I started listening to the audiobook version of Work Clean: The life-changing power of mise-en-place to organize your life, work, and mind by Dan Charnas. Still listening to it but wanted to practice sharing notes for books as I go along. (Vs. thinking I’ll write mega-posts about books after I finish and then not actually writing those posts or even finishing the books.)
Great book about being organized while working. I’ve never worked in a kitchen but have watched a lot of other people cooking on TV. That’s been enough for the chef stories in this book to be fascinating. It reminds me of every time Anthony Bourdain talks about the discipline of a professional kitchen being the contrast he needed from the chaos in his life in his younger days as a cook.
- Pay attention to your movements — There are different movements that slow things down over time. If your arm is going across your body multiple times during prep, you might be able to move whatever it is you’re reaching for over to the side where your arm is. It’s a small change but they add up. Can you cut a movement out of your workflow to reduce friction? Can you automate something that takes 30 seconds that you do multiple times a day?
- Pay attention to your workspace — For me, this has made me think a lot about how cluttered my digital workspace is. While I can get away from a messy desk by heading to a coffee shop, the digital workspace comes with me. This book makes me think I need to be more honest with the time it takes to keep things organized. And really believe it’s worth it to keep things clean a little bit at a time every day so that I don’t need to do huge audits every once in a while.
- Pay attention to your time — This book hammers home some of the lessons from The Checklist Manifesto with specific examples of what chefs do. They design prep timing with a bunch of different dependencies between dishes. They also block the time off for prep work and cleaning as they go. This reminded me of the opening of Andy Grove’s High Output Management, which reveals the complexity involved in cooking breakfast (at scale!).
Work Clean might be going in my regular re-read rotation with books like Masters of Doom and Anything You Can Imagine. These are books that are sort of related to what I do professionally but far enough that they don’t actually make me think about work.