I love to cook and I find that cooking is more enjoyable when I am organized. It is great when I have all the ingredients on hand and am able to prepare them in a way that makes the actual cooking part flow nicely. I can have a glass of wine while I cook rather than racing around looking for ingredients, chopping, grating etc.
Mise en Place (pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs) translated means “to put in place”. In kitchen terms, it refers to having all your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking or baking. Taking it further, it also refers to the layout and flow of a kitchen. Commercial and restaurant kitchens need to do this so that they can produce the amount of food they do every day.
Taking it another step, it can more than physical preparation. Again going back to the kitchen, you prioritize and plan the order in which you will make things. You read and re-read the recipe to mentally picture the flow of the recipe. What equipment will you need, where are you going to store it between steps, do you have room in the fridge to store it, do you have a big enough container, etc? Is your pantry organized in a way that adds to the flow? Considering all these questions prior to cooking makes everything flow.
Enough of standing around in your kitchen! The concept of Mise en Place can be easily moved into your business.
What does Mise en Place look like in your business? Is it a 6, 12 or even 18 month plan? Is it having checklists and flow diagrams that map out the processes and procedures in your business? Is it using well-designed launch calendars so that you know when and what you need to be doing at any point in time. Is it having a strategy rather than doing bits and pieces all over the place?
How does Mise en Place feel in your business? Your business flows with ease and grace. You have systems that support your business that give you peace of mind. There are fewer surprises that slow you down or distract you from what is at hand. You are wasting little energy on steering your business. You have a plan and the steering is easier. You know how all the components fit together and you stay focused. Everything you do has a purpose of propelling your business forward. You are able to choose the right strategic partners and to know where you need to put your efforts.
I used to work in high-tech science and I got into the habit of looking at my next day’s schedule analyzing how long each experiment would take, what did I need to have on hand, and I would prepare everything so that my experiments would run smoothly. If something was going to take 6 hours to run I would start it early in the day and then would fill the rest of my day with shorter projects.
I always spent a few minutes at the end of the day planning my next day. I would get things ready in my mind and if necessary get things ready in the lab. I still have that practice in my every day life. I finish up at night, look at my calendar for the next ay and plan how I am going to organize my day so that everything gets done (well, almost everything!). When I wake up in the morning it is reassuring to know that my day is nicely organized.
Although it seems like my day is already set the night before, I am also extremely flexible because I am prepared and organized. I love the feeling of being busy but calm at the same time. I feel like I am in the eye of the storm – lots of stuff going on around me but I am quiet and calm.
Having systems and structures in your business lets you save your energy for creating in your business. Face it, many of the tasks in our business are routine, repetitive and when planned well, take little of our creative energy. Our creativity opens up when we are not stressing the little stuff.
Has this ever happened to you? You sit down and start working on a project. You realize that you need to go one step back and set up something. You get there and you realize that you need to set something up first and so on. Soon a few hours (or days) pass, and you are back where you started, working on your project. Time has flown by and you have spent all that time working backwards getting everything in place. This can be referred to as the “counter-clockwise syndrome”.
How can you incorporate the concept of Mis en Place into your business?
What one thing could you start doing today that would help to shift the dynamics of your business?
Can you move away from the “counterclockwise syndrome” that zaps your energy and slows you down?
Imagine your business as a well-oiled machine that leaves you time for creativity, giving you the space to build that part of your business that will make you more money and bring you a wonderful sense of joy and accomplishment.
Mise en Place will serve you well.