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Americans spend nearly $10 billion a year on self-help and organization tools, reports NPR. In their story “For A More Ordered Life, Organize Like A Chef,” reporter Dan Charnas asks what ADHD adults can learn from mise en place philosophy that keeps professional kitchens running on all cylinders.
Literally translated from the French phrase “putting in place,” mise en place is a way of life for chefs, from thorough advanced planning to air-tight time management. Which begs the questions … what can those with ADHD learn by adopting this way of life?
Be In The Moment
When you’re in the kitchen, you can’t afford to be preoccupied with the dinner menu when you’re trying to get somebody’s lunch order correct. Only focusing on the task-at-hand is one of the main tenets of mise en place.
Put It Out The Night Before
From their chef whites to books and shoes, culinary students take great pains to have everything they need set out the night before. How much smoother would your morning go if your clothes were set out the night before and your lunch was already packed?
Live By Your List
One chef interviewed by Charnas would write the next day’s to-do list one his way home from work … then crumple it up. The next morning, he would write out the list again. He becomes one with his list, ensuring it is hardwired into his brain.
Give Everything A Place
Cooking stations are carefully set so that all of the tools and ingredients are situated for optimum efficiency. No searching for items or having items inconveniently out of reach. How could you rearrange your desk accessories for the mise en place way of life?
In some ways, mise en place has been compared with the rigidity of the military. In professional kitchens, punctuality is everything and tardiness is not tolerated. In turn, everything runs efficiently like a tight ship. In fact, chefs admit to not being able to turn this part of themselves off when they leave the kitchen.
Which ideas could you adopt from mise en place for your personal ADHD challenges? For more secret ingredients, sign up for the free cheat sheet “5 Steps for Women With ADHD.”