Big Efficiency News + How To Start An Efficiency Lifestyle for 2018


First, we have been hard at work studying various restaurants for the best Calories and Protein Per Dollar. If you haven’t visited our Food page, its a comprehensive list of optimizing food. Note: This article is how we eat 99% of our meals.

Hopefully this is every restaurant you would like. Feel free to comment any others you want studied.

It seems Google is starting to pick this up, you can ask ‘The highest Calorie per dollar food’, and it should tell you.

Burger King Per Dollar
Chick-Fil-A Per Dollar
Hardees Per Dollar

White Castle Per Dollar
Wendy’s Per Dollar
Five Guys Calories Per Dollar

Panara Bread Per Dollar
Jimmy Johns Calories Per Dollar
Panda Express Per Dollar

Pizza Per Dollar (Jets, Little Caesars, and more)
Chili’s Per Dollar
Taco Bell Per Dollar
McDonalds Per Dollar

Efficiency News

I don’t like to talk about myself, I really just want to provide you high quality data. However I had people reach out about my absence. Skip ahead for this weeks article.

I’d like to make quality articles rather than hit deadlines. I had been working more than 70 hours a week between Efficiency and my Engineering job. Paying an Intern only made me raise the quality of the articles rather than reduce workload.

I want to spend a few months programming an App that will make Mutual Funds feel like Cash. “Cash” with a 7% yearly return but with an ability to exchange without fees. This isnt cryptocurrency, this is a solution to a problem I had since I worked at a clothing store. I asked my boss if I could be paid in NASDAQs instead of USD- No. USD inflates, Investment provides value. I’m excited to program for a few months, I hope to come back to Efficiency with some new skills.

In addition, we have a team starting a charity, Kids In Kitchens, where we teach 5th graders how to make a no-chop slowcooker meal to feed 5 people for 6 dollars.

I stopped playing video games and started sewing with a focus on fashion. I post my creations on Instagram.

While I take a break, I’d like to set some very reasonable goals to work toward an Efficient Life.

You Need To Be Efficient

“Oh, you really do this in your life?”

My neighbor was shocked when I was telling him about having shelves in our kitchen to reduce time opening and closing cabinets.

While I don’t expect you to remodel your kitchen, I want to you implement major improvements that will pay dividends throughout your life.

Make Life Lazier, Apply Process Flow

Reducing steps in daily routines are something that pays off instantly.

Something like your daily morning routine should be optimized in detail, setting aside time for timed and recorded trial. Either having a partner write down every detail of every step of your routine, or recording and reviewing your routine will give you an opportunity to find waste.

Find steps that do not add value and make it a goal to either remove or reduce that time.

This is something you can do on smaller scales. When cutting food, moving the cutting board and knives closer to the refrigerator. Simply being aware that (movement) Waste is significant will begin to make a serious impact to giving you more free time.

You Know Expensive Foods, Its Time To Change

You know what I’m going to say,

The data has shown over and over that processed foods, frozen, canned, fast food, restaurant food, are not as cost effective as fresh foods.

Could you make it a goal to stop eating out?

3 quick solutions to laziness:

Protein Shakes– Can be made in 1 minute, filling, add some veggies and its a real meal.

Breakfast– Eggs and Breakfast Sausage take me less than 6 minutes to get 1000 calorie.

Bulk Food– We make 6+ servings for 2 people every night. Tupperware!

If you must eat out, limit yourself to only top calorie or protein per dollar items. This is a self-control thing. Eating out isnt going to be healthy, might as well eat it cheap.

Otherwise we eat out for birthdays.

Would you try Biphasic Sleep?

Regardless what time you go to bed or wake up, biphasic sleep can work with almost every lifestyle. Misses Efficiency Wakes up at 6am and takes her nap as late as 9pm. After that, she has a shot of energy and we have 3 hours of productivity, fun, or whatever the situation needs.

Take a look at our sleep articles. Many other users have made the change and say they are not going back.

Save 12 Hours A Week By Taking A Nap- Efficiency Articles

Our First Time Doing Biphasic Sleep + 4 Tips To Fall Asleep Fast
1 Year of Biphasic Sleep Later- Lessons Learned

Testimonials and Tips from other Biphasic Sleepers

Jim’s Experience And Tips on Biphasic Sleep
Jake’s Testimonial on Biphasic Sleep
Warnings- Why Biphasic Sleep Didn’t Work For Hailey and Ryan

Next Steps

I want you to think about your daily life and where there is waste, fix your food (dont be weak), and try something new.

