One of the best lessons I ever absorbed came from a kitchen--in fact, a well-known kitchen in Chicago. It was a basement: work tables jammed up along one wall with just enough room for a passer-by to walk behind you with a bus tub. It's a place where the wine storage served double duty as a changing room, and the fuse box room housed deep freezers, fermenting goods, and all our bicycles. Interestingly, everyone had enough room to get an astonishing amount of work done. Parsley was picked, shoulders roasted, chickens deboned, bread baked in slivers of space offered up by a constant rotation of bodies around each other. To credit my employee friends, it was a symphony of movement--one missed step and you risked bumping or burning yourself.
Many cooks-to-be added to the manpower project by multiplying the piles of picked parsley and mounds of garlic bulbs. Once, some poor chump threw the parsley stems away. A cook's response was stern surprise. He pointed to the ever-growing-full pot in the walk-in [fridge] saying, "Put all the scraps in the stock pot." He sighed at the waste in the garbage.
Lesson 1: Waste nothing and learn to operate in unlikely circumstances. Waste no space, waste no part of an animal, waste no food, waste no time. Not one inch of that kitchen went unused, and though it wasn't a glamorous workspace, the goal was to create a masterful experience for the diners upstairs.
Once we insist on creating something from seemingly nothing, a gift called creativity appears. Gray Cook uses a term called "self-limiting" to describe an exercise with constraints. What kind of practice or workout would you do if you only had a 4'x4' space? This is no notional exercise. Do it. Yes, it feels luxurious to spread out, preferably with sight lines of the lake, but this is not what most of your clientele base affords. Limit your materials, your tools, and your toys, and get back to basics.
Lesson 2: Buy the dang book. I wasted so much time trying to acquire books, knowledge, information, and teachings by penny-pinching. Internet-entitled: because so much is free, shouldn't I get it for free? Stop it!
I'm now nearing the age my parents were when they had me. My parents did a most amazing service by sending me to school that charged tuition. By my calculations, it wasn't until recently that I surpassed spending on my current annual professional education what my parents spent on my behalf 20-30 years ago! If you're waiting 2-3 weeks for the library to circulate a book for you, I've got you beat. Amazon brought it to my door yesterday and I've read through it in a few days, maybe a week, if I procrastinated.
I can hear it already, "But I don't want to spend $20 on a book. What if I don't like it?" You want to be taken seriously in your field. Learn from Masters and PhD level texts. Shell out $65 for a text book, multiply that out over 12 credit hours (12 books), for one college semester. Doable. If it's not doable, dishes are. There are plenty of kitchens near your home that need a dishwasher. They'll give you a nice 4'x4' space to get your work done. There you'll have a few hours to ponder the book that you just read before work.