Mise en Place: Productivity Redefined


Liz Jenkins

mise en place ingredients

“Mise en place” is a French term that describes a practice employed in the culinary world. Simply meaning “put in place”, it is a rule that chefs live by and follow with militant discipline. Mise en place encompasses  the steps that a chef takes before preparing a meal; for example, measuring, chopping, peeling, draining. All of the preliminary steps are taken care of beforehand. The chef can fully focus on bringing all of the ingredients together as a delicious meal.

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]While this phrase is commonly used in the kitchen, on a broader scale, mise en place is a principle of advanced preparation. It’s a valuable concept that can be applied to everyday life and the daily routines associated. When you need your focus to be razor-sharp on an upcoming work or home project, a bit of prep work can ensure you can hit the ground running when you’re ready to work. Mise en place can look like choosing an outfit the night before or simply creating a schedule for your task list or anything in between. In any situation,
you can implement the idea of mise en place using three simple steps.

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1. Identify.


First, take time the night before (or first thing in the morning) to identify what you need to accomplish that day. Write it down! Your mind will be much clearer after the burden of remembering something is lifted. Plus, you’re more likely to take care of something if you’ve committed it to paper. Do you prefer digital notes? No problem! Create lists on your phone, computer, or tablet instead using an app like Wunderlist, Cozi, or ToDoist. This step is vital so that you can focus your energy, prepare the necessary resources, and manage your time well.

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2. Arrange.


Now that you’ve identified what needs to happen, it’s time to set up a schedule for yourself and prep your workspaces. Sort your tasks in order of importance, and give top priority to the most urgent ones. As you go, write down all of the supplies or items you will need to complete each task or meeting successfully.

Tip: Group tasks based on location to increase your efficiency when scheduling errands or appointments. For example, if you have two errands to run on the west end of town, knock them both out at once. There’s nothing quite like killing two birds with one stone!

Gather any materials needed and put them in the appropriate work areas so they are waiting for you when you start your day. For example, I like to queue up anything physical (like letters, items to return, bills to pay, etc) on my desk in a neat stack or a folder so I have it all at my fingertips as soon as I’m ready to work. You could also place a small table next to your entryway or in your garage to store any items that need to be returned or dropped off at another location. Then, the night before you tackle errands, everything you need to grab is ready to go. This, in its essence, is practicing “mise en place.”

Tip: I like to create my lists based on the associated action. So, I group phone calls, errands, emails, etc. under headings when I’m planning my day. Once I’ve determined my priorities, I often come across other tasks that simply need to get done at some point. After I group my day by type of task, I can slot those in whenever time is available.

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3. Execute.


Congrats! You’re ready to reap the rewards of your “mise en place” work. Now’s the time to put that preparation into action, and boy will it pay off! You have your list, you have your game plan, and everything is in its place and ready for you to get rolling. Since you won’t have to spend time searching for papers or that dress you need to run to the dry cleaners, you can immediately start checking things off. Although it may seem to take a lot of time initially, you’ll actually save time in the long run when you prepare for your day using “mise en place.” When you plan and prep, you eliminate the time you would have spent making frequent decisions, backtracking, or stopping to gather materials throughout the workflow of your day.

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Starting each day with mise en place is so rewarding, and develops positive habits of concentration, discipline, and organization. You can certainly use the three steps above as a springboard to increase your overall productivity. If you need some help getting started, contact us! The organizers at A Fresh Space would love to help you increase your efficiency and bring more productivity into your schedule.  

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Photo Credit: EnduranceZone.com

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