gg, OHIO

Once upon a time when I was a Kindergarten teacher, I went to an in-service class about vocabulary instruction.  The class was pretty great but the thing that has really stayed with me has nothing to do with vocabulary instruction and everything to do with efficiency.

While sharing some interesting concept, the teacher went on a tangent and asked us if we had heard the acronym O.H.I.O.  When it was clear from our blank stares that we had not, she went on to say, “OHIO – Only Handle It Once!”

She explained the idea that once an item comes into your hand, deal with it right then.  No piles of papers waiting to be filed, read, or filled out.  Only Handle It Once.

While this mantra can’t be perfectly applied to genealogy research, I try to apply it as often as possible.

For example, when I want to use a photo for something I:

  • Edit it to clean it up.
  • Save it with a descriptive file name.
  • Upload it to my ancestry tree.  Add a detailed description including date, place, people and any story related to the photo.
  • Upload it to the Memories section on FamilySearch.  Tag people, add a detailed description including, date, place and story.
  • Add it to my family history photo blog.
  • Put it on my external hard drive.

If I get interrupted {I do have a 2 year old after all} before I can put the photo in all of those places, I leave it on my computer desktop until I am done.  Following this set of steps, I know the photo is accessible to my family members and preserved in a digital format in multiple places.

I use a similar process when handling digital documents.  If I take the time to deal with a document, I want it preserved and easily accessible in both of my online trees.  I also want a back up copy on my external hard drive.  It keeps everything easy to find.

While I am actively researching, OHIO doesn’t apply.  But I know that when I process the documents later I will want to use the OHIO method so I keep that in mind.  It slightly alters my note taking and saving procedures during the research process.

OHIO comes to mind in other aspects of my life as well.  It’s something that pops into my head often.  I’m not perfect at it – not even close – but it has helped me to be more efficient.  Hopefully it will help you too!

OHIO – Only Handle It Once!

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