Cleaning Counters Study, Never Forget Groceries, ChatGPT vs Google, New Multitasking, AI Art uses

You may be drawn immediately to the ChatGPT vs Google study, but there is some cutting edge Efficiency in the Wiping Countertops study and Kitchen Inventory Solutions. It is a cornerstone release.

Over 20 time saving videos between 1 and 3 minutes long, watch at 2x speed for added efficiency on Youtube.

Save Time

FEATURE ARTICLE Wiping Countertops: With this study, I can’t imagine any further optimizations to the process. At a minimum, when wiping a counter, use the biggest rag/towel you feel comfortable with. There are a bunch more tips, but that in particular was a great finding.

ChatGPT vs Google: ChatGPT mostly won, but sometimes it didn’t. Might be worth understanding where Google is still better. If you already know this, feel free to skip this.

New Innovative Multitasking: I asked chatGPT how to multitask during the 5 seconds it takes to turn a shower knob to “On”. It gave me some interesting results for similar questions.

Save Money and Quality of Life Improvement

FEATURE ARTICLE Kitchen Inventory Solutions: I read and applied a logistics book to your kitchen groceries so you don’t have to. These are mind-bogglingly simple solutions to prevent forgetting groceries or running out of ingredients mid-week, saving you time, money, and frustration.

AI Art uses: Make art or get ideas for decorations. Some ideas for AI Art and how to get started.

Speed Cooking

It tastes alright at best, but you have all your food ready to eat in 2 minutes active time. Its incredible and the food is edible. Buy Speed Cooking: Experimental Alpha.

Wish You The Best

Coming up next time: Printed Pictures Per dollar, Parties Per Second(Efficient Parties), and if the inflation stops, some updated prices.

Move quickly on the AI/ChatGPT, I urge you not to be left behind. Its an incredible time saver.

Best Regards,
Lead Enginer
Michael Kirk

Save Time With An Industrial Engineering Study On Wiping Counters

Using path studies, motion studies, equipment options, quality metrics, and more, we find ways to save time cleaning counters.

Optimal Path

Try not to wipe back and forth over the same spot. Wipe in big strokes, not overlapping, hitting an area only once. Start in one corner, go across, move up, and across a not yet touched area. This is under the category of Coverage Path Planning.

Some best case optimizations is to start and stop in the same place, assuming that same place is the end destination. For instance, I need to wet a rag at the start and rinse a rag upon completion. It would be best to start and finish near the sink. It would be inefficient to start that the sink and end at the other side of the room. Sometimes this is unavoidable based on the size of a surface.

An important factor can be the shape of the surface. Theoretically a spiral motion reduces the number of times you decelerate, however if you don’t have a round table, you will be wasting time doing the corners that were not covered in a spiral motion. For a square/rectangle table, I found long motion across the table was more efficient.

For more reading about optimal pathing, here is a link to a study I found interesting:


The right equipment

Small sponges can take longer to clean a surface than a larger towel. The idea of using a larger towel seems great, you may need extra soap but you can accomplish more, quicker.

Use the right cloth, absorbent with some abrasion. Microfiber or cotton could work, but each cloth will be woven differently. Waffle Weaves are popular for cleaning because the ridges can help apply extra pressure on surfaces that would otherwise be spread out with a flat weave.


Good lighting will help you see dirty spots and will save you time and effort from straining to see these spots.

On a similar note, the quieter the area, the less distractions and higher focus you can have.

Do you need to move items out of your way to clean under? It might be worth finding a permanent spot for those items to avoid freqent cleaning underneath them.

Consider the placement of rags/towels, cleaning supplies, trash/disposal areas, and laundry baskets. They should be easily accessible and preferably along the path of your workflow.

What quality is needed? Perfection, good enough, or damage control?

If you can only use one section of your counter, you won’t need to clean the rest.

It may be worth letting things soak for ~3-10 minutes, bonus points for soap and hot water. My personal process for perfection is,

  1. Hot water and soap round
  2. Wait a few minutes
  3. Wipe with a mostly dry water only rag, soaking up lots of the old dirty water and scrubbing any spots that need it
  4. Final round where in one hand I have a lightly watered clean rag, then a completely dry clean rag(or paper towel) that soaks up that water

However, if you are only trying to prevent newly dirtied surfaces from getting messes stuck on: don’t get your rag too wet. Too much water will require extra wipes to dry. It might not be worth using soap which would require an extra round of wiping to remove the soap.

