Chances are if you have cooked for a while you are already using the professional French philosophy of Mise en Place but might not know it. This French culinary term means "putting in place" or "everything in its place". I can't tell you how long I repeated the phrase in my mind before putting it to memory. I only hope I don't go around town mouthing French cooking words under my breath. Maybe that is why I get strange looks sometimes. I tell myself it's because I'm hot but maybe its because I'm weird? Don't answer that! I mean, French can sound like curse words to a Southerner.
Basically Mise en Place is when a cook or chef preps, organizes and arranges all of the ingredients before the cooking begins. When you start any recipe, take a moment to take stock of your pantry and refrigerator and make certain you have all you need. My wife is constantly hopping in the car for me, running to the market for this and that if I don't take the care to look over the recipe first.
Once you have perused your recipe, measure out all of your ingredients, chop your vegetables and prep your meat, etc. Then, the actual cooking of your recipe should be easy and fun. Mise en Place is a great time saver anytime but especially if you can assemble a recipe components in the morning before work for dinner or before you go to bed for an especially complex breakfast.
Over a decade ago I found small Mise en Place bowls at K-mart by Martha Stewart. I use these small bowls every day, especially when I'm teaching or filming a blog. Look for these helpful small vessels at your local kitchen store or online.