderful state which gives me a wonderful mnemonic device!

Lola, I've got it theoretically, and it works beautifully when I DO it, but I HAVE to be structured -- or else I'm just one hot mess of chaos!

Nishant said...

Great advice
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