Protein Per Second – Fastest Ways to Eat Protein (Part 1)

(This is version 1.0 of Protein Per Dollar, it’s more accurate than a buzzfeed article, however we havent completed an R&R style study, and isn’t ready for significant math applications. This is the conclusion off n=1, m=1.)

Protein is an unavoidable part of human life. Completing a detailed Obtain to Disposal time study may even have far reaching effects in food service and labor.

I don’t think anyone in the history of humanity has done a time study on the most efficient ways to get protein from start to finish. Although I will give credit to Hunter Gatherers πŸ˜›

Engineering Time Studies

Deciding where to start the timer was difficult. Do we include Grocery shopping? Do we include the time it takes for me to get my clothing on? Do we include the time it takes to write a grocery list?

These are work in progress questions. End goal is to include every aspect from idea creation to disposal.

This article includes Prep and cleanup time of grocery proteins. This does not include acquisition time.

Fastest and Instantly Ready Protein

Obtaining Protein is different from most carbs and fats, meats have to be refrigerated and often cooked. These below are instantly ready, requiring no preparation.


If you can drink milk, its my top method to getting calories and protein.


  • Great Calories Per Dollar
  • Top Protein Per Dollar
  • Instant and Scale-able


  • Not a lean protein

Beef Jerky

Careful for highway robbery, this can be expensive. I’ve seen this for less than 4g protein per dollar.


  • Instant
  • Tasty
  • Lean


  • Expensive

Peanut Butter and Peanuts


  • High Calorie Per Dollar
  • Good Protein Per Dollar
  • Instant
  • Long Shelf Life


  • Not a Lean Protein

Honorable Mentions

Premade Protein Shakes, Cottage Cheese, Protein Bars, Greek Yogurt, Imitation Krab, and Veggies. Broccoli is ready to eat and has a few grams of protein in it. These items will make for some interesting math!

Quick Sources Of Protein

Not quite as fast, but these are probably some of your best overall values.

Protein Shakes

My personal favorite. Something so quick I often make it before work.


  • Top Protein Per Dollar
  • Lean
  • Less than 1 minute to make

Canned Meats

Tuna, Salmon, Spam, and more.


  • Ready as fast as you can open a can


  • Expensive
  • Often eaten with plenty of fat

Hard or Soft Boiled Eggs

Make as many as you can fit in a pan, eat it all week.


  • Great Protein Per Dollar
  • Great Calorie Per Dollar
  • Can be made in bulk
  • Low active time


  • Not A lean Protein
  • Lentils

    Probably one of the easiest things to make


    • Boil, no stiring needed
    • A top Protein Per Dollar


    Pinto/Black Beans

    Depending on how hard it is to get your slow cooker out, this might be easier than lentils!


    • As much effort as the slow cooker
    • A top Protein Per Dollar


    • Not Lean Protein, high in carbs
    • May require flavoring

    Best Time And Money Values

    Creating dimensionless units and ranking by a formula:

    Y= Protein Per Second/Protein Per Second(Minimum) * Protein Per Dollar/Protein Per Dollar Max

    Until we gather enough data, I feel safe to list my top 5

    1. Protein Shakes- (potentially) Low cost, Fast, Lean Protein
    2. Canned Meats(Tuna)- Moderate Cost, Lean, Fast if your can opener ACTUALLY WORKS(mine doesnt…)
    3. Lentils – Top Protein Per Dollar, Low Effort
    4. Pinto Beans- Top Protein Per Dollar, Low Effort
    5. Boiled Eggs – Low Cost, Low Effort

    Future Of Protein Per Second

    I am very excited for the future of this. The Calorie Per Dollar List started as 15 frequently bought items. Creating a time study for proteins, calories, and nutrition may open up new metrics and mathematics for healthy eating quickly.

    By the end of the year, I expect to have a full formula to rate by nutrition, cost, and time.

    If anyone has a thought to contribute to developing the data or formulas, I’d love to hear what you can find useful.

    Subscribe to our newsletter, learn to be efficient today, and reap the rewards for the rest for your life.

