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Q2 2021- Baby Burp Statistics to save time, Qualities as a tool, Misc Money Saving Tips


Things are good, the website only needs an additional $100 by Dec 2021 to be profitable and safe from government. Be one of the people that saved Efficiency Is Everything by buying original $10 physical cookbook(that will save you money in 7 days of use), the $20 Perfect Eating cookbook, or donate. Also someone buy Efficiency Is Everything 8GB of ram by donating, its cheap and will tremendously improve the website. This technical issue has caused me to reformat my computer in a desperate attempt to extend this 7 year old ‘gaming laptops’ lifespan, costing about 2 weeks of work. My lack of ram potentially caused memory issues in manipulating massive food data for Nutrient Per Dollar v3.

Next release should have 3x more studies, multiple studies are underway. 2 new youtube videos will be coming in the next few weeks, subscribe.

Two useful articles and misc money saving tips.

Baby Burp Statistics (Study)– Useful if you ever plan to burp a baby, or want to apply stats to your own life. We sampled over 100 burps from multiple babies. This article shows you how to get your desired probability of burps out and save time(and effort). I personally wanted 2 numbers, a 2am ‘good enough’ probability, and a pre-nap perfection probability. Using Students T test, you only need your own 3 burp samples to have personalized data.

Qualities As A Tool(Theory)– This is similar to the “Defending yourself against Marketing/corporate psychology tricks” article I released a while back. This is one of the engineering tools I did not learn in college, I learned this in the real world. This can help you make inventions, select best products, and defend yourself from marketing.

Money Saving Ideas- Buy big folding tables and folding chairs, we’ve used this for multiple parties and after 1 party saved the cost of renting. You can use RGB lights in your bedroom to give yourself and SO a tan(mostly red with a tiny bit of green or blue), this saves money on tanning and cancer costs. Changing jobs to get a pay raise can pay for whatever ‘benefits’ the previous job had($15,000/yr raise will pay for health insurance, 401k vesting, and college classes). Sewing buttons is easy, sewing/tailoring is easy, save money, help the environment, and look cool by learning these. If you want more misc tips in the form of unedited ranting, a user suggested I journal. Don’t read this until you read everything else on the website, everything else is better than this.

Last update I failed to mention I had another kid, Aurelia Kirk. I generally don’t mention me, but this matters because it means more kids to test Efficiency Baby on.

List of upcoming studies- Facial Hair Per Second, Cleaning Products, Activities Per Second(Clean Per Second), How to Hack to get free stuff, best college degrees(with soulless objectivity that you love), FILO Laundry to save time, Protein Per Second, Nutrient Per Dollar v3.

Wish you the best, don’t be weak, use logic and reason.
Best Regards,
Lead Engineer
Michael Kirk

Life Journal Q2-2021


Lead Engineer, Michael Kirk-

A user recommended writing about my life, I typically want to stick to engineering studies, but this doesnt take much time.

4-18-21 Sunday Productivity

Read a bunch today, the book ‘How To Read A Book’ by Mortimer Adler. Enjoying this book, its extremely condescending but I feel like I have now joined a club of elite readers who can get the most out of a book.

Taught the kid to pick Yellow flowers in the grass. If your grass already has weeds, I would embrace it. Its good for the environment and low cost. Our grass is relatively new and I’m looking to make it comfortable for my kids to play in.

Weeded the garden area. I’m most looking forward to planting tomatoes and basil for pasta and pizza dishes. These will make otherwise 2$/day eating down to $1.50/day. Despite lettuce and spinach being low cost, growing it means it will always be fresh and none goes to waste. I suppose this is also exercise.

Urine in the compost.

I let my kid watch youtube, specifically number and alphabet/phonetic songs. Gave me a chance to read and clean.

Going to crochet tonight and watch documentaries. Pretty usual.

4-26-21

Last week we put an LED light strip around our bed room. This allows me to choose if my wife is tan(Red light, sometimes a small amount of Green or Blue to be less than), or pale (Red and Blue). No cancer, no time tanning.

Ran a 5k today. Always listening to an interesting nonfiction book for Double Productivity. If you hate running, I suggest getting up to a 9 mile run, it makes 5ks easy.

I wear old shirts that I don’t like during these coronavirus lockdowns. No wear on my nice shirts but I stay warm.

Currently trying to figure out how long to burp a baby to get ~95% of burps out. I’m seeing two peaks in my data, suggesting I use multimodal distribution with 2 normal curves. If the left side curve has a mean of 10s, and the right side curve has a mean of 130 seconds, I believe you can simplify the problem to only take the 95%(second standard deviation) of the right side normal curve.

I got an email from a user and he suggested a shoe that allows the heel to be bent. I considered if this is worth buying the shoe to test, but upon consideration the best possible situation is that it takes as long as slip-ons. I asked if you need your hands to fix the heel to get upright and the user confirmed you do. Worthy of a note in the article, but with no money spent we were able to logically put this shoe ‘on the chart’.

Did some double Productivity with our fussy and cuddly 3 week old. Held her in one hand, did dishes, put away leftovers, and generally cleaned the house with my other hand. By the time I was finished the house was clean and she was asleep.

