It’s that time of day – the start.
Arguably the hardest part of the day because this is the pivotal point where you can choose to either stay warm, snuggled underneath the covers, blissfully ignorant of the world around you, or you can fling back the bedding and expose yourself to what the day has in store for you.
Unless you’ve built enough wealth to the point where getting out of bed doesn’t equate to being able to eat and pay rent, you probably make it out of bed one way or another. Sigh.
For some people, starting the day is an easy task – even an enjoyable situation. For others, it takes great mental fortitude.
Maybe there’s a huge deadline looming at the end of the day that will most likely equate to late hours; or maybe you’re having relatives over and need to clean, prep, cook, and entertain them afterwards; or maybe you’ve had an awful week and those emotions are still weighing on you… Most of us have incredibly busy schedules, to the point where if we stop to think, our days become a mountain of seemingly insurmountable tasks. It’s overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been there.
What often happens is that instead of buckling down and getting the job done, we find something else to do to avoid the tasks we don’t want to focus on, even though we know they need to get done. Generally they’re still tasks that are on your list, but in the back of your mind, the elephant is still in the room.
So, what to do when you’re in this situation?
Let’s rewind to the start of the day.
After you get up in the morning you generally follow some sort of routine. For my typical morning routine, the first thing on my mind after I get out of bed is to take a trip to the loo (nature calls) and splash some water on my face, then eat breakfast, get dressed (sometimes it’s only glorified PJs), and put some makeup on (if someone other than my husband will see me that day). Then I’d jump right into work. As the day wore on, I started to feel more like Hermione Granger’s hair in her younger years. Frazzled. Harried. All over the place. And never feeling like I was getting anywhere with my work.
My husband was in the same boat. We decided we didn’t want our lives to feel this way anymore.
This was a turning point in our lives and where I’ll introduce the term, mise en place.
Mise en place means “everything in its place.” This is a culinary term I learned from Dominique Ansel while watching his French pastry class on MasterClass. The basic concept is to prepare everything before even beginning – ingredients, equipment, and workstation.
By doing so, a chef fluidly moves through the recipe and achieves excellent, consistent results. Mise en place doesn’t only refer to the prep, but the whole cooking process, including clean–up. Everything goes back to its home once it is no longer needed. Chef Sebastien Rouxel equates this to his success in his book, Bouchon Bakery. It becomes a mindset – one that Marie Kondo would approve of.
It’s an act of mindful concentration and organization.
In the simplest terms, it’s making a plan.
The result? Setting yourself up to successfully execute an action.
Instead of rushing out of bed for a meeting, checking emails, or hurriedly whisking the kids out the door for school, start your day with the “meez mindset.”
Take at least 10 minutes (and yes, that may mean resetting your alarm clock) to calmly identify and organize the most important activities of the day.
Though you could translate your plan physically, such as blocking out your calendar, making a checklist, or setting your clothes out the night before – the important part is that you have it sorted out mentally before you start your day. For example, my husband and I go on morning nature walks to mentally prepare for our work day.
It helps to have a specific place to get into the meez mindset – one that you find refreshing. Perhaps it’s having a good cup of coffee in your favorite chair while sketching out the day, going somewhere with a good view, or simply laying in bed and enjoying a few blissful moments of quiet before jumping into the day. Whatever special place you find, make sure it allows the mental space to organize your thoughts.
If you read my preceding blog, Finding Reality in Your Expectations, you might think it contradicts the main concept of this one. However, the idea isn’t to create a plan and then toss it to the wind.
The beauty of the meez mindset is that it equips you to be prepared for the day, so that in case things do get crazy, you have the mental fortitude to be able to handle it. It’s an exercise that lets you reset and refocus on the task ahead of you. By the end of the day, you can reflect and adjust for the next day as needed.
If you find yourself getting increasingly stressed during the day, take a moment to reset and re-prioritize.
Are you willing to try the meez mindset today?