“Today, high-level performers are required to consistently perform at their maximum in high stress arenas for not just days or weeks, but for years. Therefore, high performance not only depends on how well we manage our work but also how well we manage our lives.” – Dr. Bill Moore
Pursuing a career in the culinary industry requires a lot of time and energy, so your drive to succeed must be at an all-time high. What most culinarians don’t realize is that in order to maintain top-notch performance, they must balance their career with their lifestyle.
UT Culinary & Catering educator and chef Chris Moore recently shared these two tips with his culinary students:
1. Stay Organized
The first step to balancing your culinary career with your busy lifestyle is to stay organized. Take a few minutes to sit down and plan out your day.
Some things to think about:
- Have you considered how much time you spend doing important tasks vs. unimportant tasks? Prioritizing is key to getting everything you have to get done accomplished.
- How much free time do you have? What do you do with it? You might be surprised with how much free time you actually have. Focus on what activities help you recharge after a long day/night in the kitchen.
- Are your goals realistic? Setting clear short-term and long-term goals with a deadline is the best way to meet them.
- Are you striving for perfection? There is nothing wrong with wanting to do things right, but if you find yourself stressing out over minor details and compromising the big picture, you might want to take a step back and see if those minor details are pushing you toward your goals.
2. Set Aside Time for Renewal
The second step to balancing your culinary career with your busy lifestyle is by setting aside time for renewal. For many chefs, this comes as an afterthought; however, giving yourself an opportunity to renew your mind and your body is essential to your quality of life and will prevent burnout. The last thing you want to do is lose your passion for what you love.
Here are a few ways you can make room in your busy day for a time of renewal:
- Delegate tasks to those capable of doing them. When you’re an executive chef and/or running your own food business, it’s difficult not to micromanage every single task. By giving yourself permission to hand over these responsibilities to someone else, you’ll experience more freedom to renew yourself throughout the day.
- Simplify complex tasks. Breaking down larger tasks into bite-size pieces will relieve some of the mental stress of performing them. For example, if you have to take inventory of a full stock room or complete a big food order, doing one piece at a time with a small break in between will make the job seem not as daunting.
- Work smarter, not harder. Sometimes routine tasks can be reorganized to save you money and time. At the beginning of your day, think through what you have to do and determine whether or not you can accomplish those things more conveniently. Doing two things at once or back-to-back, like dropping off a cake order on your way to a separate catering event, are great ways to reduce your workload.
At the UT Culinary & Catering Program, you’ll learn food business management skills as well as how to cook like a pro.