4-30

There are 4 cool sides of the pillow. Front and back corners maximize cool

5-5

Last weekend we threw a party (don’t worry we were outdoor COVID cool) and instead of catering food and buying a dessert, we did homemade. It took about 4 hours to make both a tex-mex fiesta and gourmet cupcakes, with a total cost of $215(including alcohol and sodapop).

We also bought chairs, tables, and a tent for a previous party, these have paid for itself after 1 event.

We had massive amounts of leftovers as well. 11 people canceled at the last moment due to feeling ill or rough post-vaccine tiredness. This allowed us to re-coup some money and time, as a variety of fajitas, tacos, and nachos were eaten for meals all week.

I’d put our cost savings around $400 dollars if we catered and rented everything.

5-7

My grandma in-law recommended a pizza dough recipe that turned out to be fantastic, other than the large upfront time cost. We had this pizza for dinner and I thought that while the dough was great textured, what really impressed me(and my ~2 year old) was the salty garlic crust that was not part of the recipe.

I suppose my lesson here, salt is a cheap and fast way to make food taste fantastic.

5/9

Mother’s day presents to my mom and my mother in law- homemade Cookies and a homemade Veggie Pot Pie that only needs to be defrosted and baked. (And my wife bought grandchild themed accessories)

We had a bunch of leftover dough due to the pie pans being smaller than we usually use and us making a double batch. Using this dough, I saved it thinking I’d figure out a use.

In the morning after making breakfast in bed for my Wife, mother of 2, I made kneeded the refrigerated dough, then let it warm up to room temperature. After it reached room temperature, I used a knife to slice it into inch long slices and rolled them into what looked like breadsticks. I fried the breadsticks in oil for 2 minutes on each side, then rolled it in cinnamon, sugar, and salt. It was a huge hit.

(And my wife bought herself a 35$ gemstone, gift giving isn’t my love language. Spending less than 0.1% of our yearly Profit on a trinket for a rare holiday doesn’t seem expensive when it makes for a happy wife)

5/9 rant

I often see people prioritizing employment over income, or irrationally valuing benefits. Some examples in my life-

Friend has gotten his $20,000 dollar masters degree and owes his company 3 years of employment or has to pay it back. However, this friend is $20,000-$40,000/yr underpaid.

Friends work as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in a clinic making $60,000-90,000/yr, when running your own clinic can profit between $150k/yr and $500k/yr working the same number of hours.

Friend believing that an employee is going to inherit a company with clientele upon retirement of the owner.

Friend who “likes their job” but is paid less than the cost of living and lives with their parents until the end of time. This person also buys Fast Coffee and Fast food.

People who work 60 hours per week without paid overtime, and don’t want to become a Manager in the future. Bonus points if they are underpaid and could make 30% more changing jobs(or more if the new job pays overtime)

People who think fantastic health insurance is worth more than $6,000/yr-$18,000/yr. That 18,000 number only counts if your family hits the max out of pocket, a rare event.

All of this can be avoided with rational decision making.

5-27

After finishing homo dues, I think I should get a heart monitor so I can use data to understand what gets me going.

It also makes me think the recent privacy craze is overblown. But then again, I am one of those boring people without anything to hide. And for those with something to hide, maybe humanity needs some sympathy. If you are chemical reactions going forward in time, you didn’t have the choice to make a decision.

It also makes me want to share my linear algebra food calculator. My only 2 reasons for keeping it on my computer, it’s hard to use, and it’s Efficiency Is Everything only competitive advantage. Capitalism and the future of data hasn’t mixed yet.

Also, I’ve heard “you can’t out run a bad diet”, those people haven’t ran 50 miles a week.

6-12

Given last entries, last sentence, this next paragraph looks extra silly.

Havent ran much in the last few weeks, my knees were hurting and I took time off. Not sure if it was a good decision, knees are just okay still. I think some light activity would have been good for them. Too bad US medical is authority based rather than science/evidence based, instead of these questions answered we are told to trust the wisdom of an individual human who can be fallible.

My SSD might be dying, having issues with a 3 year old OS. It ruined an Efficiency Youtube Video. Need to clear harddrive. Not sure what these kind of things are in the engineering world, ‘(un)expected disaster’? I should expect my SSD to die at some point between 2+ years. I should expect to get hacked at some point. How much time does this cost? And how much does it cost to have a process to mitigate the disaster?

On a similar note, any time I burn food, the food costs many dimensions- Time, Money, Calories available, happiness. I look at those 4 units and think, they all can be converted back to time. Wage ($/hr), Time it takes to make more calories (calories/second), and spending money on fun activities(fun/$ * wage $/hr). Time also has another interesting problem, since its finite in human lives there is a potential use of a dimensionless number, time of activity / time of life remaining(estimated). Dimensionless numbers can be useful for comparisons. Renyolds number is the most famous example I’m aware of. Consider 48 minutes to recook food/100 years vs 2 years lost wages due to unexpected investment fees/100 years, the renyolds number for how you spend your time alive.