Keep me excited about Efficiency, implement Efficiency in your homes and teach people how to optimize their life.

Check out my favorites from 2017

Save Money Without Shopping For Gas (Applied Secretary Problem)

Water Per Second. Non-trivial amounts of time are spent obtaining water.

Removing Non Value Added Marketing -Essential if you never taken a marketing class

Save Time Eating-Intermittent Fasting

Introducing Fun Per Dollar

Shoes Per Hour

Expand your Efficiency

Get more Efficiency to improve your daily life. Subscribe and get three slow cooker recipes designed to be low cost, quick and healthy.

Completely Cut The Cord- Save Thousands By Replacing Cable Internet With Hotspots


Do you like the Newsletter format? Or should we go back to Article only?

Moved into our new half million dollar mortgage this week. First home ownership already has me thinking of topics like: Saving Time On Lawns and Landscaping, Thermodynamics of Heating a home, Quality Metrics of Patios, Moving items upstairs using Buffers… and we’ve only been living there 4 days.

Home Ownership Efficiency Incoming

Jimmy John’s Calories and Protein Per Dollar– Optimize your Order, pick the best bread.

If you have been thinking about trying biphasic sleep, take a look at our new Sleep Section. Our implementation to save 12 hours a week plus anecdotes and tips from others that have made the change and ‘won’t be going back’.

Heads up on a ‘non engineering’ article coming up. Finance/Investing. I feel almost irresponsible for not discussing this in the past. Investing can take money today and make it worth 7x as much in the future without any extra effort. I’ll go through the math and focus on quality metrics. There will be no affiliate plugs, just math and some notes about my own investments.

Cutting the Cord, The Next Generation

I’ve heard the term ‘Cut the Cord’, the big middle finger to Cable companies for annoying introductory rates.

Replacing Cable TV with alternatives. This was studied earlier this year. This still requires using the Cable company for internet service.

Next, We remove cable companies from your home using Hotspots.

Premise- Meeting Quality Specifications

Internet needs to provide:

  • Netflix
  • Video Games- MMORPGs(I suppose its 2017, so MOBAs?)
  • Multiple users Googling
  • Youtube

Or whatever you need. You decide your quality specifications.

These specifications achievable through Comcast and AT&T internet. If Comcast is 5 dollars cheaper than AT&T, and they both hit all quality specifications, spending $5 extra dollars a month for AT&T would be Overprocessing Waste.

You are paying extra money and not getting value.

If Hotspots can meet those specifications, you can make the change without noticing any change.

Testing Hotspot Technology

Steps to Test:

  1. Turn on your phone’s Hotspot.
  2. Change your home internet to your new Wifi
  3. Test connectivity to your favorite websites
  4. Test Video Streaming Services. All of them ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
  5. Test Video Games
  6. Make a decision if the internet speed met your expectations

Upon finishing our testing, Tmobile’s LTE was a suitable replacement for our needs. Our plan is about 60$/month for 1 phone’s service, which we also write off as a business expense in taxes. (hmmm… Might have to write about tax writeoffs…)

Next Steps

You need to conduct your own test. Try it tonight, make sure you plug in your phone for charging.

Very quickly we found that Hotspot technology met all of our expectations. Cancel your $50+/month cable bill. If your service is good enough, you won’t notice the difference… except for saving hundreds of dollars a year.

Try

Make the change to Hotspots, optimize your money!

Get the latest Efficiency articles to save time and money applying Industrial Engineering

Learn more Efficiency to improve your daily life.

Expand your Efficiency

Get more Efficiency to improve your daily life. Subscribe and get three slow cooker recipes designed to be low cost, quick and healthy.

Protein Per Second Part 2- Cooking Proteins Fast, Reducing Effort


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.

The Good-

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 😛

The Bad-

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.

My Compromise

I will include the Protein Per Second, however I won’t post it in an Excel file format like I usually do.

Cook Protein Faster – By Method

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.

Eggs In 4 Minutes

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.

  1. Take out small pan
  2. Turn on Medium High heat-(Getting anything hot is likely your “Long Lead Task”, do this as early as possible)
  3. Open Fridge, Take out Eggs
  4. Spray Pan with Nonstick
  5. Crack Eggs into pan
  6. Take out lid, place on pan(containing heat will speed up cooking)
  7. Wait 2 minutes, flip(Bonus if you can do this without dirtying a spatula, Minus points if this makes a mess you need to clean up)
  8. Place lid back on, wait another 2 minutes and serve
  9. Clean pan immediately under hot water to reduce sticking.

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.

