Phil Morle šŸ––šŸ»

Apr 21, 2022

Investors and entrepreneurs can learn calm from chefs

It turns out that entrepreneurs and investors can learn a lot from chefs.

I am participating in the excellent AP Productivity course led by RJ Nestor. One of the pre-reads is Work Clean by Dan Charnas. I haven't been able to put it down because it is so helpful.

Imagine a chef, one minute before the restaurant opens

The chef is at their station. Everything is prepared. Tools and ingredients are within reach; the ovens are at maximum temperature. Calm and silence.

Then the world around her explodes into noise and motion. But if you observe, the chef's movements are minimal and deliberate. The face is calm.

By the end of the service, the kitchen is shiny. Everything is stored where it belongs, ready to be found simply tomorrow.

The chef's craft has developed a way of working that accepts the chaos and unpredictability of a service.

It is all about the preparation and clean-down.

Now imagine one of your bad days.

Yesterday was busy. You were in motion all day, managing to capture some items on post-it notes. Other open loops are cycling through your mind as you shovel down some breakfast and jump on the train to work.

"It's ok; I'll get my head together on the train..." Then the phone rings. It's an emergency...

And the day goes backwards from there. Five days of that, and you slam into Friday, having let people down with no response; you wasted a bunch of meetings because there was no action on the other side to make them worth having.

And you feel crap, bracing yourself for a weekend of catchup.

Chefs show us how to design calm into chaotic work

If we accept that our knowledge work is crazy, we need to be ready to face it when the day begins. We need to close the laptop lid knowing that everything is in place and ready to pick up tomorrow. For me, this manifests as:

  • A weekly plan that I assemble on a Sunday evening.

  • A morning routine that I never waiver from that gets me ready and puts me in the zone.

  • A system to capture the subsequent actions and insights very quickly in a way that I trust will surface later in the right context.

  • A 'shut down' routine that prepares me for tomorrow.

I use Roam Research for this. It's fabulous.

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Phil Morle šŸ––šŸ»

Partner at Main Sequence - a venture capital firm purpose built to create global companies from scientific ideas with the inventors who imagine them.

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