6-28

I was going to release the Kitchen Inventory this quarter, but I’m not sure its perfect. We still had a failure in the last 3 months. Even my ‘backup’ option failed. We forgot to buy cheese due to it not being empty at the start of the week, but by the end of the week, we ran out. Originally I thought, no big deal we have freezer meals, but the veggie pot pie needed to defrost before putting into the oven. Double fail. I really need a better backup food. We can’t simply rely on humans being flawless and knowing exactly how much food we need.

On a personal note, my wife Dr. Mandy Kirk did one of those crafts where we now have a calendar with magnets covering various $1.50/day and $3 /day meals. This gives me a chance to try user suggested recipes and experiment. Email me any recipes you think are low cost or fast to make, I appreciate it.

7-2

My friend suggested a show on Netflix that he said was ‘crazy’ but he also thought was ‘not great’. I’m not interested in Fiction, especially bad fiction. I told him I’m currently interested in Science, Philosophy, and History. If you havent read books (or watched videos) on these topics since school, I find them quite interesting and useful.

Back when I read/listened to 1-5 of these Science/Philosophy/History books per year, I’d get something profound out of them, change my life in some way, and be pretty content. Today I’m finishing 40+ per year and similarly I’m getting interesting, profound, and life changing ideas, but at a much greater rate. By the time these ideas reach social media, these topics are discussed like middle schoolers repeating what their TV watching parents told them. And worse, you are encouraged to participate despite learning about these topics from these same poor sources.

Science, Philosophy, and History books seem to present both sides of topics at a much more detailed and sophisticated level. Your criticisms have already been discussed by great minds, why let angsty facebookers give you a lackluster response?

7-24
Wish you the best, don’t be weak. Use Reason and Logic, not emotion.

Qualities – The engineering tool, not the buzz word, (Theory)


Lead Engineer, Michael Kirk-

On this website, we will use things like Calories, Vitamin A (g), Amount of 4G data/$. These qualities can be measured.

Or I can use it in my personal life. Label Maker- Hooks up to PC(True/False), inkless(True/False), doesnt use proprietary label paper(True/False), Cost($), size of label(inches).

These allow things to be compared objectively and without bias from brands and their marketing. Or if you do drink cooperate koolaid, this can help ensure you get the best product they offer.

Understanding the word Quality with an example

Suppose you need to buy a computer, consider what you want in a computer.

Do you want a fast computer, one that doesn’t slow down under movies, most video games, CAD, Photoshop, a video editor, and mobile? Do you only need something that runs Excel and a Browser? You can use qualities to find you the highest quality option at the lowest cost. There is even a situation that someone might have to give Apple money.

Qualities can be as simple as True/False or more complex/specific with numerical values. This depends on how much effort you want to put into collecting data. More time spent collecting information will give you a better end result, but this may not be necessary if you are buying something in the $0-$20 range. This may be more important when buying something in the $100-$1000 range.

When choosing a fast computer(as described above), you can choose the quality metric- Dedicated Video Card? (True/False). Or, you can use a numerical value of a standard Video Card Benchmark. Choice is yours to how you want to spend your time.

You could include RAM(GB of Memory), Storage Space(SSD or HDD). Deciding if these qualities are necessary to your decision is up to you.

Apple may meet your quality metrics, but they have the highest cost. This causes them to fall into last place quality per dollar (Not to mention their support for Chinese dictatorships), you wouldn’t buy an Apple product unless you had to. Suppose you need to compile an App for iPhone owners. In that case, there would be a quality called, Can compile for iOS (True/False). In that event, you are forced to buy an Apple product, you can still apply the previous advice. You don’t need video editing or fast speed, you need something that lets you compile.

These qualities can be compared to help you choose a $600 gaming laptop, a $200 used computer, or a $1000 barebones used Mac Mini.

Doing Math with Quality

Choosing a quality.

Start by brainstorming what qualities matter. In engineering this could be the max voltage for a transistor, at home it could be the number of inches a TV is. Don’t worry exactly how you will measure it, or the units. Focus on the problem you are looking to solve, and consider what qualities you need to achieve.

Choosing a dimension for a quality

Time to consider dimensions. It helps if there is an ‘objective measurement’, inches for a TV is generally something you are going to care about. You can extend this quality into multiple measurements. Diagonal in, width in, height in. Your decision how detailed you make your study. This can also be a simple Boolean True/False, ‘Does this allow me to connect via USB?’. (Also I have stopped making the Boolean/Bouillon joke, I get too many emails.)

You can even use subjective values, like a 0-10 ranking. Consider ‘coolness’, you could do a subjective 0/10 to 10/10. Its not perfect, but any measurement gets you closer than emotion.

Gather Data

After looking at lots of t-tables, it seems like there is a fantastic benefit in certainty to take even 2 samples. I personally recommend taking 3 samples because you get a 3x benefit in certainty by taking 3 samples over 2 samples. All that being said, if you want to actually be correct, you can take a larger sample. The most time conscious person should check 2 options, but I highly recommend 3 for lazy people. Weirdly enough confidence increases, but the diminishing returns are early. Fun fact, your airbags are officially tested 3 times.

