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What would Ira do?

April 19, 2010

I recently jumped on the lemming bandwagon and purchased an iPad.  Sure, I’ve got about 100 reason why I wanted one, and some of them are even work related, so I’m not really a lemming, right?

Even though I am familiar through and through with the iPod Touch operating system (and really, the thing is at it’s heart just a big Touch) I was struck by the lack of multitasking on the iPad.  Why can’t I check email while downloading the latest from BBC News?  Is there a problem with watching a movie using the ABC Video Player while simultaneously looking up where I know that actor from on IMDB?  In the world of Jobs, Steve Jobs, there is.

Multitasking.  It’s the modus operandi for most of us.  I can’t imagine a world where I am not multitasking.  Why, just the other day I was making breakfast for the kids.  The Girl wanted a bagel and eggs, oh and if we had any bacon could I make that too.  I started to make the eggs, and began to initiate the Tassimo coffee-making process.  But then,  The Boy wanted a BRAN MUFFIN and he was going to tell you that repeatedly and at maximum volume until it happened.  But then he saw the eggs, and HE WANTED EGGS!!!  EGGS!!!!  Another order of eggs went into the pan.  Wait, there was a bagel on his sister’s plate.  HE WANTED A BAGEL TOO!  AND WHERE WAS HIS MILK?  Of course, he said “please” while barking out the last order, so it was all ok. 

Through all of this, I just kept moving.  Making eggs, while toasting bagels and trying like heck to get one pitiful cup of coffee brewed.  Even if I couldn’t drink it, I could at least smell it and it would make me happy. 

Then I thought of Ira, the wonder-chef in our corporate cafeteria.  Ira will make ANYTHING for you, just the way you like it, and it will be just the way you like it.  He’s a magic man, and through it all, he greets people with a smile on his face.  Dare I say even our CEO might say he’s one of the most important people in the building.

Ira doesn’t complain.  Ira keeps on moving.  Ira’s always pleasant while getting my pepper jack and mushroom omelette cooked just right.  Why can’t I be like Ira?

So I thought about.  What does he do that I am not?  And I’m not just talking about at breakfast, I mean in life.  How can I get all the things done that I have to, without making myself crazy?  I came up with 3 simple things…

1. There’s something in cooking called mise en place.  It basically means you cut, slice and otherwise prepare everything and have it ready to go before you even start.  Ira doesn’t have to run around the kitchen looking for bacon, because he already pulled it out of the fridge and has it ready to go before he began taking orders.  That pertains to most tasks – get your ducks in order before you even get started.

2. At first glance, it seems like Ira is working on a million different orders at once.  He’s not.  He is cooking just as many orders as he can handle.  If he’s ready to cook your meal, he asks you what you want. If he’s not, you wait.  It’s simple, really, working at YOUR own pace, instead of taking on more than you can chew.

3. Ira takes care of himself first.  He’s probably had a good breakfast himself before he’s gotten out to man the line.  He’s not trying to take on everything including shoving caffeine down his throat.  I bet Ira believes in the oxygen mask theory…if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you help anyone else?

Well, food for thought on this Monday.  Maybe I should share this list with the good folks and Apple.  I bet we can get those devices multitasking in no time.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sherry permalink
    April 19, 2010 12:04 pm

    My colleague and I appreciate Ira as much as you do, and you hit the nail on the head with this post. Perhaps you should hand him a copy?

  2. April 19, 2010 12:37 pm

    I think there’s something for using the mise en place technique in everything you do. I write a lot of articles that depend heavily on quotations and I find that if I can get those quotes where I need them ahead of time, life is a lot easier. I know plenty of other writers who write a piece and just leave holes to add in quotes, but those are the writers who always seem to be rewriting their articles to shoehorn their quotes in.

  3. Melissa Oliver permalink
    April 19, 2010 1:09 pm

    Great post and I’m glad to hear that Ira is still there – I miss his egg sandwiches!

  4. karen hoffman permalink
    April 19, 2010 2:31 pm

    I love this post.. and isn’t it so true? We are the queens of multitasking… not sure any “man”made devise will ever fully be able to keep up with us!!!

  5. May 8, 2010 12:16 am

    I think Ira smiles because (in addition to his very pleasant personality) there is a barrier between him and his customers! Parents never have this protection so they get harried, no matter how good their multi-tasking skills…

  6. March 20, 2013 6:27 pm

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