Finally, if you are ultra efficient and rarely clean, you could use a dry rag and wipe only solid objects off. This is a ‘debatably good enough’ quality.


Some Therbligs. To turn on faucet water, you release a latch/use a faucet. You search for a rag and grasp it. You use the water or rest, waiting for the water to get hot. You may also search and grasp for soap that you will use with the rag and water. Mixing the rag, water, and soap is assembly. Then you transport the load to the counter. Finally you use the rag on the countertops. Upon completion you disassemble the water, rag, and soap by releasing the latch/use the faucet and rinse the rag. Finally you may throw the rag in the laundry, releasing empty.

To make this process more efficient, we look at all the Therbligs. Here are some opportunities for optimization and elimination.

  • Ensure rags/towels are visible and easily accessible. We keep ours in an open bin on the counter.
  • Do something useful while the faucet water is heating up. Fill up nearby empty water bottles to increase your Water Per Second, pick up items that might be covering the countertops, load/empty the dishwasher, etc..
  • Ensure soaps are visible and easily accessible. We keep ours on the counter.
  • Don’t spend too much time mixing the water, rag, and soap, it doesnt matter much. Ensuring a perfectly lathered rag is Over Processing waste. A quick mix is good enough.
  • Upon completion, rinse the rag, but only as much as needed to get large debris off. If you are putting it in the laundry, no reason to ensure all soap and dirty water is gone.

AI suggestions

Clear surfaces ahead of time, to prevent setting down towels/rags/sponges to get to necessary surfaces. I might disagree, you could multitask lifting surfaces and wiping.

Potentially using a bucket/spray bottle to prevent trips back to the sink. This personally wouldn’t work for most of my messes.

Use a spray bottle.

Use microfiber

Challenge yourself to get under a time

Alternative Ideas

Trade favors with roommates, have them clean the counters in exchange for you doing something else. For instance, you could bulk cook food and trade that. Bulk cooking benefits from reducing the number of set up and tear down actions, win win win.

Hire someone.

Use a disposable cleaning wipe. This eliminates a few steps such as turning on water, waiting for water to warm up, and doing laundry. This would be dependent on how dirty the counter was, if you are cost conscious, and if you are an environmentalist.

Use a vacuum cleaner.

Attach a handle onto a rag/use a kitchen mop, this will let you push further without taking steps.

You could use a towel to push everything on the floor and have a robot vacuum cleaner clean the mess.


This was a first step into Efficient Cleaning. While this wiping counters/tables task might only take a minute or two, the ideas about quality, motion waste/Therbligs, optimal equipment, and optimal pathing might help influence other cleaning activities to help you save time.

ChatGPT vs Google, Information Per Second

This isn’t quite a side by side comparison as these are different tools.

Google can lead you to wikipedia or a website like Efficiency Is Everything that is more detailed and can cite their sources. But Google can also lead you to incorrect answers and SEO Spam.

ChatGPT can combine ideas and give you specific solutions to specific problems. However ChatGPT will give you unwavering confidence despite it being often incorrect.

That said, they are often competing over the solution to our questions. In this study, I look at how long it takes to get information, and how valid the information is.

(Also, any reference of ChatGPT should be replaced with the GPT3 playground when you get used to ChatGPT, with the settings Temperature=0, max length=3000, Show Probabilities= Full Spectrum)

Loading the page

Google: Instant, although someone without ublock origin/adblock might need to time how long it takes to scroll past the ads.

ChatGPT: Minimum 18 seconds. Often ChatGPT’s page never loads. I think this is a poor look, but this may be due to the insane demand they are dealing with. I expect this to be improved. However, this can easily make Google faster in almost every case. To load the page for the first time, it took me 18 seconds of full attention so I could get past the captcha. Once you are in, you are in, until your session times out from inactivity.

What are healthy, cheap, no effort snacks?

Google: 41 seconds. They had 8 items on the page, but I had to scroll down through the blog/SEO spam for ~22 seconds only to find they weren’t cheap. Finally found a reddit post that mostly hit what was needed. 20% accuracy.