Sometimes you need to get creative, if all you have available is the average caffeine content of coffee per liter, you might need to use it and make a note of how you came up with it. If the deciding factor comes down to this estimation, it may be worth spending more of your resources to figure out a better estimate.

Doing Math with it

Now that you have numbers, you can begin to compare. Its common to sort by max/min, but you can also do other useful things. Inches of TV divided by Cost of TV is the unit In/$, which later can be sorted for max/min. Other units I’ve used, mg Vitamin A/Calorie, mg Vitamin A/Gram of Broccoli. Protein per Second.

Making a decision

After you sort the data, you should learn a lot about the options. You can eliminate poor performers and begin focusing on the difference between the best options.

Where you can apply Quality for Correct Decisions

Ideas- Phones, Food, Contractors, Colleges, Degrees, Cars, Video Game systems, Laundry Detergents, and more. This website is full of comparisons, the best ROI I’ve seen on comparing quality per dollar was health insurance.

Next time you spend money, especially on big purchases, consider what quality metrics you care about. This will prevent corporate marketing from using psychology tricks on you. You save money, you get the best product.

Baby Burp Statistics- How long to pat to get 95% of burps out of your baby.


For anyone who wants to learn ‘How To Apply Statistics To Life’, the section with that title will get into the mathy details. If you are a parent and just want to know how long to pat your baby on the back, you will benefit from the sections titled Summary and The Data.

Summary

The original goal was to figure out how long to pat our baby to ensure we got 95% of burps out. However, this same data can be used to find the laziest/easiest solution to get burps out while minimizing risk of an upset baby.

For parents I have 2 options. You can use the outcome of 5 babies we studied, summarized in the next paragraph and additional details in the section ‘Our Data’. Or you can take 2 or 3 measurements to figure out your own baby burp statistics, as described in section ‘How To Apply to Your Baby’.

For 95% of burps, with 90% confidence you need to burp for 6 minutes. For 85% of burps with 90% confidence you can burp for 2 minutes. For 85% of burps, no confidence you can burp for 2 minutes. And for 73% of burps, no confidence, you can burp for 1 minute. This last one I call ‘2AM burp strategy’.

How To Apply Statistics To Life

To begin, we timed 25 samples of our newborn burping. I put this data in Excel, calculated the sample mean and sample standard deviation. These are straightforward formulas and if you are not familiar, google can answer your excel questions in seconds.

With the sample mean and standard deviation I could calculate what a statistical distribution should look like in excel using =EXPON.DIST( or =NORM.DIST( or similar. Quick stats lesson, understand Cumulative Distribution Function and Probability Distribution Function. CDF is the probability of the event from 0 to whatever value, for instance 60 seconds is 76%. PDF is the probability at that exact time, for instance at 60 seconds is 0.3%. These require, mean and standard deviation, and a value to calculate against. For instance, 1 second, 2 seconds, 5 seconds, etc… In graphing I use all integers 0-600 seconds.

Comparing to real world results, our data did not seem to fit popular distributions like Normal, Uniform, or Exponential. Most of the data seemed to appear around 0-30 seconds, but the Probability Distribution Function for normal distribution predicted this to happen around 50 seconds. This made it clear normal distribution did not fit the data.

To narrow down the next potential distributions, I found https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_distribution_fitting which prompted a symmetry test. Upon finding the data was not symmetrical, I began testing the data for distributions that were non-symmetrical.

I repeated the same steps as before with Log Normal using =LOGNORM.DIST( and found this lined up to what I would have expected. For my final check I used excel to calculate the Cumulative Distribution Function of the Log Normal Distribution, and compared that with a sample Cumulative Distribution. As an example, with our sample of 25, we should expect the 90% CDF to be similar in seconds to whatever the 22nd or 23rd longest sample.

Our data

This Data can be broken up into individual babies and all 5 sampled baby’s data.

For the individual babies, I have attached the spreadsheet above with all babies. However as I trust my measurement method was consistent, I’ll review Aurelia Kirk’s data and also ‘All Babies’.

Here is Aurelia’s PDF, CDF, and their respective values at 90% CI. The 90% CDF is probably the most useful, find your desired percentage on the left(y-axis), and locate the number of seconds on the bottom(x-axis). Note that the y-axis can be multiplied by 100 for a more familiar percentage(0.8 = 80%)

Focusing on the first few seconds

At 60s

At 120s

At 10 minutes

The data for all babies:

First few seconds

At 60s

At 120s

Its not exactly scientific, but seeing all of this data, I find myself patting Aurelia somewhere between 60-180s.

How To Apply to Your Baby

If you want to assume our 5 sampled babies and 100 samples is good enough for you, you can use my simple rule of thumb- Middle of the night burp for 1-2 minutes. Mid-day, I burp for 3 minutes. And if I’m sure there is a burp stuck in there due to hearing her suck in air, I’ll burp for 6.5 minutes.

If you want to get baby specific results for your own baby without taking 25 samples, you can continue to assume log normal distribution. You technically can get away with 2 timed samples, but the increase in confidence from 3 samples is tremendously worth it. I will continue this article using 3 samples, but you could use 2 and use that T-Value.