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    Biphasic Sleep – Take A Daily Nap And Save Time Sleeping (1 Year Update)

    Get 2 Extra Hours. Everyday.

    I’m never going back.

    Consider Switching To Biphasic Sleep

    Do you:

    • Struggle to get 8 hours of sleep a night
    • Run out of time during the day
    • Have low energy after work

    You may already be getting similar REM cycles as Biphasic WITHOUT the nap.

    How It Works- Month 1

    1. Sleep 6 hours at night
    2. Nap, Set your alarm for 20 minutes and lay in bed
    3. Wake up and move on with your day
    4. Repeat everyday for 3 weeks

    I only need to sleep ~5 minutes of the 20 minutes to get a REM cycle. You will know- It will feel like 2-3 hours went by, but its only been 20 minutes.

    After 3 weeks, your body will adjust. You will have learned how to fall asleep in 20 minutes.

    The first 3 weeks are hard.

    Final warning- the first 3 weeks are hard.

    Before you start:

    I recommend picking one consistent time of day +/-2 hours as a target. I do 6pm, and nap between 4-8pm, but an early or later nap is not crushing.

    If you drink more than 100mg Caffeine a day, it might be worth abstaining for a few weeks before starting.

    I failed and slept in 2 times during those 3 weeks. Do your best.

    Set the alarm for 20 minutes, pick a spot, dont open your eyes, don’t move. Wait until the alarm goes off.

    Months 2+

    • After the 3 weeks are up, your body will start to do this like normal
    • You can occasionally skip naps or sleep in
    • If sleeping in a car or unusual place, I set my alarm for 25 or 30 minutes
    • If I am still tired, I can hit snooze for 20 minutes- this gives me another REM cycle.
    • Naps can be early or late in the day
    • It doesnt need to be perfect, a long night sleep on the weekend or a snooze button after a nap is still saving you time

    Those practices are bad, do your best to limit as much as possible.

    Broscience: Strange benefits I’ve discovered- If I sleep in 9+ hours after drinking or if I feel like I’m getting sick- I often can cure it. (Mrs Efficiency agrees)

    Me and Mrs Efficiency have swapped drivers to take naps on a long car ride after work.

    There are more places/times to nap than you think. We almost never skip it. It is only 20 minutes. (I’ve done it at a wedding and no one noticed.)

    As a Detroit Lions Fan who visits my parents on Sunday, the 20 minute nap can be a godsend.

    Save Time Sleeping

    Enjoy the extra 2 hours. This includes when you diet- expect to be awake 2 extra hours…

    The 20 minute nap boosted after-work productivity, but we have used the time to play video games.

    Imagine going to bed at 2AM and being awake at 8AM. Was useful changing time zones and traveling Italy.

    Plan a time to try it, and start. Give yourself 3 months, see how you like it.

    For another Time Saving Tip, Speed Up Netflix and Youtube to Save 6 Minutes Every Hour

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    McDonalds Per Dollar – Calorie and Protein Per Dollar At The Largest Fast Food Chain

    Site update-

    Due to demand for more articles more often, we will begin to study specialty store info. If you have a place you want to see the math for, post it in the comments or shoot me an email.

    Cheapest McDonalds Food


    With over 35,000 locations, this one will probably end up coming in handy.

    How To Use

    Select higher items that are similar – You get 50% more buying a Jr. Mac instead of a Big Mac. Not sure how picky you are, but some items are simply better deals.

    Remove things you wouldn’t have ordered anyway – If you are a repeat customer, eliminate the over-the-top expensive items you weren’t a fan of. I never really liked their Fillet-o-Fish much anyway.

    Fill up when desperate on Cheese Burgers – The protein + calories is going to be the best you are going to get. Consider purchasing a preferable item and one cheese burger for calories.

    Should you get a drink? Drinks are technically Infinity Calories Per Dollar. Is it ethical to buy a soda pop and use McDonalds as a wifi hub all day? I can imagine drinking a lot of Calories, Caffeine and getting some work done.