ChatGPT: 29 seconds, 50% accuracy.

Winner: ChatGPT

My coworker has an embarrassing illness, should I wish them sympathy?

Google: 67 seconds, not quite what I was looking for.

ChatGPT: 22 seconds, and a way better, and tailored answer

Winner: ChatGPT

What does Platonic Form mean?

Google: 31 seconds, was harder to understand, but led you to deeper information

ChatGPT: 23 seconds, had the bonus of being easy to understand

Winner: Calling this a tie, it really depends what you need. I suppose if you didn’t understand the meaning, ChatGPT would win. If you needed to write a paper, Google would win.

What is the CSS to have a blue background, specifically inline on an HTML page?

Google: 29 seconds, and the first two answers in the SEO spam was not what I was looking for. A casual person making a website might get tripped up.

ChatGPT: 13 seconds

Winner: ChatGPT

What ratios of baking soda and vinegar are needed to clean?

(By the way, this is a trick question, this makes water and salts, its a terrible cleaning solution)

Google: First two links were bad chemistry

ChatGPT: 3 of the 4 answers it gave were bad chemistry

Winner: Efficiency Is Everything’s Engineer Michael Kirk


Use both. Different tools for different jobs. If anything is important, you must fact check ChatGPT. I suppose you should do the same with Google given the outcome of this study.

For soft skills, ChatGPT.

For quick answers that are not critical, ChatGPT

For in depth answers or things that need to be correct, both, but using Google as the primary source of information.

For Math, Google, but use a calculator, excel, python, or something.

Last thoughts: Use both. After a few weeks of ChatGPT usage, move over to the GPT3 Playground. I typically set Temperature=0, max length=3000, Show Probabilities= Full Spectrum.

How To Multitask In 5 Second Increments

As you go through this article, take note of which multitasking is useful to you. There are too many for you to remember when you have only 5 seconds. Pick a few, make it a habit. I’ll share my personal choices for multitasking.

Admittedly I used chatGPT to answer this near impossible question: “How can I multitask during the 3 seconds it takes to turn on the shower?”

The questions asked

Chatgpt is great tool for mixing ideas, its bad at validating them. When using the tool, your job is to validate them. In this case, I wanted to generate time saving tip ideas that I could later review and present.

Given the amount of nonsense generated, there is no way I would post more than this one example

You: How can I multitask during the 3 seconds it takes to turn on the shower?

Chatgpt: There are a few things you can do during the 3 seconds it takes to turn on the shower:

Brush your teeth
Put on your shower shoes
Take off any jewelry or clothing that you won’t need in the shower
Organize your shower essentials (shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.)
Stretch or do a quick workout
Plan your day or make a to-do list
Take a deep breath and mentally prepare for the day ahead
Do a quick meditation or mindfulness exercise.

Time Saving Tips

I read that list and I find the stretch/quick workout, plan your day/todo list, breath, and mindfulness exercise most interesting. I could further ask chatgpt for quick workouts that only take 3 seconds and that can be done while turning on the shower. As someone with terrible posture, I already know what I can spend that time on.

I will spare you further chatgpt queries, but they are for every moment of the day, such as “How can I multitask during the 8 seconds it takes to get out of bed and walk to the shower?” and “How can I multitask when I am talking to my wife about her day?” Sometimes I’ll say things like “No, those answers are terrible because they involve moving and I’m lazy, can you give me 20 more ideas that don’t involve moving?”

Sub 10 second multitasking while physically busy

With only 10 seconds, you basically need to create a habit of doing these. You will not have time to think about them.

  • Repeat a positive quote: I liked the suggestion for taking a few seconds for mindfulness. You should decide your own. As an example, as someone that both wants to achieve and be efficient, I found a quote from Marcus Aurelius “No pointless actions” perfect for this.
  • Breathing exercises: Supposedly it works. I don’t practice it, but I’ve seen 9-20 second long exercises on the low end.
  • Review your goals for the day: This isn’t going through a todo list, this is reminding you of your 1-3 goals for the day.
  • Reviewing important information for an upcoming exam or meeting: Similar to the goals, sometimes I’ll remind myself “Don’t interrupt” or “Make sure you bring up X”. To be honest, I’m not sure this works, but it could just be my fumbling through meetings.
  • Concentrating on your posture and maintaining good alignment: Good reminder. Do it now too.
  • Practicing visualization techniques for high stakes activities or public speaking: One of my favorite authors swears by this, although I should mention I was a fan of this author’s first book.
  • Reviewing the steps to complete a task: Want to kill procrastination? Think about the first physical step that needs to happen. Work out the problem in your head first.
  • Reciting a prayer or spiritual text: Could you knock this out before sitting down at the dinner table or before getting into bed?
  • Saying numbers/letters/facts to your kids : GPT did not come up with this. I just do it. Maybe memorize the Periodic Table of Elements song too.

