Organize like a Chef

There is much to learn from observation. I have always liked to give the analogy of a chef to students when it comes to organization, attention to detail, creativity, stamina, patience and quick decision making. Habits that will help us succeed in whatever we wish to do.

Organization is a habit that children must learn to develop from a young age. For example, before sitting down to study check to see if you have all the resources that you will need? Do you have the required stationary, post-its, markers, note book, whatever that will be needed for you to study without having to get up to hunt for material at that moment?

Before starting to cook, the chef ensures that all he requires to prepare a meal is neatly and carefully laid out before him. There is no rushing at the last minute. Because he knows that, delay in adding that particular ingredient to the food will completely change the texture and the taste that is needed. Similarly, not having the right resources will disrupt your study time, cause anxiety and hinder concentration.

Start small and build. Apply the consistency principle. For example, decide on what you will do at a particular hour each day. Say, practice math from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Just ensure that you do that religiously without fail. Once you have achieved this target for a month, start building your stamina by adding one more activity. Start building your after-school schedule thoughtfully and purposefully.

Success does not come easily. If it does then probably it is a fluke. An aberration or an outlier. Plan, execute, evaluate, reflect, calibrate and execute again. This requires patience. Like in any science experiment we say TTT, Things Take Time, the best, positive and lasting impact of your actions will take time and will require patience. If a strategy does not work, don’t be in a hurry to drop it. Give it time, see if a small incremental change can yield the result you need.

Being your own auditor is a step towards developing leadership skill. It is important to reassess where you are in terms of achieving your targets. Reassess your habits, thoughts, reaction to your work. Therefore, attention to detail is critical and is another skill that you must develop as you prepare for high school and life beyond.

Learn to say NO without feeling guilty or selfish. If you have your targets clearly outlined for yourself, then picking up an additional task or accepting an impromptu invite may derail your own planning and preparation to meet your targets. Learn to say no to these tasks. You may want to take part in that morning assembly or have just been called in by the soccer coach for a weekend match or your friends have decided to go out for a movie. Your immediate reaction may be to say ‘yes’ but the logical answer may be a ‘no’. Take that decision then and there. Another scenario that students struggle with is when they need to turn in their internal assessment or are preparing for an examination. In the desire to get that top grade, the time invested at the cost of another assessment is not evaluated. It is therefore important to understand the concept of Return on Investment (ROI) and apply it. But quick decision making can only bode well if your goal and strategy to achieve it is clear to you.

The habits we form define the person we become. 





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