First time a sample and record it. Do this 3 times. Take each time and individually take the log of that value. You should have 3 values that are small, around the values 0-8. Calculate Mean and standard deviation of this newly calculated sample. Look up your desired confidence in a t-table(see above). 90% confidence is popular. In this example using a sample size of 3, Multiply your standard deviation by ~2.

Using this data you are ready to calculate Cumulative Distribution Function. Create numbers 1-600 in a column. Use the same standard deviation and mean for the formula, but calculate for each number from 1-600. =LOGNORM.DIST( works in both excel and google sheets. The parameter x is seconds, mean and standard deviation stays the same for each calculation, excel asks if you want PDF or CDF. If you are confused, google has been fantastic to me.

You are ready to make good decisions! What percentage of burps do you want to get out? Is 70% good enough? Find where the CDF says 0.7 and that is your new target time. Or maybe you want to ensure that burping for 3 minutes gives you a reasonable number of burps out.

Final Thoughts and Implications of Diminishing Returns

Assumptions and statistics

Note that with seemingly all statistics you make many ‘assumptions’, including perfect data, perfect fits, etc… This is obviously not the case with things that involve humans, and even with something that fits as nicely as log-normal, the start and end of the log normal curve seems aggressive. To clarify, I don’t think after 11s I have exactly 50% of burps out, and I don’t think after 10 minutes I have 87% of Aurelia’s burps out. That said, the general conclusion of burping for 1-3 minutes seems pretty solid and matches real world conditions.

Diminishing Returns is more interesting than you think

You think you understand Diminishing Returns, but consider the diminishing returns on this topic. Log Normal distribution starts off at a relatively high probability of the event, and quickly tapers off. In our problem Diminishing Returns occurs after the peak of ~3 seconds. Would you stop patting your baby on the back after 3 seconds with only 10% of burps out? Probably not.

This means the optimal stopping point probably wont be determined by diminishing returns, but rather your desired probability of burps out.

If you have been patting for about 1 or 2 minutes and debating if you should continue for another 10 seconds before giving up, give up. That 10 seconds is trivial compared to the previous time you put in.

I personally apply this study by doing the following. I begin patting our baby on the back, I look at the time and tell myself that when the clock increments 3 minutes, I can stop. This means I’ll always be burping between 2 and 3 minutes. This is somewhat low tech, but you can similarly count numbers for your baby. Consider it educational, and I’ve personally found teaching numbers can be an easy way to entertain our kids when they are melting down.

Wish you the best on preventing tears and saving time.

Save 21 Hours Per Week Eliminating Bad Habits And Diapers Per Dollar Study -Q1 2021 Update


Not to cause a panic, but Efficiency Is Everything needs to be profitable this year or it will shut down(according to IRS profitability rules). This shouldn’t be a big deal, I estimate $300 in expenses need to be covered which should be easy if the 10,000 people that signed up for an email donate $0.03 each. Or get yourself a physical classic Efficiency Is Everything cookbook or eat for $1.59/day with the Perfect Eating cookbook. If you believe in the idea of optimizing your life with Industrial Engineering principles, more than ever, this is the time to support.

Now for one of the biggest time saving articles of all time-

Save 21 Hours Per Week By Replacing Your Bad Habits

Don’t be daunted by the wall of text, the first half is full of brain lifehacks, and the second half is my personal anecdote(optional). The ROI is 168x in the first week alone. (7.5 minute read time, 21 hours saved)

And a money saving, data driven study-

Diapers Per Dollar, find out how you can get 3 diapers for the price of 1. (For those without kids and don’t know about Target vs Costco vs Walmart vs Amazon, this will still be value added to read)

Upcoming articles-

Kanban and MRP in your Kitchen-Industrial Engineering applied to your home. This one is essentially finished, but I decided I wanted to apply this study for an entire quarter before releasing it. The real world can be different than idealized principles. This will be released next quarter.

Protein Per Second Part 3- I finally found a solution to the measurement problem by using Fermi Numbers. I’m beyond excited about this.

Nutrient Per Dollar Calculator- I got the multi-million entries from USDA but my 8gb of RAM wasnt enough to complete the merges. Either donate so I can buy more RAM, or I’ll have to spend time and get creative.

Scientific Cleaning- After multiple top google results suggested mixing baking soda and vinegar, this article is necessary for humanity. After much consideration, as Piranha solutions are not recommended in Laboratory environments, I’ll need to find something a bit safer.

Best Regards,
Lead Engineer – Michael Kirk

Save 21+ Hours Per Week By Eliminating Unwanted Bad Habits


Lead Engineer, Michael Kirk-

Saving 21+ hours per week is too monumental to hold back because it’s not an engineering study. These are the science backed, mind hacks you can use to break time consuming social media and video games habits. Credit to the book The Power of Habit for providing the ideas that will be found in this article. IMO Power of Habit book is better than Tao Te Ching.

For anyone daunted by the ‘wall of text’ in this article. I recommend reading the sections Brain Fundamentals and Brain Lifehacks. That will change your life.

