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  • Siria Contreras

What's Your Cooking Clean-up Style?



While cooking, are you a “clean up as you go” type of person or the “make a mess and clean up after” type?


I’m often amused by how actions are often analyzed in order to pinpoint varying types of personalities and people. A friend recently asked me that cooking question, I laughed in response and said, “I think you’re forgetting the type that makes the mess and leaves it for others to clean it up.” Oftentimes, a trade-off between partners, one does the cooking and one does the cleaning.


I am definitely a clean up as I go type of person in the kitchen.


I’m not overly neat or organized, but you’ll rarely if ever find a pile of dirty dishes in my sink and I’m not too prone to clutter, although I will admit that when I was in my teens through my early 20s I did battle the “never enough closet space” which led to a clothes explosion happening from time-to-time. As an adult I prefer clean, modern lines in architecture and more minimalistic (yet still feeling more like a home than a museum) interior design and decor--but we'll leave this topic for a future blog post.


After I gave my answer (still wondering why the question was being asked in the first place) my friend, who also happens to be a psychiatrist, exclaimed excitedly, “I knew it, that’s exactly what I’d guessed.” I still wondered why she was asking.


I didn’t have to wait very long for the answer.


“It’s also how you resolve conflict.” I couldn’t disagree with that. Typically, I’d rather just deal with an issue in the moment versus letting it fester and turn into a “bigger mess” per se. Yet, just like my friend’s kitchen clean-up answer options, not everyone is the same and sometimes you have to meet people where they are. Sometimes some people like to clean up the mess after “they’re done cooking” and then there are those “who don’t clean up the mess at all.” Yet for the latter group, unless you are privileged enough to have someone who can do the cleaning up for you, you will eventually have to address the mess.


This kitchen clean-up analogy was valid though. At least for people I know that I’ve seen in action in the kitchen and in real life. As with disagreements some need to walk away and come back to the issue and some just walk away altogether and/or ignore an issue exists.


I’m fairly proactive in various areas of my life, a lot of this has always been because of things that I am managing professionally. Meaning if I were to drop the ball in one area many other things would be impacted and quite often in a very public way. When campaigns, creative, or activations that you are behind have audiences of millions you can’t wait until after something goes live to worry about mistakes or issues--no, you need to anticipate them.


Yet, I am also human and sometimes will procrastinate--often this is because of one of two reasons.


1. I need to prioritize something else, which unfortunately in our fast-paced world this often happens as I real-time have to determine what needs to take up my bandwidth when multiple things are competing for my attention and bandwidth.


2. I am not in the right mindset to work on something, this is typically when it comes to creative tasks. Although, being a marketer and generally being the creative vision behind most everything that I touch professionally that is not always an option. I am thankful for my ability to think quickly and to be creative on-demand as I know it’s not as easy for others. What truly helps me is that inspiration and creativity comes from inside of me and not external sources--although of course I am inspired by the world around me or things I’ve seen in my life, but I don’t rely on those influences to create. Yet, even this quality sometimes needs a break.


A good motivator is to have a goal in mind. Accountability or deadlines can fall by the wayside, but typically if the end result is financial gain or a hard launch date then you’ll be more apt to deliver.


Going back to my friend’s kitchen habit analogies, I also find it interesting that a fair percentage of people manage how they address issues, disagreements, mishaps and other things that could fall into the “mess” category much differently in comparison to how they handle this category in their personal lives. Many a time using work to escape from the personal “messes.”


We also see this in governments and nations alike. I won’t get into legislature,wars, and leadership at this time as I don’t have enough time but take issues like the climate crisis, economies, or the current infrastructure bill that is still awaiting final voting which included many poorly researched items--all issues where it is imperative that we address the issues real-time and on an ongoing basis.


I most respect those that can address issues and more importantly do it in a fair and just way whether it is in the moment or after they’ve been able to step away to better reflect on the best path forward. Those that abandon messes and group-project style leave others to do the work for them, not so much.


We are in a crucial moment for taking actions in various areas that not only impact us immediately, but will impact future generations and my hope is that this is not one of those moments that you leave for someone else to clean up the mess after you’re done cooking.

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