How to Use the OHIO Rule to Skyrocket Your Productivity?

ohio rule

Do you struggle with managing your tasks and staying on top of your work? Do you often feel overwhelmed, stressed, and distracted by the endless stream of emails, calls, messages, and documents that demand your attention? If so, you need a simple and effective strategy to handle your tasks more efficiently and effectively. You need the OHIO rule.

The OHIO rule stands for Only Handle It Once. It is a powerful principle that can help you boost your productivity, save time, reduce clutter, and improve your focus. In this article, you will learn what the OHIO rule is, how it works, and how to apply it to your work and life.

What is the OHIO Rule?

The OHIO rule is a simple but powerful principle that can help you manage your tasks more efficiently and effectively. The idea is that whenever you receive a task, whether it is an email, a phone call, a document, or anything else, you should handle it only once and not put it off for later.

This means that you should either:

  • Do it right away if it takes less than 5 minutes or is urgent or important
  • Delegate it to someone else if you are not the best person to do it or if you have too much on your plate
  • Delete it or archive it if it is irrelevant, spam, or low priority
  • Defer it to a specific time and date if it requires more than 5 minutes or is not urgent or important

By following the OHIO rule, you can avoid the pitfalls of multitasking, procrastination, and clutter. You can also save time, energy, and mental space by not having to deal with the same task multiple times. You can also reduce stress and anxiety by knowing that you have taken care of everything that needs your attention.

How Does the OHIO Rule Work?

The OHIO rule works by helping you make quick and smart decisions about your tasks and take action on them. It helps you prioritize your tasks based on their urgency and importance and avoid wasting time on things that don’t matter.

The OHIO rule also helps you avoid the negative effects of multitasking, which can lower your productivity, increase your errors, and impair your memory. By handling each task only once, you can focus on one thing at a time and complete it faster and better.

The OHIO rule also helps you avoid procrastination, which can cause stress, guilt, and missed deadlines. By handling each task as soon as you receive it, you can avoid the temptation to put it off for later and create a backlog of unfinished work.

The OHIO rule also helps you avoid clutter, which can create chaos, confusion, and distraction. By handling each task only once, you can keep your inbox, desk, and mind clear and organized.

How to Apply the OHIO Rule to Your Work and Life?

Applying the OHIO rule to your work and life is easy and simple. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  • Start with your inbox. Check your email at specific times during the day and apply the OHIO rule to each message. Don’t leave any email unread or unanswered. If you need to follow up on something later, use a reminder tool or a calendar to schedule it.
  • Use a task management system. Whether you use a paper planner, an app, or a software, make sure you have a system to capture, organize, prioritize, and track your tasks. Use the OHIO rule to decide what to do with each task and assign it a deadline and a status.
  • Set boundaries and expectations. Communicate clearly with your colleagues, clients, and family about when and how you are available and what you can and cannot do. Learn to say no to requests that are not aligned with your goals or values. Respect your own time and the time of others.
  • Review and reflect. At the end of each day, week, or month, take some time to review your tasks and evaluate your progress. Celebrate your achievements and learn from your mistakes. Adjust your plans and priorities as needed.

The OHIO rule is not a rigid or inflexible rule. It is a guideline that can help you make better decisions and take action on your tasks. You can adapt it to your own style, preferences, and circumstances. The key is to be consistent and disciplined in applying it.


The OHIO rule is a simple but powerful principle that can help you boost your productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. You can handle your tasks only once and free up your time and energy for more important and meaningful things.

By using the only handle it once rule, you can improve your quality of work and life. You can also achieve your goals faster and easier.