    McDonald’s Calories Per Dollar

    If you frequent a specific location and want your customized data, download the list and enter your prices. The orders, calories, and protein servings are there for you. Also included in the excel file is Protein/Calorie and a dimensionless weighing system. Prices were similar enough between restaurants to make Efficient decisions.

    Raw Data Download


    Key Takeaways

    1. Despite The Telegraph claiming the McDouble is the cheapest and most nutritious food in human history. It doesnt stack up to similar home cooked foods.
    2. The McDouble and Cheese Burger are the highest protein per dollar item at 15g/$. This is 33% more expensive than canned tuna and over 300% more expensive than chicken breasts. Honorable mention to the 20% more expensive McChicken.
    3. You could fill up on empty carbs with their 430 Calories Per Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies. Not exactly healthy, but I’ve done similar if I made a protein shake and wanted some solid food.
    4. It seems McDonalds runs sales, see their $1 cheese burger. In this case it was a top deal.

    If there are any items or stores you are interested in, comment or mail me πŸ™‚

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    Paper Products Per Dollar- Napkins vs Toilet Paper vs Paper Towel


    The math is in! We studied the most Efficient paper cleaning product. For decades I’ve been frustrated every time I had to clean up a spill, wash down a counter-top, or got food on my face.

    Should I be using a napkin to wipe my face? A paper towel? Did I just waste money?

    Should I be toughing it out and using toilet paper for everything?

    Designing Test Methods + The Math

    There were three areas we wanted to investigate:

    • Meters Of Material Per Dollar
    • Water Absorption Per Dollar
    • Strength Per Dollar

    Meters Of Material Per Dollar

    Objective math. Multiply Square Meters Per Package by number of ply and divide by the cost.

    Seems simple enough until you spend 2 hours recording notes of various toilet papers while Walmart employees keep a close eye on you.

    Water Absorption Per Dollar

    Shout out to Christopher B. and Jacob R. for the measurement method, I think I saw this on TV Commercial.

        Fill bowl with water
        Set on scale, tare to 0g
        Put paper product in water, lift and wait for drips to stop
        Record weight delta

    I used the microwave popcorn method, 4 seconds without a drip = stop dripping.

    Strength Per Dollar

    We clamped one end of the paper product to a piece of wood, and let the other end hang. We then attached clamps to the other side. Each clamp weighed 160g. Once it teared, we used the quantity of clips it successfully held as our metric.

    This is attribute data because we only could test integers of weights.


    The Data

    Paper Products don’t seem to spend the effort to brand themselves much. There were multiple types of generic, for instance- paper towels labeled “Paper Towel”.

    During the test phases, we bought 17 popular products for testing, for science! (I feel like these studies could be the subject of Portal 3)

    Highlighted denotes top 3 of one of the categories.

    Material Per Dollar

    1 ply items seem to win this category. But… if you ever used 1 ply toilet paper- You will understand why we decided we needed to continue to test.

    By pure length alone, here are the top products:

    meter per cost

    Water Absorbed Per Dollar

    Now this was interesting, 1 ply toilet paper topped the list if you are trying to absorb on the cheap. Although I’d probably recommend a towel for water spills.

    water per dollar

    Low cost paper towels and napkins are an honorable mention.

    Strength Per Dollar

    Since these are based on attribute data(0,1,2,3 clips) the data should be used more like a Yes/No. Consider that anything above 30,000 is strong ‘enough’.
    strength per dollar

    The weirdest thing was that Great Value Premium napkins held a 2.5lb weight. Nothing else could claim that accomplishment.



    Based on the Grams of Water Absorbed/ Dollar and strength, we will be cleaning up our disposable messes with Brawny. Honorable mentions to Great Value Quilted Napkins, Great Value 2 Ply Paper Towels, and Bounty Select Prints.

    Major water spills can be cleaned with towels, but if you are cleaning up a gallon spill of milk, 1 ply toilet paper is the most cost efficient.

    Facial tissue was consistently the most expensive.

