In episode 456 of the Primal Potential podcast I talk about mise en place – a French phrase that means “everything in it’s place”.

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Mise en place is one of the first things young chefs are taught. Before you begin to cook, you first get prepared. You make sure you have everything you need. You gather your ingredients. You collect all the pots, pans & utensils you’ll need. What needs to be chopped gets chopped. Everything is in it’s place before you begin so you are prepared and in control. You’re efficient. You’re setting yourself up for success.

Before you begin, you get your stuff together.

Think about the cooking experience of a chef who prioritizes her mise en place and a chef who doesn’t. The chef who begins with everything in it’s place will be far more in control. The process is more manageable because (s)he has everything she needs.

But the chef who didn’t get set before beginning has much more work to do. Everything feels more challenging. It takes a little bit longer. Mistakes are more likely to happen. This chef doesn’t have more work to do, but it certainly feels harder and more overwhelming.¬†

As I shared in episode 456, the idea of mise en place extends far beyond the kitchen. We need to get our stuff together before we begin.

Some people go through their days feeling prepared. They feel in control. They have what they need which makes them more able to do what they need to do with less resistance.

They prioritized getting everything in it’s place before beginning.

Their lives aren’t necessarily easier, but they feel easier because of the little bit of time investing in being prepared.

It leads to efficiency. It reduces feelings of overwhelm.

A good day begins the night before.

What will you need in order to be successful? What contributes to a great, easy, collected day?

I’ll tell you what this means for me. Before going to bed each night, I make sure:

  • My house is clean & tidy (keeping up is infinitely easier than catching up.) To clean once a week could take hours. To keep every every evening takes only minutes.
  • I have a plan for the following day – my work and personal schedule is defined. I know what happens first, second, third, ect.
  • My coffee pot is cleaned and filled with water, ready for me to grind the beans first thing in the morning.
  • I take 5 minutes to care for my body. I brush & floss my teeth, wash & moisturize my face, take out my contacts and get in bed. No dozing off on the couch.

The following morning, I keep it simple. Sure, I could lounge around and watch the news letting precious time slip away on Facebook & Instagram. I don’t. I go right to the first thing first.

  • I journal. In my journal I answer a series of questions like “how can I make today amazing?” This takes about 5 minutes.
  • I drink a glass of water. I used to go straight to coffee but these days I begin my day with water.
  • I meditate for 20 minutes. I explained my meditation practice and what it’s done for me in episode 454. Without question, this helps me be focused and productive as I dive into work.
  • I get light exposure. If it’s a sunny day, I’ll spend 5 minutes walking outside while listening to music or a podcast. If it’s not a sunny day (which it’s often not on Cape Cod in the winter), I’ll spend 10 minutes in front of my Joovv light.

Then I dive into my work. I do the most important thing first. Lately that has been writing my book. If I don’t feel like writing, I ask myself “What could I do to make this easier?

Recently, I shared with my clients that I was having trouble getting motivated to write. I felt uninspired and the idea of writing for 40 minutes felt like staring at a blank screen for 12 hours.

I asked myself, “What could I do to make this easier” and I decided that I would simply write for 10 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. Instantly, I felt more focused.

I don’t let myself off the hook with hard work. I don’t turn to distractions like social media or television. I just figure out what would make it easier or what I’m willing to do to begin and then I get started.

Everything in it’s place.

What do you need to have in place to set yourself up for success?