10 seconds to 5 minutes while physically busy

The 10s multitasking activities can be extended, but here are ones that you probably need more than 10 seconds to get a decent benefit from

  • Listening to (new) music, practicing singing or and tapping your feet to the beat.: Practicing beat changed my skill level with other instruments.
  • Podcasts/Audiobooks: Bonus points for nonfiction, but you do you. GPT also said ‘learn something new’. I’m combining that here.
  • Make a phone call: I highly recommend calling best friends, friends, acquaintances(maybe let them know you are going to call one of these days).
  • Self Reflection: Everyone has different reasons. I recently failed to be a good manager, I was able to run a half marathon without podcasts/audiobooks because I had so much to reflect on.

10 seconds to multitask while the brain is busy

  • Close your eyes and take three deep breaths: I’ll let you decide if this is worth doing. I don’t. I’m also flawed, so maybe this is a good idea.
  • Smile: Supposedly this makes you happier. I believe it.
  • Stretch/Fix posture/engage a muscle: This is redundant from above, but good enough to recommend twice.
  • Drink: Sip water/tea/caffeine drink/other liquids.
  • Look outside/at nature: Supposedly this can be relaxing and mood boosting
  • Clean: Clean your workspace or wherever you are at.
  • Eat a bite of a snack: Works best with things that are ready eat and doesnt need to be preserved. Fruits, peanuts,

10 seconds to 5 minutes while your brain is busy

  • Crochet/Knit: GPT didnt mention this, but I picked this up precisely to do something during work meetings. It was too easy to drift on the internet and not pay attention.
  • Do laundry, clean, or other chores: Hope you don’t need to unmute a meeting. Cooking can work if you know the recipe by heart. If I am talking to a rambler, I can usually clean my entire home including dishes and the kitchen. That usually takes more than 5 minutes.
  • Draw or Sketch: Not sure if you can learn things like depth and shading while thinking of something else. I found drawing/sketching quite valuable to portray my ideas.
  • Play an instrument: I don’t mean to learn new songs, but specifically techniques. For guitar players, the hardest barre chords and galloping. These are strength and finesse things
  • Stretch or light exercise: Anything beyond light exercise will make you pay attention less.
  • Give yourself a quick scalp or neck massage: Might improve your mood for no cost.

10 seconds to 5 minutes of waiting, hands and mind free

  • Answer email/messages: Duh! Now that I see this, I need to merely remember that when I’m waiting a minute
  • Read a book: I’m particularly fond of this one. Epub is my favorite format, followed by the Libby library app.
  • Write a thank you note: My wife writes these and people will call her in praise at how nice the thank you note was.
  • Plan your grocery list/next meal/snack: Research a new recipe or decide which recipe you want. You could check your kitchen inventory to see what is running low.
  • Nap: I thought a 5 minute nap was silly, but… the other day I’m pretty sure I fell asleep in less than a minute. I was tired. So… maybe this could work for you.
  • Declutter digital devices: Clean up pictures, organize notes, unsubscribe from emails, delete apps, etc..
  • Write in your journal: Supposedly writing in a journal makes you more productive, more accountable, and I can assume makes you more money as a result.
  • Knock out a short task you are procrastinating on: I like the idea of either breaking down the task into a manageable part during this time, or actually doing the first step. You can handle 10 seconds to 5 minutes of pain.
  • Meditate: No suggestions here, I have utterly failed to meditate every time I tried.

My Conclusions

These are not the best, this is my experience.