4 Eggs and 9 Sausages and Toast – Breakfast

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

Summary:

Cooking food with a lid ON will cook faster.
Cooking food with a lid OFF will cook slower, but will brown your meat quicker.

(ugly) Chicken With Lid

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.

The Alternative:

Fajita Chicken

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.

Boiled Chicken

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.

Tip: Use the least amount of water you can get away with.
Oil is also a very popular medium of heat transfer because oil does not boil and can get hotter than water.

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.

Slow Cooker Chicken

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.

Two recipes:

Pulled Chicken
  1. Turn on a slow cooker
  2. Add 1 Can of Soda Pop
  3. Add as much chicken you want

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.

Sunday Chicken

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.

Mass Produced Baked Chicken

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:

cooking in bulk pays off significantly.

It should be noted that both Ugly Lid On Chicken and Mass Produced Baked Chicken do not produce the Maillard Reaction.

Protein Shake

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.

Cooking food at a single time reduces the prep and clean up time.

Prep and Cleanup is a significant use of time on many proteins and I will continue to look to optimize further.

Next Steps To Eat Food Faster

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.

Tip- If you want to save time on any process, apply metrics to it and study each step. Your home chores will become more enjoyable and completed quicker.
My recommendation is to Meal Prep, the early data shows that is the best way to get as much food cooked in the shortest time

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.

Support Efficiency Is Everything by sharing. This frees me to focus on engineering instead of spending time and money on marketing so you get more Efficiency.

Expand your Efficiency

Get more Efficiency to improve your daily life. Subscribe and get three slow cooker recipes designed to be low cost, quick and healthy.

Shoes Per Hour – The Math For The Most Efficient Way To Put Shoes On


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.

Shoes Per Hour – Fastest Ways To Put On Shoes

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.

Methodology

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.

Tested Shoes

Dress Shoes

Puma w/ “Lock Laces”

And 1

Dr. Scholl’s

Athletic Works

Starter

Slip-on

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.

Results

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.

Data:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IS1lgoWiqvJ43TNQ9HVNxQ9zKq15DzzUHu_PH-BMAXA/edit?usp=sharing

Michael Kirk- Shoes Per Hour

Utilizing David’s data, I just had to… I can’t resist 🙂

My conclusions

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 😉

Ultimate Low Cost Healthy Food Guide – 44 Micro Nutrients Per Dollar – Data’s Best Foods


Quick Tips To Save Money On Food

Despite Marketing Companies ability to control your perception- Fresh Food is lower cost than Fast Food, Canned, Prepared/boxed, and frozen.

This math will change your life.

Consume More-
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • (Flour?)
  • Butternut Squash
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Lentils
  • Canned Tomatoes
Consume Less-

  • Out of Season/Location Fresh Foods
  • Energy Drinks
  • Alcoholic Drinks(sorry not a ton of nutrition in beer + wine)
  • Brand Name Apples
  • fast food/processed food
General Results

Best Values- The Math

There are two types of data presented. Nutrition Per Dollar and Nutrition Ratio Total(Sum).

A straight addition of nutrients would yield an unimportant number due to a wildly high amount of Vitamin A in carrots.

The solution was to remove the dimensions of each to find a Nutrient Ratio:

(Ingredient’s Nutrient mg/dollar) / Max Nutrient mg/dollar

This creates a scale from 0 to 1, where 1 is the best value for that Nutrient/$. By removing the dimensions, we can now add these up. If we decided we wanted to weight one nutrient over others, we could use multiplication.

The numbers below are an addition of 37 micronutrients I considered beneficial.

On Data Collection- I nearly always picked the lowest cost option, and obtained nutrition data from here.

Lowest Cost Nutrition

Understanding and implementing top 50 ranked foods is valuable.

Nutrition Ratio Total = Sum of 37 (Nutrient/$ / Highest Nutrient/$). The original Nutrient/$ can be found below.

The Nutrition Ratio Total is good for understanding scale of value. IE: Oranges(1.57) are 3x more Nutritious Per Dollar than Lemons(0.51).

If you havent eaten a specific vegetable before, I’d toss the veggie into something you already enjoy. We started adding Spinach or Kale to our friend rice. After 10 minutes of cooking, it still tastes like my favorite fried rice in the world, but it has Kale.

Frozen food doesnt show up until #19, where Frozen Carrots are 2x more expensive than Fresh Carrots. The lesson here is to reduce/eliminate canned and frozen food. Fresh/Raw foods are typically cheaper.

One more cost saving tip- Replace a $1.69 Red Pepper with Carrots. Just as sweet.

Flour + Cereal- Apparently low fiber and enriched with vitamins help you score pretty well. Monster took a note from them. We sometimes use flour to thicken our soups/stews, but that’s about it.

Here is the Excel Data:

Download the raw data here

Complete Nutrition Per Dollar- 44 More Charts

Hungry? Get Infinity Data Per Dollar, Download the raw data here.

How To Eat For 1,000$/year

A half decade of studying this topic and having to cook for my ‘used to be picky’ wife, here is my ultimate guide to eating the most nutritious, healthy, low cost food ever. We aim to eat around 700 Calories Per Dollar and my ‘used to be picky’ wife now prefers our menu over restaurants.

Foods to remember

Protein– Beans, Lentils, Chicken, Eggs, Milk, and potentially discounted meats(turkey,pork/ground beef).
Veggies– Leafy greens, Carrots, and in-season veggies
Carbs– Pick Bread, Rice, Noodles- Don’t buy premade boxed rice/noodles.
Spices– Reward yourself. By eating at home you can borderline go wild on spices, sauces, etc… I’ll stay within ~1$ on things like, cream of chicken, a variety of spices, dressing, BBQ sauces, etc…

Make The Food Taste Good

80% of the taste is Easy

Salt, Lemon/Lime/Vinegar, Sugar, Butter/Oil/Fats, and umami taste good.

Add each slowly and taste like you would testing saltiness. If you are unaware of these cheat codes to cooking, they are worth googling.

The challenging 20%

Play around with texture, how you cook each type of food. Mess around with timing when you add spices/sauces.

My preferred texture, usually uses this method to cooking anything- Cook chicken on medium-high ~4 minutes, flip, 4 minutes, (optional deglaze), throw in veggies, cook everything for ~8 minutes. Serve on top of the carb. Change around timing when you add spices and sauces, the order will slightly change the finished product.

Everything tastes good. There are almost 0 foul flavors. Just make sure you Salt, Add an Acid, Add sweetness, Fats, and Umami (the 5 things up top).

Grocery Shop

I go to the lowest cost store in my area with a printed out grocery list of what we are eating for the week(we cycle through 28 recipes).

Writing the list was a solid 1 hour job to type everything out and plan it. We even sorted by isle. However after 5 years of using it, grocery shopping takes less than 15 minutes including checkout.

Pick fresh veggies, chicken, eggs, milk. Our list is more specific but we often will grab low cost, in-season foods. When in doubt- You are still saving money not eating out, and all food will taste good.

Buy fresh instead of canned, frozen. Avoid processed rice/noodles.

Need Ideas?

  1. Go on Google
  2. type in a protein a veggie and a carb, IE:

    Chicken Rice Peas

There will be a recipe for it. And since all food tastes good, it probably will too.

AVOID

Avoid Fast Food, Restaurants, Boxed Food, Canned Food, Frozen Food, Processed Food. (sorry, I just really want to save you money.)

Even Clif Bars on sale for 1$ off were less than 20g Protein Per Dollar.

Marketing is Crooked

You were told, McDonalds was the cheapest, most nutritious food. How did that 440 Calorie Per Dollar propaganda spread? Today its 2-3x more expensive than anything we eat.

How much did McDonald’s pay The Telegraph to write the article “McDouble is ‘cheapest and most nutritious food in human history'” ?

You were told Prepared Foods are cheaper than fresh food.

Nice move Marketing Companies. You got away with it for, ~20 years?

After years of studying cost effective eating- Healthy, fresh foods are almost always cheaper than anything a company prepares and re-sells.

We understand the convenience factor of having food prepared for us. That has value.

However, Marketing Companies pushed the idea their foods are low cost. I thought I was saving money by eating canned veggies.

Data shuts the myth down.

If you want to support Efficiency, Share with your friends. If you do, send me an email and I’ll send you my cookbook free!

Expand your Efficiency

Get more Efficiency to improve your daily life. Subscribe and get three slow cooker recipes designed to be low cost, quick and healthy.

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.

Mandy:

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.
List1

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

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, but 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:

>Fast
>Cheap
>Good

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 this 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.

   

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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.

 

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/grounded-reason-podcast/e/017-data-science-your-life-48369601

 

How To Easily Cook Lentils + Eat 73 Grams Of Protein Per Dollar


Lentils have more than 110 grams of protein per dollar, and 100% of your daily fiber in 140 calories.

Everyone has their own super food, I hear things like grapefruit, quinoa, and whatever the latest hipster craze.

