Getting Organized

I’m focusing on organization both physically and digitally.

This means making a beautiful and effective work space. The tiny moments of frustration searching for lost cables and having a cluttered desk adds friction towards excellence.

Likewise, I’m often missing and searching for items like my car keys, phone, and random gloves/hats. So, I instituted a new rule that I always keep my cellphone in my right pants pocket now.

The most immediate trigger was reading the book Work Clean: The Life-Changing Power of Mise-En-Place to Organize Your Life, Work and Mind.

Wikipedia defines mise en place as “a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.” It refers to the set up required before cooking, and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients …

The writer and chef Dan Charnas uses the concept of mise en place as a “philosophy” and “system” for what chefs believe and do, even going so far to call it an “ethical code”. In the kitchen, the phrase is used as a noun (i.e., the setup of the array of ingredients), a verb (i.e., the process of preparing) and a state of mind. All of these uses, however, refer to someone who knows to be well-prepared.”

Mis-en-place as a philosophy is a state of mind, a system of habits, and guiding principles towards being prepared to be excellent in work and life. It’s not just a matter of what work you do or having an exhaustive task list system. Rather, it’s the preparation and attitude before, during, and after tasks.

One of core pieces is arranging spaces. In a professional kitchen, everyone’s cooking station is optimized to allow for effective, flow movement.

Likewise, I’ve been working on arranging my workspace. This includes creating more desk space by using elevated boxes, making my walls more beautiful, adding drawer organizers, making my screen and keyboard more ergonomic, and adding a physical inbox I review daily. I’m also downsizing all my possessions, plan on creating more vertical shelving, and setting up spare screens/tablets to have dedicated view of my calendar and tasks.

Over time, I plan on re-reading Work Clean to implement each of its exercises and principles and document how that works up in my life.