So where do we start? With the absolute basics, of course.
Before you even get to turn on the gas, the first job in any new kitchen is always, always, always to get to know your environment, to get familiar with the layout and be comfortable with where everything is.
Are the pans within easy reach? Are your sieves close at hand? … You don’t want to be just about to finish off your risotto and have to spend 10 minutes looking for the cheese grater. That’s the kind of thing that throws you off your stride and from then on you’ll always be playing catch-up.
Time spent getting yourself ready is never wasted. Get out the ingredients and the equipment you need. This mise-en-place, as we call it, is crucial. It sets you off on a calm course and takes the stress out of cooking. Without it, any professional kitchen would be dead in the water, and it’s equally important for the home cook too. Get it right and you have won 90 per cent of the battle.Gordon Ramsay – Ultimate Cookery Course (Amazon)
It’s true! It really helps if you can put away (and even wash up) as you go too.
I do this okay in the kitchen, but am far less good in most other areas of my life, including digitally. The closest I get to good mise-en-place at work is having a browser that I only use for work with several pre-loading several tabs (Gmail, Google Drive, Asana and Toggl).
What works for you?
If Gordon Ramsay is right, that justifies my efforts during the past couple of weeks to rearrange and tidy my office. Some might think my close attention to the details, exact placing of furniture, small improvements to the wiring and lighting, searching the Internet for letter trays to match my current ones (since IKEA are no longer selling them in UK), repositioning of elephants, and so on to be a waste of time. But for me, it is important to make an environment where I can work comfortably and efficiently.
I couldn’t agree more… and the positioning of elephants plays an all-too-frequently overlooked role in the smooth functioning of any office!