I first started writing this article and completely expected this to be a silly study like Capsaicin Per Dollar. I find it fun to play with math, so why not:
3 Things I didn’t consider before starting:
Note: The time study was a single n=1 study. While exact oz/s will vary from situation to situation, everyone has similar situations. Transportation is often one of the largest hidden sources of waste, and it was found to be true for water.
Water dispenses out at pretty similar rates, with low flow water outlets being slightly slower.
Transportation is your largest waste of time. Having to fill 8 glasses of water a day adds up. Our goal will be to reduce transportation time.
The data is showing the advantages of leaving large cases of disposable water at your final destination. Despite having to walk down the isle at a grocery store, unpack the water from your vehicle, and dispose of water bottles, there are time savings over filling up your own water.
I bought my first case of water to conduct this study and my first thoughts on disposable water bottles as a product-
Consider this could be my bias against environmentally harmful habits, but the time savings over Gallon Water Bottles is minor.
To visualize why Gallon Water Bottles are so effective at getting you water, consider how far away you are from a water source.
Making a round trip 8 times a day adds up to minutes per day, hundreds of hours in your life. Transportation waste is the largest time consumer. Optimize the tool for storing water to get 128 oz of water. Compared to 8oz cups of water, this is 16x less transportation. The largest time sink. Pareto?
We have been running with This water bottle for about 5 years.
Its big. You cannot feed this to a baby. There will be a day you spill this on you. Since water is pretty forgiving, I don’t mind it. Especially at 2am when you wake up needing water, in your mouth, right away. Disclaimer- As long as you arent stupid with it, it wont leak. After 5 years of use… We have… Trunk of Car…
Drink out of gallon milk style containers? Not bad, but we did have one leak after a few months of use.
We are working on adding a hose for the new house. I highly recommend it, but apparently suburban culture isnt a big fan of hoses coming down from living room ceilings.
Will take pictures when its complete and beautified for suburban living rooms.
This has me visualizing a closet sized bathroom next to the couch… Living Room Urinal? The unfortunate part is that Misses Efficiency actually encourages this. I just need to decorate it up for the moms 😛
I’ve noticed an increase in sharing my links and showing their friends. It freed me to focus on articles over the last month. Thanks!
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Quick thanks to everyone following and providing feedback on these weekly articles. You are keeping me going 🙂
This article will reduce the cook time of your meals by minutes. Lots of engineering to explain WHY, but I will be sure to bold the tips on how to implement ways to cook food quicker. This uses Chicken for most studies, but this can be replaced with any other meat protein.
This topic is going to have a LOT of tips on saving time cooking. The tips saved so much time, it messed with the data 😛
This data is ‘Out Of Control‘. Which means, the data isn’t significant. The data I post on this site is the highest mathematical quality I can possibly create, and I will not post bad data.
I will include the Protein Per Second, however I won’t post it in an Excel file format like I usually do.
Science would isolate this problem and find that throwing a few thousand pounds of chicken into Lava would be the fastest way. Engineering has to make this problem applicable. Grills, Stove Boiling, Stove Sauteing/Searing, and Slow Cookers are examined.
0.11 g Protein Per Second
Methodology for all of these is common. Prep to Clean. Writing down process is something we do in Industrial Engineering.
This can be done faster or slower depending on how you like your eggs cooked. I did this with 4 eggs with the goal of over medium-hard eggs. 27g protein, 4 minutes.
27g + 21 + 8 g protein in 6 minutes =
0.155g Protein Per Second
Eggs were cooked in a similar way. Warming up sausages and toasting bread to make taste optimal added an extra 2 minutes in prep time. This included taking out 1 extra pan, 1 extra lid, opening and closing the freezer 2 times, and taking out an extra appliance.
The biggest thing to note- Sausages will cook in a similar time regardless if you have 2 or 10.
To understand why, I drew a picture that brought me back to our dreaded ME331 Fluids and Heat Transfer.
The heat from Electric Burner to Pan is a Heat Conduction(Qconduction). Conduction is Contact-To-Contact. Meaning surfaces need to touch completely. The browning of meats require Conduction and absence of water(we will get to that later). Protein touching the surface of the pan is getting more heat than protein that isnt touching the surface.
The air inside the pan is moving heat through Convection(Qconvection). Convection is the air and liquid flowing next to the protein. When you point a fan at you, there is no surface to surface contact, but the air will brush your skin and reduce your temperature.
Convection is especially strong with liquids, which we are going to see further in Boiling.
Keeping the lid on, means water in a pan cannot evaporate into your kitchen, instead water vapor circulates in your pan. If you take the lid off, the hot air and water vapor escapes
781g of chicken, cooked in 8 minutes and 15 seconds. Barely brown. 242g protein makes this 0.49 g Protein Per Second.
Similar mentality as above, adding a lid will speed up the cooking process. Cooked on Medium High heat.
Calling it ugly because there is no browning. The Mailliard Reaction when the lid is on. Any moisture kills the browning that gives chicken flavor.
14 minutes for 1041g chicken. 312g protein and .37g Protein Per Second.
This is some beautiful cooking. Searing both sides of chicken for a near perfect Maillard Reaction. Adding a little vinegar to dissolve the brown Maillard bits stuck to the pan. Adding fajita seasoning and stirring.
Quality comes at a time price.
Despite having massive amounts of convection because boiling water is surrounding chicken, water has a high heat capacity. Instead of cooking the chicken, the heat from the burner is being transferred to the water.
Below is a table for specific heats of materials. Water has a high specific heat, water is more dense than air, and there is significantly more mass to heat up than the same volume of air.
However… once the water is boiling, water is a better conductor of heat.
The most optimal way to boil chicken is to start the water, do something else, come back and drop the chicken in. There will be no mallard reaction, but very quickly chicken will be cooked.
If you are going to use oil for frying chicken, take note that at high temperatures, low smoke point oils will begin to smoke and catch fire.
While this technically takes almost 4 hours, this is a favorite because most of this time is inactive. I am considering how to study this given the amount of meat depends on the slow cooker(and who really wants 5lbs of the same meal?). Here are two recipes that take less than 4 minutes to make.
After 4 hours on high or 6 hours low, the chicken can be shredded and topped with BBQ sauce and placed on a bun or eaten plain.
Here is the recipe, takes a tiny bit longer because there are more ingredients and I suggest cooking rice + veggies. However this is a lazy favorite.
1500g in 9.5 minutes =
.81 g protein per second
Cut the fat off and butterflied 1.5 pallets of chicken. 15 minutes in the oven at 350F.
This is potentially misleading because most people arent eating 1500g of chicken out of the oven. It also negates the time in the oven, similar to slow cooker chicken dishes. This was further packaged for later use.
The biggest takeaway:
It should be noted that both Ugly Lid On Chicken and Mass Produced Baked Chicken do not produce the Maillard Reaction.
Homemade protein shake using Myprotin Impact (since it was my highest rated Protein Powder per dollar)
28g protein including milk in 1 minute flat.
.46g protein per second
This actually surprised me, I thought a protein shake would crush all competition. It seems that bulk production of food beats the competition.
Prep and Cleanup is a significant use of time on many proteins and I will continue to look to optimize further.
An ultimate study of Protein Per Second, including fast food, street vendors, store rotisserie chicken and more is in the works. However different methods of home prep are going to be practically useful.
Going forward on Protein per Second, I’m looking at creating an ‘In Control’ process so you can see the fastest sources of protein ordered by Protein Per Second.
Design Engineer David Richelson has been asking me about Engineering footwear, something every human must do. He put the time in and I find his research hilarious, fascinating, and applicable.
David- “There has to be a faster way!”
I spent about 3 months taking my shoes on and off at least twice a day. Every time I’d think to myself, “there has to be a faster way!” Since trying out different shoes and different laces, it turns out there’s not much I can do.
I’ve finished a time study on tying and untying my shoelaces, slip ons, shoe horns, and more. The most Efficient way to put on shoes.
To keep it consistent, I would place my phone on the table in front of me, in timer mode, with my shoes in front of me. Then I would slip each shoe on, and tie them at my regular pace, being careful not to rush. I took four samples for each shoe for 7 different shoes: my personal dress shoes, my personal running shoes with standard laces, my personal running shoes with “Lock Laces”, basketball shoes, work shoes, running shoes with braided laces, and running shoes with standard laces. Ultimately what I want to know is: how much time does it take, on average, “per cycle”. In engineering, a cycle is when a given process is complete. In this case, a the process consists of putting the shoes on and then taking them off.
Before I can discuss the results, I need to mention that my Puma shoes and the Starter shoes came with comically large laces (pictured below). It was unreasonable for me to single knot these shoes. Realistically, I’d double knot them, which is how I timed it. This added significant time to taking them off as well as putting them on.
You can see from the chart below, that most tied shoes require relatively similar times to take on and off.
I suspect that the length of the shoelace has more to do with the time, than the profile. I was surprised to see that the Athletic Works shoes, which had a braided shoe lace, had no noticeable effect on the time.
The most dramatic difference was between my Pumas with the stock laces vs replacing them with “Lock Laces.” I shaved at least 15 seconds off putting them on! That’s the most relevant improvement for me, since I know that my motivation for working out is fleeting, and can easily evaporate in 15 seconds. But once I have my shoes on, I might as well work out.
For better or for worse, I’ve got the need for speed. Can I shave off any more time? I needed to think outside the box. I tried stylish slip on dress shoes for work, and velcro shoes for working out. My most inventive idea was leaving my dress shoes tied, and then pushing my feet into them with a shoehorn to assist me.
Slip-on shoes are the clear champion. It was almost too fast to measure. Since there’s no laces for either the Slip-ons, or my pre-tied dress shoes, timing the cycle consisted of just pushing them on. Here’s a quick video of how I timed it.
Switching to slip-ons would save me about 25 seconds per day. That’s worth 15 days vacation(120 hours) over the course of my life! Pushing my pre-tied shoes on did technically work, but it was destructive to the shoe and slightly painful for my feet.
When it comes to working out, I could commit the fashion faux pax of getting Velcro. But, I’ve gotta look stylish in the gym too.
At the end of the day, 25 seconds doesn’t sound like a lot. But it adds up over time. This was a great exercise and I can’t wait to apply these time study techniques to the next part of my life.
Utilizing David’s data, I just had to… I can’t resist 🙂
I currently use Dress Shoes + Shoe Horn set up, but seeing that slip-ons are 2x faster, I’m going to be on the lookout for nice Slip-ons.
I haven’t tied a pair of shoes in memory and this data shows why. Tying your shoes takes 2x more time than using a shoe horn.
Thanks to David for completing this study to my Engineering Standards.
In other news follow our Facebook page, I’ll be posting Efficiency Memes on our official Facebook page. They are a combination of Data Driven Tips and Personal Lifehacks. I try to contain my personality on the Efficiency Is Everything website, but I leak a little bit on Facebook. Beware 😉
(Article Note: Much of this focuses on Female Appearance, I suggest all readers understand the methodology because the examples of female appearance were very clear in explaining Pareto Principle.)
Misses Efficiency can be hostile to change. When I was experimenting and threw in chopped spinach to an Alfredo Sauce, she outright refused until she tasted it.
Last week she was dreading straightening her hair, a 30 minute task for her thick, straight/wavy hair. After some reluctance to a new idea, we found a way to save 23 minutes.
And… Husbands, I’m sure your Wives will love to hear that you have an idea to get them ready more quickly. /s
I’ve begun sewing, tailoring my own clothing, and making stuff. However, I ‘half-ass it’. I never put in pins, and I draw dots rather than connecting lines.
My first time sewing I couldn’t believe how much time I spent preparing. I wondered if it was even necessary. After a trial run of minimal preparation, my shirt came out looking great. 80% of my shirt being too big had to do with the seam location, not the stretch or straightness of the seam. 20% of what I was actually spending time on was sewing a new seam.
Pareto Principle– 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. As a Process Engineer, we used this in our plant to decide which daily problems we’d focus on.
‘I OneFifth-Ass It’
When I look at Misses Efficiency, I see the outside of her hair, and a little bit on the inside layers. 20% of the sources cause 80% of the problems.
We tested this, only straightening the outside of her hair.
As it finished I wasn’t that impressed, I thought she’d need to straighten more. She put some sort of oily spray in her hair, combed it, and her hair looked like a model’s.
The problem wasn’t that her heir needed to be straightened, the problem was that the outside of her hair needed to be straightened.
Sure, there are probably benefits from doing another 25 minutes of work. But in 7 minutes her hair went from Bed to:
This is a topic worth studying on its own, however I’m 1 degree away away from understanding. I am unable to spend my commute thinking about if blush adds enough color to warrant the time. Or maybe Color is one of the most important things for appearance.
Ideas for variables to change.
Change something every morning, or practice a method when you find something optimal.
My suggestion here, do ANYTHING. As most people do very little, even 1-2 minutes of work sets you apart. I’d guess only 20% of people try 😉
If you are bald, shave.
(Optional soapbox, but my shirts look great)
Engineers, I have been playing with a sewing machine and I’m going to put the knowledge of a 19 year old girl, a few Youtube Videos, and Misses Efficiency, in our terms.
If the sewing machine isn’t working, turn it off and turn it back on. Seriously- Reroute the threads completely. An engineer designed this thing and they made it pretty easy too. The manuals are well done and have tons of pictures with great work instructions.
I watched this 4 minute video about 4 times and I learned to tailor my first shirt. The first shirt turned out great and I’ve been tailoring through my wardrobe.
Humans naturally take easy routes and shortcuts. However, consciously finding the 80% that actually matters will save you hours and potentially weeks of your life.
Hey this article broke with an update of the website.
The TL;DR is to download and try Spreed
It presents words so you dont need to move your eyes. This method is quite popular and many other apps exist, I use spreed myself for wikipedia articles.
Until I get around to updating this article with pretty pictures again
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
In the assembly line, we will use many different methods to prevent mistakes. There are a bunch of methods:
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.
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?
We are going to make a small mark near the Temperature Control Valve, I use a shower crayon, but tape will work fine.
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.
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,
That’s 912 episodes of Scrubs you could be watching on Netflix(1,100 episodes if you watch at 1.2x speed)
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:
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.
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?
Youtube is great for this, given the variety of content. Documentaries, cartoons, people jumping from high places.
VLC is my go to for watching movies I have on my computer. DVDs or Files, VLC makes saving time easy.
Netflix takes an extra step, but the time savings will be well worth it.
Thanks Haley for this request, you will be saving other people literally thousands of hours of time.
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.