    Side Notes

    During a strength test, we tried adding water to the center of a paper towel and it didnt affect strength significantly. As soon as the water hit the clamp, they would often rip.

    Wadding up 3 sheets of single ply did not increase strength. Mass of water absorbed was negligibly similar.

    Misses Efficiency got super excited for the Frozen Printed Paper Towel. She has never seen Frozen, but she wanted to use that type first. Marketing is a real thing.

    The volume of hundreds of paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper occupying our home is- Not Negligible πŸ˜›

    Website Update

    We have gotten feedback to test specific products, but I know I’m missing your favorites. I wanted to only email when I have a high quality article but I’ll be occasionally sending a “Request For Feedback” email about future topics. Goal is to get the data you are looking for. I’ll label it in the subject so you know its not an Efficiency Is Everything article.

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    Mrs. Efficiency Thoughts – How To Stop Forgetting Things At Home

    Guest article from none other than my wife, Dr. Mandy Kirk. Next article is another huge “Per Dollar” study and answers a question I’ve been asking since I was a kid. Is Toilet Paper cheaper than Paper Towels?

    Checklists are used in the factory to make sure things get done correctly 100% of the time. If you need to make sure a valve gets closed before we turn a pump on, Checklists prevent failure.

    Before our factory developed a Start Up Checklist, I walked out of our Process Room to see a floor full of polyol to which our maintenance guy said- “Have you ever seen a grown man cry?”

    Leaving home, I’d forget my lunch, belt, and work laptop often enough that Mandy told me we needed a solution. Its been 4 years and I havent forgotten anything since.


    People ask me if I like the efficiency lifestyle that Michael and I live. I do enjoy the benefits and it’s strangely calming. We’re always trying to alter our lives for the better. It makes me feel that we appreciate life more if we strive to maximize every second. Although we often end up watching Netflix with all of our time saving.

    What to remember – List for the Door

    I used to spend a lot of time in the morning getting to my car – only to realize I forgot something.

    Phone, Wallet, Lunch, Homework…

    We brainstormed the things we needed every morning. We wrote it all down, and stuck it on the door.

    And… We started using it.

    At first I was reluctant, I’m stuck in my ways and tend to dislike change. But it helped Michael. He stopped forgetting things.

    Then I stopped forgetting things.

    And after a week or two I started to learn it and love it. Having every item written down and visible saves me time. Now I don’t even worry. I read through them, check each off in my head. 10 seconds and works every time.

    Give it a try! Best case you will save yourself frustration and time. Worst case you are out a piece of paper.

    -Mandy Kirk

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    2017 Goals, Targets and Site Updates


    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and lets bring on the New Year!

    It was a good Christmas
    It was a good Christmas

    Make Goals

    Before, I laughed off the concept of New Years Resolutions. Today, I have a different stance.

    We use Metrics and Goals in engineering to hit milestones, price targets, quality standards, and anything that we want tracked. Instead of calling them New Years Resolutions, we’ll call them Targets.

    Here are a few things to make Targets better than a ‘workout more’ New Year’s Resolution:

    • Choose goals that are- Specific, Measurable, and Achievable.
      • Good Example- Run 1 Mile under 6 minutes.
      • Bad Example- Run more and faster.
      • Good Example- Read 25 minutes a day
    • Declare your Metrics- How will you measure your progress? Decide if you can use tally marks or need to write down dates/times/weights. See if you can track with numbers.
    • Be Visual- I personally like physical calendars with a sharpie nearby. Check off dates you were successful or write down the metrics. Put it somewhere you look every day.

    Use Human Biology Against Yourself

    There are fallacies that cause humans to invest further into decisions. There are many psychological tricks out there, here are some easy ones:

    1. Draw your own diagrams instead of printing- The time it takes to draw your own tracking system is sunk cost. Now you must do your goal, you already put time into it.
    2. Monetary Sunk Cost – Pay 1$ and I’ll motivate and keep tabs on your Targets. Now that you spent money on your goal, it would be a waste if you don’t achieve.
    3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew- Its easier to have 1 large goal and a few easy goals. Failure in one often causes others to drop off. If bodyweight is something you want to work on, focus on diet as the large goal with much easier and more forgiving workout goals.