During 5 seconds of being physically busy, I review some sort of ‘next steps’ or ‘goals’. During 5 seconds of mentally busy, fix posture/stretch. With 5 minutes of being physically busy, podcasts/audiobooks, the time cost to turn it on is worth it for 5 minutes of knowledge. ~5 minutes of being mentally busy, cleaning or crocheting, the kitchen is a favorite mindless place to clean. 5 minutes when my hands and mind is free, I’ll read a book on my phone.

Wish you the best in implementation and being more efficient.

Kitchen Inventory, never run out of ingredients when its time to cook using Push/Pull

Can’t make the meal you wanted to? Ever run out of an ingredient and you only discovered it while cooking?

Industrial Engineers have solved this problem because shutting down the production line costs somewhere in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per minute. Running out of inventory is preventable. This application will prevent you from kitchen inventory mistakes, saving you time, money, and frustration.


There are two types of systems. A push system is when you plan ahead, predicting how much inventory(groceries) you need. A pull system is when you buy more inventory(groceries) as you are running out.

In our kitchen, we will use a hybrid system as most factories implement. Bulk items use a pull system, only buying more of an item when it gets low. Ingredients that are used in only a specific recipe will use a push system, and will be planned before going to the grocery store.

You likely already do this to some extent, but occasionally mistakes happen. Suddenly run out of a spice and you have another recipe containing it later this week? Industrial Engineers have found ways to error proof this.

Push System: Make the meals you want to eat

This may be obvious, but according to some anecdotes, some people buy groceries based on feeling.

Decide what meals you will eat until your next grocery trip, we write ours down on a physical calendar. At this point, go through the recipes and write what ingredients you need for these meals.

Some possible ways to make this faster are to create weekly templates. Suppose you have 4 weeks of ideas, you can type/write the ingredients for each week, and print/scan a copy. We did this in the original Efficiency Is Everything – In Cooking cookbook, click here.

Pull System: Never run out of ingredients mid-week

How often do you check to see if you are running low on a bulk item like Sugar/Rice/Flour/Spices? If you check weekly, you are wasting time. If you never check, you are going to run out of inventory.

For a pull system to work, you need to figure out how much is the maximum quantity you will need of the ingredient between grocery trips. For instance, I will not need more than 20 cups of rice per week, so I will make sure the systems will cue/trigger me to add the ingredient to my list when we go below 20 cups of rice in the inventory.

Here are some pull systems:

0 effort, possible spoilage, 2 bin system: You buy 2 containers of this bulk food. When one container runs out, buy another. Simple, no effort. You run the risk of spoilage, and the inventory takes up some extra space. In the example, the two bags of rice must have at least 20 cups of rice. If you want to save time, this is the best system.

Some effort, draw a line: Take a pen/marker, draw on the container a line that will visually remind you to buy more of the product. You could also do this with storage containers and mark a line that indicates when to re-buy. This doesn’t take up extra space but does take a moment to draw a line.

More effort, save 1 week worth of food in a backup container: Figure out the maximum need between grocery sessions. Put that amount in a backup container separate from your bulk container. When you run out of your bulk container, put it on your grocery list. You now can go into your separate container to last the rest of the week

Next Steps

If you aren’t already using a push system, its a good habit to begin. I especially recommend the premade weeks. The pull system is easy enough that you shouldn’t have trouble implementing it.

If you have a partner, make sure they understand the two systems, they might have further ideas on how to improve it.

The goal is to continuously improve your home processes, if something doesn’t work, change it.

Use AI Art

There are 2 sections, potential uses for AI Art, and my personal ‘How To’

Uses for AI Art

Using it to visualize room themes and low effort decorations.

These are for my black, white, and sparkly bedroom. I found the pictures on the wall incredible inspiration, I can DIY that easy and low cost.

Make custom art for rooms.

The first two are for my blue, teal, and gold themed room

This is for my glass and plant themed office.

Make yourself blonde and tan in pictures without spending money or time at a salon.

As an example, here is a photo from our Youtube Channel where my newborn drops a big spit glob on my hand.

Before Blonde:

After Blonde:

It took longer to find a picture than to run the program. You can also limit the picture to specific areas, I used this online version which works just okay.

More ideas:

  • Upscale small photos to 4k.
  • Colorize old and clarify grainy photos.

