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

Share this:

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.

Share this:

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.


Share this:

Error Proof Your Shower Temperature To Save 300 Hours

This is SO easy and you will notice the benefits right away. Think about other places around your home that can benefit from Error Proofing.

Error Proofing

In the assembly line, we will use many different methods to prevent mistakes. There are a bunch of methods:

A Tiny Pin Causes Interference, The Part Will Not Install If Built Incorrectly
A Tiny Pin Causes Interference, The Part Will Not Install If Built Incorrectly

  • Using a shape with an unbuildable interference to prevent an incorrect assembly
  • Using colors to denote the correct part or configuration
  • Using a marking to show the final location of a component

Its not that people are unable to do a job, its that we ALL make mistakes. If you do an action enough, you will eventually make a mistake.

Error proofing isnt about ability, its about quality and time saving.

Your Shower Temperature

Surprisingly Hard To Take A Photo With The Shower Running 😀

Do you start your shower, wait for it to heat up, test it, adjust a little bit, wait, test, then hop in?

Most of the time. But has it taken 3 or sometimes 4 times to get it right? Do you jump in anyway and deal with the discomfort until things are right?

Error Proof

We are going to make a small mark near the Temperature Control Valve, I use a shower crayon, but tape will work fine.

  1. Start your shower, find the perfect temperature.
  2. Stand in the normal position that you choose the temperature.
  3. Mark the Temperature Control Valve position with Tape or Shower Crayon.

Note: Make sure when marking you are standing in your normal position. If you are looking at it from the inside of the shower, you will see it from a different angle.

The Math

Works For Our 70 Year Old Shower - It Will Work For You
Works For Our 70 Year Old Shower – It Will Work For You

It takes our shower:

30 seconds to heat up,
10 seconds to feel and adjust the Temperature Control Valve,

20 seconds for the water to catch up,
60 seconds x 365 days x 50 years = 1,095,000 seconds,
304 Hours

That’s 912 episodes of Scrubs you could be watching on Netflix(1,100 episodes if you watch at 1.2x speed)

Your Turn

Do this today, notice the effects tomorrow. It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes, meaning you recoup your time in a day. You will benefit your whole life.

Think of other places you can error proof. We have a white laundry basket for white clothes and a blue laundry basket for colors. No pre laundry sorting. Error Proofing, applied to life.

We do this, everywhere, with everything, in our home. Get our newsletter for easy to use tips and make your life more Efficient saving you money, giving you more time:

* indicates required

Share this:

Watch A 3 Hour Movie In 2 Hours + You Get More Time


This trick I learned is a dire necessity for myself (who has self-diagnosed ADD).

Mandy has the patience of a Monk and watches more TV in the same amount of time. Together we can finish an entire Game of Thrones in one 40 minute sitting. That extra 20 minutes? Homework, Exercise, Family Time, or… More Game of Thrones 🙂

More jokes, more laughs, more drama, more suspense – same time.


Like an assembly line, if we increase the speed of the line, we will see more completed.

Same jokes, same plot, and at 10% faster – you wont notice a difference.

The Math:

Speed up your media player by using a playback of 1.1x speed or higher.

60 minute TV show

Speed up 1.1x

60 minutes/1.1 = ~54 Minutes.

6 Minutes saved, every time you watch.

1.3x speed is my standard, but I’ve watched really long movies at 1.5x speed. Didn’t have to stop to hit the bathroom. Watched the whole way through -no intermission. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I suggest using 1.1x speed for a while, taste how great 6 minutes a day – at no loss to you is. Wouldn’t it be great to sleep in another 6 minutes? Or have extra time to get ready in the morning?

How To Save Time:



Youtube is great for this, given the variety of content. Documentaries, cartoons, people jumping from high places.


1. Click Settings

2. Click SpeedYoutube2.1

3. Select A Speed

4. Save Time



VLC media player:

VLC is my go to for watching movies I have on my computer. DVDs or Files, VLC makes saving time easy.

1. Right click

2. Playback

3. Speed

4. Faster(fine)



Netflix takes an extra step, but the time savings will be well worth it.


1.) Chrome: Download a plugin that can control the speed. I used Video Speed Controller:



2.) Open up chrome://plugins/




3.) Disable Adobe Flash Player (This will enable HTML5 Video)

4.) Start Netflix, Pick a show and hit play.



5.)Use the box in the top left or Simply Tap D and save time – right awaynetflix 6

Thanks Haley for this request, you will be saving other people literally thousands of hours of time.