    My artwork- X CalendarX_calendar

    If you did the target for the day, mark an X on the calendar. If you miss a day, circle the date. Once you get a streak going, you wont want to stop. I’ve done comical things to keep the chain going.

    Not New Years Resolutions- Targets

    These goals are being tracked – “What gets measured gets managed”.

    Pick a system as complex or simple as needed. I’ve used scrap paper and excel charts. Add numbers or attributes(True/False) and track your Targets.

    This year you aren’t some trendy New Years Resolutioner, today you can achieve your goal.

    Efficiency Is Everything 2017

    We definitely grew last year and as a result, we got quite a few Efficiency studies by request. I’m only one Engineer, and the community has found things I’d never have expected. I’m really excited to tease these topics:

    • Nutrition Per Minute – Looking at how long it takes to get protein, calories, and vitamins based on different methods of obtaining food. I think cooking eggs + breakfast sausage is faster than going to McDonalds. Thats a hypothesis, we are going to find out the most and last efficient ways to get food.
    • Time Studies – We had a minor time study on doing dishes. We will be looking at the time it takes to hang dry clothes vs machine dry + put away. I’m thinking of doing a detailed kitchen time study if there is interest.
    • Nutrition Per Dollar- This is our biggest undertaking, and we’ve had to hire employees to get this done. We are mapping out an entire grocery store and this time, its not just Calories Per Dollar. We will be looking at different nutritional aspects as well.

    Not mentioned, Efficient Party Throwing, Efficient Student Loan payments, Efficient Investing vs Debt, Paper Towel/Napkins/Toilet Paper Per Dollar, and if we can figure out a responsible way- Efficient Childcare.

    These are topics I’ve had requested, if you have an area in life you want Efficient, email me at

    Updates And Personal Life

    Of course a Christmas party would involve taking pictures of someones refrigerator.
    Of course a Christmas party would involve taking pictures of someones refrigerator.

    Going forward, I’ll be releasing 1 major study and 1 minor article a month. I’ve had requests to include new information on the Calorie per dollar, caffeine per dollar, and alcohol per dollar list. I’ll throw those in occasionally.

    I’ve accepted a job at GM. I love engineering and I couldn’t stay away for long. My boss says the word Efficiency almost daily and I get excited every time. My wife is now a Doctor of Physical Therapy and we are soon to be home owners. Wonder what kind of Efficiency is ahead for us…

    We are testing out new high calorie per dollar and quick nutrition per minute recipes. My very picky wife questions it every time, but likes it enough to bring as leftovers the next day. Expect some efficient recipes coming your way.

    My 2017 Goals

    1. 2 Hours at the library after work everyday. Metric for tracking- I track how I used my library time in 25 minute increments in Excel.
    2. Daily Workout- Minimum walk 1 mile after work. I’ll always end up working out or running that mile, but no excuses. Drawing a X Calendar for daily tracking.
    3. Eat Vegetarian once a week- Beans and Lentils are really good Protein per dollar. I’m always looking to find more efficient ways to eat, finding good recipes are the hard part. Tracking with a checkmark for the week on the refrigerator.
    4. Draw/Draft 5 minutes a day- Trying to get better at communicating via picture, easy X Calendar goal that will likely consume more than 5 minutes a day

    Your turn. Pick at least one life Target you want to change and throw some numbers on it. Its not a NY Resolution, its your goal.

    Add Sunk Cost to boost your Target for $1 – it will be fun!Β 


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    Caffeine Per Dollar List – Cheapest Forms Of Caffeine, Coffee, Tea, and Energy Drinks


    After a weekend of lots of coffee, infinity CPD cream, and infinity CPD sugar later- we have our Caffeine Per Dollar List

    EDIT 2-7-17: It was pointed out that the caffeine content in coffee was about 20% higher than it should be. Accuracy is the most important and the photo and excel download below has been updated.

    Bolded are some products I found interesting to compare. Take note of how similar products have similar amounts of Caffeine Per Dollar. McDonalds and Starbucks were comparable to each other, but much more expensive than their home brew counterparts.

    Download Excel File Here

    7 Take Aways

    1. Drip Coffee is often the most cost efficient around $0.02/cup
    2. Diet Coke has more caffeine than regular Coke.
    3. Making Coffee in the Keurig is 32x more expensive than Drip Coffee
    4. Making your own Starbucks at home saves 3x.
    5. 25 Cent Office coffee costs ~9x more than if you made it your own
    6. Energy Drinks are expensive,and often on par with Starbucks and McDonalds
    7. Caffeine pills can be comparable to drip coffee, or sometimes 5x more expensive.

    Caffeine Study Routine

    Got me through many Chem Engineering exams-

    >Eat Dinner
    >Take Caffeine Pill with a bunch of water
    >Set timer for 40 minutes, enjoy life to the fullest- aka game.
    >Timer rings, caffeine kicks in, get to work
    >Set timer for 5 hours (you study until the half life hits)
    >Dream about the subject matter

    Bonus points if you ran or napped recently. Worked best for Organic Chem, I used to dream in compounds.

    I hope I dont kill anyone

    There are two items I didnt list above, but collected data for.

    1,500 g Caffeine Powder Pure (Synthetic) From PureBulk – 22,000 mg Caffeine Per Dollar

    25 kg 100% Pure Caffeine Anhydrous USP From Nutra Vita Shop – 38,400 mg Caffeine Per Dollar

    The problem with pure caffeine is that a scoop of it will kill you. That teaspoon you use to scoop sugar with could kill a few people. Not easy to use.

    Ever since BOFAD(Bag of Flour A Day) became a meme on fitness message boards, I’m a bit more conservative on what I put in an infographic.

    I’ll take my delicious house coffee. Black or lots of cream lots of sugar – I love coffee.

    Caffeine Efficiency

    Is getting your daily caffeine intake something I should do a time study on? Find anything interesting in the data? How can we make life Efficient? Comment below

    Sign up for our email list so you don’t miss any Efficiency Studies, get Efficient:

    * indicates required

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    INFINITY Calories Per Dollar – AKA Free Food

    Happy Thanksgiving! Fun topic for this week, don’t take it too seriously.

    We are looking for sources of Infinity Calories Per Dollar or as most people will call it, free food.

    Quick Math:

    1 Calorie / 0$ = infinity

    (technically this doesn’t equal infinity, but rather approaches infinity however – no calculus until after dinner)

    Originally I thought this was going to be silly – telling people to eat sugar at their local coffee store, butΒ I think there is something fascinating about

    1. How much time people will spend for free food
    2. Companies advertise to you in exchange for food
    3. How the easiest sources of free food are the least nutritious

    I often see engineer’s cubicles have this printed:


    Pick Two

    Given those, there are all sorts of ways to classify each ‘deal’.

    Free Sources

    • Socially acceptable
      Infinity Calories Per Dollar
      Infinity Calories Per Dollar
      • Work food
        • Donuts/Snacks/Baked goods
        • Events
        • Team Lunches
      • Free Samples
        • Costco/Sams Club
        • Mail in samples
        • Free after Rebate
    • Work
      • Gardening
      • Hunting/Trapping
      • Foraging
      • Begging
      • Volunteer opportunities
    • Illegal/Immoral
      • Theft
      • Unnecessarily going to a food bank
    • Not actually free, but an incentive
      • Buy One Get One Free
      • Coupons
      • Reward programs
      • Birthday Deals
        • Often involve tipping, or bringing others along to pay full price

    Non Free Sources Of Infinity Calories Per Dollar (Theoretical)

    These assume either Sunk Cost, or Calories are infinite (infinity/30$ is still tending towards infinity)