Lentils are a Super Efficient Food, here are 4 reasons:

  1. 70+ Grams Of Protein Per Dollar
  2. Cooked in 15 minutes
  3. They don’t need to be stirred when cooked, 0 effort!
  4. They go with every flavor

When I diet, I eat lentils daily. They are filling, have protein, and are great for portioning out.

They are more than 2x more cost effective than Chicken, and almost 20x more cost effective than Subway for protein.

Cooking Lentils

First, buy a bag of lentils. A 1 pound bag is good enough to get started. Its like a dollar and can be found near the dry beans or Rice.

lentilsinwater

1/2 Pound of lentils (About 1 Cup) in 4 cups of water

Begin to boil a pot of water.

Efficient Tips To Boil Water Fast:

  • Turn on your water faucet and run it hot(Less Energy Delta to Boil) EDIT: CMILLER from the comments points out if using lead pipes you risk lead poisoning using hot water.
  • Fill up the pot of water, Lentils don’t expand, but error on the side of too much water.
  • Put the pot of water on High heat.(More Heat)
  • Add a lid to the pot(Contains Energy In System)

That will get boiling FAST.

Once boiling, cook for 15 to 20 minutes. No stirring needed.

cooked

 

I usually don’t wait for the water to boil, I throw it in, set the timer for 18 minutes, and come back to cooked lentils.

Note: If the lid is on, and the water is on high heat – You may cause the water to boil over, turn down the heat and crack the lid once boiling

Get a strainer and dump the water and:

“You have obtained 1 Lentils!”

drain

Flavoring Lentils Fast

I have 5 ways to enjoy the heck out of your first lentils experience. The first is the easiest:

French Fry Style

  1. Get Lentils
  2. Add a fast food amount of olive oil
  3. Add a fast food amount of salt

Make your first experience with lentils a good one. If you like it, next time don’t add as much oil and salt. However, they are so healthy and cost efficient, one splurge day using extra oil and extra salt is worth it.

 

 

Peppered Lentils

peppered3

 

Similar to French Fry style, but adding fresh pepper. Grounded up pepper doesnt seem to do the trick.

  1. Lentils
  2. Olive Oil (or Sour Cream)
  3. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  4. Salt
  5. (optional) Rice

 

Garlicky Lentils And Rice

lentilsc1

 

I usually don’t like using premade stuff, but seasoning shakers are pretty close to the same price as regular spices and give decent flavor to anything. I’ll recommend them for a quick and easy way to flavor something. Make note, they have salt already, so there isnt a need to add your own. Add everything to taste.

  1. Lentils
  2. Olive Oil
  3. McCormick Grill Mate Montreal Chicken (Garlic, Salt, Onion, Black Pepper, Parsley, Red Pepper, Orange Peal, Paprika, Green Bell Pepper)
  4. (optional) Rice

 

Herb And Lentils

 

lentilsherb

 

Sour cream adds a different dimension to these flavors, highly recommended when mixing spices and rice.

  1. Lentils
  2. Sour Cream
  3. McCormick Grill Mate Roasted Garlic & Herb (Salt, Onion, Black pepper, Coriander, Parsley, Garlic, Paprika)
  4. (optional) Rice

 

Fast Mujaddara

lentilsonions

 

I often cheat when I make this, using Onion Powder and a little sugar, with salt. My advice is to taste as you go. When you brown onions they get sweet.

  1. Lentils
  2. Sour Cream
  3. Onion Powder(even better with an onion browned in olive oil for 10-20 minutes on medium low)onions2
  4. Salt
  5. (optional) Rice

What to do next?

Next time – mess around with the cook time. Like it softer? Cook longer. Like firmer? Cook less. We make lentil soup that cooks for an hour.

Try adding some lentils to a soup. I particularly like adding it to vegetable soup or chicken noodle soup. We make our own Lentil Soup. Its similar to Alton Browns Lentil Soup with a few time saving and cost saving methods.

My challenge to you:

This week when you go to the grocery store, buy a small bag of lentils. Give one of these a try. They are a top Protein Per Dollar. If you don’t like it, you are out a dollar. If you like it, you are going to be saving money for the rest of your life.

This was another way we used our Protein Per Dollar list to save money and get more time. Subscribe to our newsletter and learn easy ways to apply engineering principles to your life:

EDIT: Prices do change, 1lb Lentils are: 1.78
Giving them 73g of protein per dollar.

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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

showeron

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:

Expand your Efficiency

Get more Efficiency to improve your daily life. Subscribe and get three slow cooker recipes designed to be low cost, quick and healthy.