If you have a media format you would like to be Efficient, Comment below, email, or tweet

Efficiency Challenge: Try it – Get More Time Immediately:

Even if it takes you 20 minutes to figure it out how to get your playback faster – you will recoup 24 minutes that within watching four, 1 hour TV shows.

It wont take you 20 minutes 🙂

Protip: Closed Caption is amazing, and will allow you to conquer great speeds.



Want More Efficiency? I do the math – You save time and money.

Subscribe and get FREE now:


  • Your First Efficient Recipe – See how we eat for 1,000 dollars a year. 2 minutes to make. (700 Calorie Per Dollar, 44g Protein Per Dollar).
  • Fun Per Dollar App– Using an equation I developed, you can find your best and worst Personalized Fun Per Dollar.
  • Sections From Efficiency Is Everything In Life – Process Flow Diagram for a 6 Minute Morning Routine and Reducing Complexity To Get Extra Time. Engineering concepts, taken, and applied to the home easily.


* indicates required

Share this:

Save 12 hours A Week Sleeping + 4 Tips On How To Fall Asleep Fast

Let me guess:

You stay up later than you plan

You occasionally can’t fall asleep right away

You are super busy in the mornings before work

You wake up tired

You get tired in the afternoons

Biphasic sleep has solved ALL of those – We sleep 12 hours less a week.

After 2 months of working 60 hours a week at the Day Job, spending time eating dinner, trying to find time to work out, have family time with Mandy, and playing an
occasional Video Game… Mentally I needed a break.  Something needed to change.

We tried out out Biphasic Sleep – Sleeping two times a day instead of one, 8 hour sleep. Its hypothesized this was the way humans have slept before the invention of electricity. This has the benefit of saving 1.5 hours a day but getting the same number of REM cycles(deep sleep).

Here is a list of plans we read up on:


The Original Plan:

  • 1.5 hours of sleep after work
  • 5 hours of sleep at night
  • This would give us 10.5 hours more time to be awake.
  • Goal time to nap is 6 PM every evening. This allows us to nap between 1 PM and 8 PM.
  • Goal core sleep is 12:00-12:30 AM until 5:20 AM.

Week 1 – I was not adjusted. Tired after waking up, tired after 2-3pm.

Week 2 –  I was still not adjusted. All the articles said I should be feeling fine by now.

Week 3 – I was about to give up. However, this was by far the busiest week yet and even though I wanted to quit, we never had a chance.

Week 4 – I had begun to feel normal again.


Now at this point, I was working just under 75 hours a week, and I had been able to maintain my Video Game/ Wife/ Workout lifestyle. Wasn’t any more tired than normal.

After 3 months, we found the 1.5 hour nap was difficult given evening invitations or commitments. We researched another schedule.

The Winner:400px-Biphasic.svg

  • 20 minute nap after work
  • 6 hours of sleep at night
  • 12 hours extra per week, and a bit of flexibility on when we nap.

Took 3 weeks, but we have LOVED this. Same high energy as ever. I feel even more energetic in the evenings than before. We’ve even taken naps and people didn’t notice we went missing. I don’t see myself ever changing.

How to fall asleep quickly:

  • Have a before sleep routine and don’t break it.
  • Stick to similar hours for sleep, always set alarms, stick to similar on weekends. Especially for first 3 weeks.
  • Mandy’s tip: focus on breathing to prevent you from thinking
  • Best Tip: Quickly find a position to sleep in, close your eyes, don’t move, don’t open your eyes, just wait.

My Sleep routine is:

  1. Bathroom
  2. Set alarm
  3. Lay in bed on my back enjoy the feeling of the bed for about a minute
  4. Turn
  5. Close my eyes
  6. Don’t move until my alarm goes off.

After a missed nap + Notes:

If we missed a nap, we usually slept an extra 90 minutes the next day. I would not recommend missing a nap often or sleeping in during the first 3 weeks.

Caffeine is not recommended, I was guilty a few mornings. I don’t recommend using caffeine after noon if you are taking evening naps. I also don’t recommend more than 1 cup of coffee.

This strangely made dieting more difficult, being awake longer meant more times for my mind to wander and think about food.

Want More Efficiency? I do the math – You save time and money.

Subscribe and get FREE now:

  • Your First Efficient Recipe – See how we eat for 1,000 dollars a year. 2 minutes to make. (700 Calorie Per Dollar, 44g Protein Per Dollar).

  • Fun Per Dollar App– Using an equation I developed, you can find your best and worst Personalized Fun Per Dollar.
  • Sections From Efficiency Is Everything In Life – Process Flow Diagram for a 6 Minute Morning Routine and Reducing Complexity To Get Extra Time. Engineering concepts, taken, and applied to the home easily.

Share this: