Working Clean

I read this article on The Kitchn the other day about “working clean,” which, according to chef Thomas Keller, “can be very specific, referring to ingredients needed to complete a recipe, measured out and ready to use, or it can be more general: are you organized, do you have everything you need to accomplish the task at hand?”

The article talks about how chefs keep bar towels handy so that they can wipe off their work surfaces at any time or how they wash dishes whenever they get the chance. And even though I’m somewhat of a hurricane in the kitchen, the article got me thinking about working clean out of the kitchen, too.

It’s important for me to have an organized desk. I want the things I use regularly within arm’s reach, while the things I only need every once in a while can be further away (the stapler isn’t even in the same room!).

And beyond office supplies and my physical work environment, it’s also important for me to work clean when it comes to my systems. My to-do list might explode every now and then, but it needs attention in the form of reorganizing and reformatting whenever necessary. Same goes for my inbox: you know those emails that are just FYIs and non-actionable, but they take some time digest? Reading those are like doing the dishes as you cook–sometimes you wash and dry that dish and use it immediately, and sometimes it gets stored away for another meal; but it’s important to get through them to keep the flow of the kitchen moving. I hate having to scroll down to see the oldest the email in my inbox.

The best part? Working clean helps me produce work that is also clean: easy-to-follow with few mistakes or holes.

Thanks for reading. This post got me hungry, so I’m off to make dinner.

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