The Transformation- quit drugs, start cardio, stop social media

For the last 4 months I’ve been off Social Media, played zero Video Games, and watched zero fiction TV. These tips also helped me consume Zero drugs, including Caffeine, Alcohol, Weed, Ibuprofen, etc… I also have been doing cardio every day. As a result, I’ve read over 20 nonfiction books in 4 months. This article is how you can apply scientific research to your brain to change your habits.

>That must have been hard

I admit there were approx 3 hard days, and to be specific, those ‘3 hard days’ were more like a difficult, willpower taxing 5-10 minutes each of those 3 days.

>But Video games/TV/movies/Social media are part of my personality

I thought so too. But more likely you simply have formed a habit of using video games or similar for entertainment/stress reduction/boredom killer. (feel free to insert Coffee/any entertainment in place of videogames)

I can’t believe I’m not playing video games or using social media anymore.

Brain Fundamentals

It has been found that your thinking part of the brain does not have access to read the mind of the automatic/habit part of the brain. Unfortunately this means 80-90% of your daily decisions happen without you knowing about it.

This automatic/habit part of your brain works in an order. Experience a ‘Cue’, perform a ‘Routine’, receive a ‘Reward’. This can apply to seemingly everything you do. You wake up and automatically turn on the shower and are soon rewarded with warm water and a clean body. However if your kid wakes up crying, your routine has been interrupted and you may feel ‘mopey’.

Imagine a stronger situation, your daily coffee. A typical day, you may do your pre-work routine and crave a coffee. You have been programming your brain that ‘going to work’ is a Cue for the Routine of getting caffeine. If anyone has willingly tried to quit caffeine, you will notice this ‘mopey’ feeling as you reject your automatic brain’s cravings. Caffeine withdrawal won’t occur for a few more hours, that is not what causes the mopey feeling. On a similar note, you may have cravings when you experience cues such as being tired, bored, you want to stretch your legs, you want social interaction, etc… All of these have a routine your habit part of the brain will attempt to satisfy your need.

You may notice that on a vacation you will forget to do a habit. It may be the evening and caffeine withdrawal is setting in, or you realize you didn’t binge eat in the evenings. You never experienced the Cue that caused you to automatically get Coffee or binge eat food.

Brain Lifehacks

The easiest way to eliminate a bad habit is to eliminate a Cue. If you drive by a fast food restaurant that you often stop by, you could eliminate the cue by taking a different route. You won’t feel mopey at all, as your habit brain will not have activated for that Cue.

However, if at 5pm you feel the need to call and order pizza, you won’t be able to eliminate the time 5pm. A solution here is to change the routine. The necessity is to have the same reward. In this case any food will prevent you from being mopey. On a similar note, it was found Cigarette smokers could replace a cigarette with a cup of coffee.

It was suggested to write down 3 lines answering the question ‘how do you feel’ every ~15 minutes to pinpoint what reward you are looking for. After a few days, I found I was getting coffee because standing up and walking over to the coffee machine cooled me down. I simply needed to get cool off.

What if you crave the rush of energy caffeine gives you and there is no way to replace the craving. It was found that post-surgery patients who wrote a plan for “how they would walk to end of their driveway” were walking 2x faster than those who didn’t write a plan down. Having a plan for dealing with pain and acknowledging the moments of hardest pain will prepare your thinking-part of the brain to fight the habit part of the brain.

If you were successful and quit a bad habit, but… relapsed. There is good news. Analyze the situation that caused you to relapse. Whatever caused you to cave is your strongest Cue. Being aware of strong cues will prepare you for your next quitting attempt. You can form a plan for dealing with that situation.

Suppose you want to have ‘just 1 cup of coffee’ after quitting. This is dangerous. It was found that mice who received a drug after quitting instantly remembered the routine/reward system and would continue where they left off.

This might seem depressing that you cannot go back to caffeine, but I have some positive news. First, you ‘get over it’, and stop thinking about it. Second, it was found that AA members who believed in God were more likely to stay off Alcohol. It may seem bizarre, but those people believed things could get better. Simply having the belief that in time, things will be better, can keep you off bad habits.

Finally I want to mention Willpower. This is a real thing that can be seen in ‘cookie studies’. A person will be given an absurdly long test, ~600 questions. Those with chocolate chip cookies in the middle of the table that they are not allowed to eat, will answer less questions before giving up(vs no cookies on the table). If you take on a habit, expect to allocate willpower to it. Changing multiple habits at once will likely mean failure, similar to being unable to finish the test with tempting cookies in front of you.

Life Transforming Habits

The book noted ‘keystone’ habits, habits that when changed would cause you to spiral into a tremendous positive lifestyle. The example they used was an overweight, low paid person who started exercising, lost weight, and soon quit smoking, restarted college and finished, and became financially successful.

I was a bit skeptical of this as unlike most of the studies involved rats, humans, and corporations, this was a mere anecdote. However I will now share my anecdote of a keystone habit.

Using the lessons, I have replaced evening weed usage with alcohol, then replaced alcohol with caffeine. This weirdly worked extremely well with seemingly 0 cravings. However now I was having 5 cups of coffee per day. This is where I needed to brace for pain. I had attempted to quit before, so I had taken note of my Cues and was prepared for the tough spots.