    • All-You-Can-Eat
    • Free Refills
    • Taking receipt surveys
      • Costs money at point of service
    • Wedding/party food
      • You were going to go to the wedding anyway
    • Restaurant Freebies
      • Sugar Packets
      • Coffee Creamers
      • Ketchup/Condiment Packets
      • Candy/Mints
      • Parmesan packets from Pizza Places
        • Shoutout to Jaci who said you can use this to make a ‘good enough’ grilled cheese
      • Salsa +Chips
      • Bread + Olive Oil
      • Free Refills on Drinks



    Right away, there are a few things that caught my attention:

    There is a fine line between frugal and theft, I don’t feel bad about taking an extra few sugar packets, but I don’t think its right to take all of the sugar packets.

    Deals are misleading

    • Buy one get one free, is not actually free.
    • Coupons/rewards usually require an expensive upfront cost.

    Unless you are walking to a location, gasoline costs money.

    There is time cost to doing any of these. How often do you drive by the place you have a coupon on the way home from work?


    Final Takeaways

    Upon doing thisΒ I decided – its SOOO much easier, tastier, and healthier to just cook food.

    We eat for ~3$/day and personally, I’d put more time into looking for a higher paying job before signing up for Red Robin Birthday Coupons.

    My exception is Work Food and Sunk Cost when they are healthy. I’ve outgrown work’s weekly donuts, but I’m a sucker for protein filled sandwiches. Regarding the chips and salsa, I can’t tell if I love salsa or I love getting Infinity Calories Per Dollar.

    Don’t take this topic too seriously, its a fun little exception when math extremes intersects with life. Hope you enjoyed some quirky math this week. Next time, Caffeine per Dollar, I hope I dont kill anyone….

    Do you have any places you get free food? Comment below and I’ll do the data science.


    Join our Facebook community to get Efficiency ideas you can’t get anywhere else.

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    Environmentally Questionable – Disposable Dining Ware Per Dollar List

    Environmental Ethical Dilemma

    For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about this information. It seemed replacing your dining ware(forks, spoons, utensils, cups, plates, bowls) with plastic or disposable was clearly the time efficient solution. It isn’t responsible to release an article encouraging people to increase their waste.

    It sparked us to looked deep for a solution, which we were shocked to find. It wasnt ‘green’ disposable, as it was was 3-4 times more expensive. And really? How ‘green’ is something its manufactured and shipped? Disposable dining ware is affordable but the time savings didnt add up.

    I’ll post the raw data without commentary for informational purposes, but continue reading to see our surprising conclusion and recommendation.




    Download As Excel File

    Time Study Of Dishes

    We did a Timestudy on loading and unloading the dishes vs disposable. Pretty basic, but we wanted to put real numbers with tasks. We found:

    Silverware is bought once. Disposable plates and utensils are bought a few times a year, adding a few minutes at the grocery store.

    Daily transportation of dining ware and food are identical in steps/timing.

    After use at the dining room table, the dishes must be moved to the trash or dishwasher. Considering the dishwasher and garbage are pretty close to each other. Loading into a dishwasher takes negligible additional time.

    Note: This may fail if the dishwasher is full, causing rework.

    When cleaned, the time putting dishes away is noteworthy

    3 loads of dishes later and a weirded out friend on a Friday night, I have a good range of data regarding the time it takes to unload dishes.

    • It takes average 2.8 s per meal to put away a clean plate.
    • It takes average 3 s per meal to put away a fork/knife/spoon
    • It takes average 6 s per meal to put away a cup
    • A Wok took 75 seconds to hand clean
    • Odd objects took minimum 6 seconds and upwards of 24 due to distant storage locations or failure to clean.

    To replace all your forks, spoons, plates, with disposable you would save:

    1 Fork + 1 Plate = ~6s/meal

    6s/meal * 3 meals/day = 18s/day

    18s/day * 365 days/year = 2190 s =

    109.5 minutes/year

    109 minutes a year per person. But it takes more than 18 seconds a day to do dishes, where does that come from?

