Mental Mise en Place

It’s been a few weeks. My last post was about the importance of physical Mise en Place. But I’ve always adapted the term and thought about mental Mise en Place. That is the idea of being mentally prepared for what’s coming and mentally organized. I guess, now that I think about it, it is sort of a combination of the executive functions of planning, organization, time management, and working memory along with mindfulness/ presence in the moment. 

If I can continue the cooking analogy… when I was a chef, my shift really started at the end of the night the day before. I would do the ordering, make my own prep list, look at everyone else’s prep lists and start to mentally prepare for the next day. What time did I have to come in? Did I need to leave any notes for the morning guys? What do reservations look like for tomorrow? When I come in, what are my priorities for my station? What are the priorities for the kitchen? What’s the staff look like tomorrow and who’s going to need help? 

I learned these lessons well in the kitchen. Perhaps I owe the choice of my first career for many of the skills I have. Regardless, I’ve taken those skills into the rest of my life, so I know it’s possible to strengthen those abilities. One obvious place I’ve utilized those skills is in my own kitchen. I’m always thinking about what’s for dinner tomorrow and for the rest of the week. I’m making sure I’m using up ingredients that need to get used. I’m adding things to the shopping list as I get low on them. (Essentially the rule of thumb is that when I no longer have enough of something to get through NEXT week, it goes on the list. If it is a specialty item that I use one in a while, it goes on the list after I don’t have enough for the next batch.)

But it’s not just food prep that has to do with mental Mise en Place. I’ll talk more next week about planning and scheduling.

Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much,  if at all. Please excuse typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.

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