Going from 5 cups of coffee to 4 cups over a few days was no big deal. 4 to 3 cups over a few days was no big deal. No mopey feelings. 3 cups to 2 was a bit harder, previously I would have a morning cup, an afternoon cup, and an evening cup. I stuck to a morning cup and evening cup. Then 2 cups to 1 cup, leaving that precious evening cup. And from 1 cup to 0.5 cups.

Finally I quit. That quitting day from 0.5 cups to 0 cups was difficult. It was painful, but it was only painful for 1 day. I attempted to drink water as a replacement, and that helped slightly. During this ~2 week quitting period I let myself enjoy video games and anything that would help me take my mind off things.

Next I started to exercise, doing daily cardio. This was difficult to start up, but I made the habit a simple ‘cardio daily’. A mere 5 minutes of biking, no intensity requirement. Just move my legs for 5 minutes all while wasting time on social media. After a few days of this 5 minute cardio, I naturally wanted to keep going beyond 5 minutes and I wanted to go faster. I’d start to get fancy and do HIIT and long distance cardio until I got injured doing a 2 hour session. The habit was so strong I biked for 2 hours. Worried about losing this habit, I did arm cardio for a week until my body got repaired and I started again a mere 5 minute workout. Today I’m still doing daily cardio and I felt a bit guilty when I took a day off when my wife gave birth to our second kid.

After starting cardio, I noticed the toxicity of social media. It was a time-sink with limited benefits. I easily replaced social media with Video games. Upon this change, I realized I was playing too many video games, and it provided no benefits. Quitting video games was difficult, but I had a plan to read enjoyable nonfiction books whenever I felt the craving. Friday night seemed to be a strong urge to play video games, but I spent some willpower to fight through the pain. Its been months and I haven’t played video games or used social media. Instead I’ve spent time on Efficiency Is Everything, read books, bulk cooked and cleaned the house.

Quitting video games and social media used to seem crazy, but now it feels normal.

Final Words

I feel like I’ve reached a neutral state, with cardio and no caffeine in my life, I don’t feel tired. With books and no empty entertainment, I feel fulfilled. I’m looking at other potential habits to transform, but my list of bad habits is almost gone.

What could you accomplish with the ability to conquer the habit part of your brain?

All credit to Charles Duhigg and his book The Power of Habit for changing my life and saving 21 hours per week.

Diaper Per Dollar, Over 200 Diapers Compared From Walmart, Amazon, Costco, Target and more


Target shoppers, never again believe the marketing ‘Target has the best diaper prices’.

Costco shoppers, never again believe their marketing ‘Costco has the lowest cost Bulk prices’.

This study will help you understand the lowest cost brands, sizes, stores, and qualities of a diaper. In addition, we’ll share our hybrid system for using cloth and disposable diapers.

Comparing- Store, Brand, Cost, and Quality

Even if you refuse to shop at Walmart who dominates the top of this list, you can still have some takeaways regarding brands, and size from this table below-

Best

You can see the most expensive brands, sizes, and qualities(nighttime and special allergic diapers) performed worse-

Worse

Generally stay away from Huggies and Pampers.

Parents Choice Quality

Parents Choice won best diaper per dollar, so we evaluated it for quality. One of the sides came undone on about 3 diapers in a row, but this could be our kid messing with the diaper. We had no issues in 3 months since.

We also tried their nighttime diapers and ~30% of the nights our 20 month old kid peed through the diaper. It’s hard to know if this is a quality issue, or my kid drank too much before bed.

Given those issues, these are not enough to deter us. We continue to use Parents Choice.

Other General Tips

If your kid fits in a size 4, do not waste money on a size 5. (Exception not shown in the data, seems that Newborn diapers cost more than size 1)

There may be differences between Pampers types(swaddlers vs cruisers), but when other brands are half the cost, you can easily change a diaper 2x as often and forget about that quality difference.

Lowest Cost Environmentally Friendly- Cloth Diapers

You may have considered saving big bucks and trying cloth diapers but were afraid of scraping poo on a daily basis. The solution is a hybrid system. The cost savings is incredible as we cut down disposable diaper usage by at least 1/2 if not 3/4. Most of our cloth diapers we got free or low cost from friends.

Here are our rules

>Nighttime Diapers for bed

>If there is small poo, put on a cloth diaper for the next 2-4 hours.

>If there is big poo, put on cloth diapers for the next 6-12 hours.

>If there is a hard poo and kid didn’t poo yesterday, put on a disposable diaper. More is on the way.

This generally works, with an occasional(1-4 times per month) missed poo that requires being rinsed off. As an added benefit, you learn how diapers work, and that disposable diapers can hold significantly more urine than you expect.

The Rest of the Data

The Diapers Per Dollar can be found here, have fun playing with the filters. Not every size of every brand was in stock at the time of recording. The excel file also contains notes. Some quick outputs below

Size 3

Size 4

Size 5

Size 6

Want an absorbency study or your favorite brand included? Contribute and send an email to michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com proposing a study.