Get started on AI Art

No effort, web link, limited features

If you want to get started right away, there is this hugging face link. Warning that you often need to smash the generate button like 10 times to get in the queue.


The downside is that you can’t use other models, add extensions, or use img2img.

I am sure there are other websites that allow this.

Low effort, feature rich, and potentially free: Google colab

This gives google your information and will be so easy that you will likely pay ~$12/mo for google colab pro + 100gb google drive.

Go here:


Hit Run All, and connect to your google drive.

Run it on your own computer

If you have an Nvidia video card that is 1000 series or higher you can follow this. (You can also do something with just your CPU, its much slower, the parameters matter. Google ‘How to run automatic1111 with a CPU’)

  1. Install python 3.9, 64 bit
  2. Pick one:
    • Install Git, go to whatever folder you want to store your files in, open up terminal/cmd(as admin), send without quotes: “git init”, then send without quotes “git clone https://github.com/AUTOMATIC1111/stable-diffusion-webui.git”
    • Go to this page, https://github.com/AUTOMATIC1111/stable-diffusion-webui, click the green Code button, then Download Zip, extract it to whatever folder you want to store your files in.
  3. Download the 4 gb model file, the link I have is the classic/base model https://huggingface.co/runwayml/stable-diffusion-v1-5/resolve/main/v1-5-pruned-emaonly.safetensors
  4. Copypaste the model in the folder stable-diffusion-webui\models\Stable-diffusion
  5. Go to the stable-diffusion-webui folder and double click webui-user.bat, after like 10-20 minutes a url saying should appear, you can now use Stable Diffusion! Only the first time takes a long time, after that it should only take a minute.
  6. If you get errors about VRAM, you can use a modifier in the parameters like –low-vram

Some final ideas for after you get good: Its worth looking into additional models, its worth playing with ControlNet, check out dreambooth too. ControlNet is incredible.

I’ve never seen technology move so fast as Stable Diffusion. This guide may be outdated, if you get an error. Google it. Don’t give up. I’ve seen plenty of ‘degenerates’ make lewd photos, I’m sure you can figure it out.

Special Release: Make A Fun and Easy Spaghetti Diagram To Save Time (And 11 Article Summaries)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been holding out on the Spaghetti Diagram article for 7 years! It’s finally here! Find that and 1-3 minute article summaries in this special release.

(Physical book prices are going up in 2023, get yours and save!)

Know someone who has money but needs to Save Time? Get them Speed Cooking ($35), spend less 2 minutes per day actively cooking.

Know someone who has time, but needs to Save Money? Get them Perfect Eating($20), eat all your essential nutrients for $11/week (pre 2020 inflation).

Know someone who has some time and some money? Get them EIE In Cooking($10), the classic, normal recipes that have you eating for $24/week (pre 2020 inflation).

Save Time

Make A Spaghetti Diagram To Save Time, it only takes 5-20 minutes and you will be able to visualize waste like never before. Plus it’s fun, you get to draw.

Save Time, Clean Less And Eliminate Overprocessing Waste, YouTube exclusive, 93 second video on using quality metrics to clean less. (94 seconds)

Article Summaries

Save Time On Laundry By Applying Ergonomics, a few quick tips, check this out for sure if you haven’t read the laundry ergonomics article. (228 seconds)

Save Time Applying The Pareto 80/20 Rule To Your Appearance, if you think makeup/hair/getting dressed takes too long, check this one out. (88 seconds)

Water Per Second – Save 1400 Hours Getting Water, this is a heavy hitter, lots of hours saved. If you don’t already drink out of a large water bottle, this is worth viewing. (90 seconds)

Save Time By Removing The 7 Forms Of Waste, this is a great one. You can save lots of hours learning these tips. (152 seconds)

Apply Process Flow Diagrams To Save Time On Any Repetitive Task, Not as good as the actual article, but maybe a fresh perspective or two. It’s been a few years since I wrote that article. (120 seconds)

Make More Money By Using Rational Decision Making, has it been a few years since you changed jobs? This is a good reminder before making big decisions.(135 seconds)

Save Time Sleeping With Biphasic Sleep, Save 624 Hours Per Year, a summary of biphasic sleep. (208 seconds)

Speed Up Videos, Save 110+ Hours Per Year, the world famous article that got me on BBC, summarized. If you aren’t already speeding up your media, check this out. (132 seconds)

Save Money

Article Summaries

Save Money On Gas, No Apps Or Spending Extra Time Driving, easy tip that will work the rest of your lifetime. (61 seconds)

Picking The Best Health Insurance For You, Multiple times per year I explain how critical it is to pick the most efficient health insurance plan. Here it is in video form. (93 seconds)

I’m thankful for you reading these emails and telling people about Efficiency Is Everything. I wouldn’t be doing this 7 years later if it wasn’t for readers. Wish you the best.

