Anthony Bourdain, legendary chef of Brasserie Les Halles, best-selling author, and famed television personality, is known in the restaurant industry for running a very strict kitchen. No one working in his kitchen would dare to even boil hot water without attending to a ritual that’s essential for any self-respecting chef: mise-en-place.
The “Meez,” as professionals call it, translates into “everything in its place.” In practice, it involves studying a recipe, thinking through the tools and equipment you will need, and assembling the ingredients in the right proportion before you begin. It is the planning phase of every meal—the moment when chefs evaluate the totality of what they are trying to achieve and create an action plan for the meal ahead.
For businesspeople, this should be just as revered. Many of us jump into a task, grabbing what we need along the way. Before starting a project, take the time to study the task and determine what you will need. Whether it is a specific piece of data or a pack of post-its, gather up everything you will need to complete the project before you start. Jeep all the tools together, and then start work. Taking ten minutes to plan and prepare for the project can save hours of time later on. It also allows you to focus on the work, and you won’t need to stop and start at crucial points because you have to find something you need to continue.