Efficient Careers, Youtube Cooking Videos, Essential Fats and Amino Acids, Physical Cookbooks


5 new releases this quarter

  1. Our first ever physical cookbooks, Efficiency Is Everything In Cooking and New Perfect Eating. These recipes are free digitally In Cooking pdf and Perfect Eating article.
  2. New Recommendations – Essential Amino Acids and Essential Fats when eating for ~$1.50/day. Bonus nutrition information as we are building a calculator including every essential nutrient, essential amino acid, essential fat, antivitamin, and provitamin the human body needs(Minimum/RDA) and max(Dangerous).
  3. We Cook on Youtube- See how we eat for $1.50 per day, feat Dr. Mandy Kirk.
  4. Minor Article: Long term conclusions from our Restaurant study

Feature Article

The decisions you make at 18 years old changes everything. A veteran contacted me having no college debt and $400k in mortgages at the age of 23. We have 3 others compete to beat ‘5 years to the American Dream’.
American Dream Per Dollar– Efficiency Is Everything studies Career paths, change your life and make money in years.

Bonus Shoutout: Dr. Alex Harrison has a DIY Gatorade for endurance athletes

Tips/Reminders

Read books/play musical instruments while watching your favorite sports. (~6hrs/week)

Eat more $1.50/day recipes, try once a week until you learn the recipes. (Saves $100-$10,000/yr + delicious healthy food)

If you must go to restaurants, dollar menu/loss leaders (400 Calories Per Dollar vs 100 Calories Per Dollar)

Bored and ready to buy entertainment? Save money and watch Philosophy videos on youtube. (Stoicism and Tao Te Ching are popular)

Invest.

Wish you the best,
Michael Kirk
Lead Engineer

Save 400% on Gatorade – By Dr. Alex Harrison


View the full article on his website.

Dr. Alex Harrison:

Here are some quarantine-friendly, money-saving tips for endurance athletes!

Use table sugar for 80% of intra-workout carbs.

Flavor with whatever beverage you typically use. Saves big $$$$, keeps flavor mild, and moves sugar composition closer to 1:1 glucose:fructose, which is probably more ideal than the 2:1 or worse that is in most drink mixes.

Cheapest Gatorade: $1 / 200g carbs.

Average sugar price: ~$0.25 / 200g carbs.

Use table salt rather than expensive higher-electrolyte endurance drink mixes.

Most people benefit from higher sodium content in their beverages, and there is little, if any benefit from higher potassium in endurance beverages. For all but the most extreme training and environments, with good hydration, table salt (sodium chloride) is sufficient to maximize performance.

In more extreme cases (hotter, more humid, very long-duration and high-effort) you may need to make a one-time purchase of sodium citrate (Amazon) to meet high sodium needs while allowing maximum hydration with reduced osmolarity.

Cost for table salt = less than $0.01 per 2000 mg sodium (sufficient for most folks 2-3-hr training, ~1 tsp)
Cost for sodium citrate = $0.10 per 2000mg sodium serving (~1.75 tsp).
Cheapest Gatorade Endurance Powder = $2.75 per 2000mg sodium.

See the rest of the article on his website.

New Essential Amino Acids and Essential Fats to consume when eating for $1.59/day


Tl;dr: Its suggested to eat 7 eggs per day for men and 5 eggs per day for women. And get your Omega-3s and Omega-6s, fish or algae oil are popular for EPA and DHA.

ESSENTIAL Amino Acids

Apparently these are Essential, so I’m going to list these to ensure you begin tracking these Essential nutrients.

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine + cysteine
  • Phenylalanine + tyrosine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

For the calculation these are merely more parameters and more data, but I can’t help to think about how ESSENTIAL these amino acids are. What happens if you don’t get enough? I imagine this has happened in our lives.

Anecdote- I never had essential fats until I learned about DHA EPA and ALA aka omega 3 and omega 6.

Now that I have fish/algae oil, I should stop having dandruff/rashes, be less depressed, have less chance of cancer.

So the 3,

  • ALA
  • DHA

Apparently it is difficult to get EPA and DHA which is why fish(or more efficient Fish Oil), is often recommended for this.

Low key conspiracy: Did some scientist name it essential to boost fish sales? This is Skepticism, its not engineering)

New Nutrients, Anti-Nutrients, Phytochemicals, Provitamins, and the calculator

We found some other dimensions to nutrition and we are going to quantify these effects in foods.

Anti-Nutrients are wild if you have never heard of them. These will disrupt biological processes and anti-nutrients are in the food you eat. Examples to get you started- Thiaminase, Avidin, and Goitrin.

Absorption(and provitamins) can apply multiplicative effects on nutrition and it may be useful or it might be more expensive than its worth. Goal is to find a data driven conclusion.

If there is something other than Anti-nutrients, Phytochemicals, and Provitamins that has been missed, speak now or forever hold your peace michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com Long term, we have Interns to collect this obscure data.

In 2021, we will have an excel file so you can delete whatever you are allergic to or hate. This is where I’ll have phytochemicals as there are no RDAs. Then we learn Excel’s Solver together.

Final Reminder

So far the lowest cost way while eating for ~$1.50/day- 7 eggs per day for men and 5 eggs per day for women. Get your Omega-3s and Omega-6s, fish or algae oil are popular for EPA and DHA.