    The painful part of dishes arent the silverware or plates, its the odd objects. Stacking Tupperware, building to-go mugs, and putting away single objects away are time heavy.

    See why plates are so much faster than the odd Glass Pie Pan?
    See why plates are so much faster than the odd Glass Pie Pan?

    Having to walk across your kitchen to put something away takes seconds going there, and seconds going back. I could put away 4 meals worth of plates in the time it takes me to put away a special appliance.

    Comparing only disposable to dishwashed cups, forks, spoons, bowls, and plates we can find out

    The Math – Should you replace your silverware with disposable?

    From above, 18s a day/person = 109min/year

    109 min/yr = 1.8 hrs/year

    $120 for 1 year all disposable dining ware

    $120/1.8 hrs = $66/hour luxury

    If you are making less than 66$/hour, its a luxury to use disposable dishware.

    From the original table it only costs 120$/yr to use low cost disposable dishware. ~400 dollars for the ‘green’ alternative($220/hr).

    A few people have pointed out this is only the price mathematics, using this much disposable stuff might cause an environmental disaster. Regardless, disposable forks seems expensive for the time you actually save, I’ll let you use the data make your own decisions.

    Final Thoughts + Tips

    The biggest surprise to me, was how quick plates and forks were to put away and take out of the dishwasher. The big lesson learned was seeing how long it took to clean or put away a unique object. Pareto rule, 80% of the time comes from 20% of the dishes.

    1. Reduce the number of times you bend and lift(pick up) items, try to get many in. That action can take up to 60% of the time doing dishes.
    2. You are greatly time rewarded if the dishwasher is clean, cups, forks, spoons can all go straight into it. Eliminating rework time
    3. Pots and pans that finished cooking should be cleaned right away. If that isnt possible- run warm water in the pot, thank yourself later.
    4. Clean while you cook – when you are waiting around for things to get hot, put a few away
    5. If you are going to splurge, I recommend cups to save time. It takes 6s to put away a cup, double the time saved over a plate/fork.

    I wont be switching to disposable any time soon, however I’ll be looking to move our oven pans and wok closer to the action.

    Can you move anything in your kitchen to reduce walking distances? Look around and think about it when you are cooking or doing the dishes. If you can find a way to save 30s a day, it would add up to be more than 150 hours of your life. Thats like 4 weeks paid vacation! Efficiency!

    If you want me to look into kitchen or home time-studies or ergonomics comment below.

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    Special : Podcast Interview – How to Data Science Your Life

    Note: I have a huge study coming up in the realm of – “paper plates per dollar”. Its been a struggle trying to find an environmentally responsible, cost efficient, and time saving solution – BUT I’m almost there.


    I got a special surprise this week:earphones-477446_640

    We have an interview loaded with Efficiency tips, including a little bit of theory, and a lot to learn. It turned out fantastic and anyone will learn something they can apply to save money or gain time right away. Dennis from Grounded Reason did a great job leading the topic.

    I start talking at about 8 minutes into the podcast, but Dennis has a really interesting note about how to play Monopoly that anyone who plays boardgames should listen to.

    Click Here To Download Podcast- How To Data Science Your Life

    Grounded Reason finds solutions to cutting your cable bill, reducing or eliminating your monthly bill. Midway through the interview I do a calculation that even sunrises me:

    Average American watches 2 hours a day

    Each hour has 20 minutes of commercials
    40 minutes a day of commercials
    40 minutes of commercials x 365 days x 50 years= 730,000 minutes or 12,000 hours.
    If you could get that in 8 hour vacation days, that would be 1,500 days off work.

    That is one of the biggest uses of time I’ve ever seen – with solutions

    • Netflix
    • Youtube
    • Equipment
    • Antenna,
    • Various Entertainment – This is what Grounded Reason does best

    Check out the Grounded Reason website and see how they can save you money on the cable bill – at $90/month that comes out to $54,000 in a lifetime. Not even mentioning getting rid of 12 thousand hours of commercials.

    And definitely listen to this podcast when you have a chance. Be double efficient and do it on an unavoidable car ride.



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