I share the system I created to organize my brain, and how i’ve been trying to do just 5 min of something, to get started.

Music is life… 

Have you ever struggled to accomplish something new? You think you’ll never get it, and then something just clicks? Riding the bus home after a really tough breakfast and lunch shift at the W hotel “Earth And Ocean” restaurant, I searched for the root cause of my struggle. 

Prior to working in this kitchen, I ran the entire operation at First Street Cafe in Benica, CA. RIP! When I was on the line, I had all the tickets in front of me and I ran the show from that. I did not have that at the EAO. The orders came in at the central pass through and items were called off individually ONE TIME. If you didn’t hear it or were in the weeds (busy) you could ask for a recall but it was not tolerated for long because it would throw off the rhythm of the expiditor. I got lost A LOT! Sometimes I would have just ran to the walk-in refrigerator to get more supplies and miss the call all together. 

Sitting on that bus exhausted, the idea came to me. I had to work from the “constants” I knew I could count on, like the plate styles for each item and the number of dishes/components I was responsible for. After that it was simply a matter of finding a place I could keep that info so I could see it at all times but it wouldn’t get in the way of my prep station and could be adapted on the fly. 

As you go back and look at the diagram, I had a note to add to last weeks blog. I referenced “the feedback loop from hell” I even added an “*” so as to footnote it at the end. I forgot. Ever forget something? Happened to me. lol 

The term”feedback loop from hell” is from the book, “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*Ck” written by Mark Manson. If you have not read or in my case listened to this book, you owe it to yourself to do so. I have read/listened to this book 4 times. I put it on the same level as “The Power Of Now” written by Eckhart Tolle. 

Back to the system… 

On my station I had a big stainless steel table. During service, it didn’t have a singular purpose so I used that as my grid’s physical location. At the time I had 9 dishes I was responsible for. I opened my little notebook and drew a 9 box grid. I wrote in the names of each dish and the plates they came on in each box, putting the more popular dishes in the front 2 rows. 

I felt this SURGE of excitement and relief. I unlocked the code in my brain for me to organize my tasks and trick the system! But would it it work? When I got to the kitchen the next day, I ran a few practice scenarios at my station. The salad plates were big and square. The soup came in bowls. The apps came on these tiny glass plates. For each practice order I would add the plate for that item to the grid image on the table, I had in my head. Kind of like chess? 

Sample order: 

2 sallads 
1 soup 
3 carb appetizers 

I would put 2 salad plates in the top left corner of the table. 
I placed 1 bowl in the top middle 
3 apps in the top right. 

Every new order I would simply add the appropriate plate to the grid. This worked perfectly and my next service was so much better. 

What the heck does that have to do with music and artist promotion. NOTHING, directly. However I am having that same SURGE of excitement and relief remembering recently, that I had used it and it worked there so well, why couldn’t I adapt it for my life and work now? So that what I am doing!!! 

Next time: 

So what are the “constants” I know I could count on in this time? What is your responce? 


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