Best Regards,
Lead Engineer
Michael Kirk

Make A Spaghetti Diagram To Save Time, Easy and Fun

This tool is so easy and fun, I was saving it for a book… This is peak Efficiency Is Everything, this is the good times, we are in them now.

While a process flow diagram is the go-to tool for finding waste, this is a supplementary tool that may be able to catch moments that the process flow diagram did not. This is also faster than a process flow diagram, it can be completed in 5-20 minutes.

What is a Spaghetti Diagram?

A Spaghetti Diagram starts as an overhead view of a floor. A pen is put down at the starting location of a process. You then hold the pen down, traveling through all the locations of each steps with the pen, never picking up the pen until its finished. When you are finished your page will look like Spaghetti is on it with all the lines.

You will find two benefits from this: as you travel along with your pen you will find waste by simply seeing it and thinking about it. Then at the completion you can look back and find locations that have significant overlap, cause you to move far away, or are repetitive. Now that you can visualize the waste, you can find solutions to eliminate them and save time.

An Example

Below is a poor drawing of my house, but it will get the job done. This is my morning routine when I do exercise, this includes getting my 2 kids showered.

Here is the completed diagram, the highly trafficked areas and far away destinations were obvious. Now these are a major focus for improvement.


  • I’m taking many trips downstairs, some are necessary, one was poor planning, another is that the kids finish showering at different times. I can fix the bad planning and I might be able to find a solution to the different shower finish times.
  • I noted I was taking an extra 3-4 steps to put towels away. We may be able to reduce by moving a towel rack.
  • Again I see that taking the kids in separate moments is wasting time. I can probably lift all 70lbs shared between them…

As a side note, I mention that I messed up the floor plan of the house, drawing a phantom area of a room that doesnt exist in my house. It really should be split between the two closets. It didn’t matter, so I left it. (I keep my clothes on a dresser next to the bathroom.)

How To Make A Spaghetti Diagram

  1. Get a pen/pencil/crayon/marker
  2. Get a (mostly) blank piece of paper, notebook paper is fine, some marks are fine.
  3. Draw your home’s floor plan. As close as you can, don’t worry non-critical mistakes.
  4. Find your starting point. Could be your Bed, Garage, Living Room, etc…
  5. Place your pen/(writing tool) on the starting location, do not lift it up until this is complete
  6. Drag your pen from location to location you would be moving during this process. Continue this until the process is complete.
  7. Lift up pen, look for any areas that have many overlaps and see if there is anything you can do to optimize or eliminate.

Try it!

See how quick you can visualize your waste. Do not dwell on a poorly drawn layout, don’t worry about the proportions, don’t worry about non-straight edges or mild inaccuracies. Don’t let the whole exercise take more than 20 minutes, aim to take 5-15 minutes. Try it!

If you have any waste that you cannot seem to find a solution for, send me your spaghetti diagram and I can think about it. michaelkirk@efficiencyiseverything.com

Productive Sickness, Productive Watching TV, Cheapest and Easiest Yogurt and Alcohol, Cleaning Chemistry, Daycare Alternatives 2022 Q2-Q3

Are you spending less than 2 active minutes cooking your food per day? If so, thank you for making Speed Cooking our best seller. The popularity of Speed Cooking has been an economic indicator that I can’t avoid. I’m not sure if people like Speed Cooking in general, or want time saving studies, but this effect has been noted.

8 articles – some save time, some save money, some will improve your quality of life! (New features! Some articles have custom in-article calculators!)

Save Time

Double Productive Watching TV– Is everyone around you watching a show and you feel the need to get ‘cultured’? Get cultured and knockout life’s necessities at the same time.

Double Productive Watching Kids– If the kids are playing nice by themselves, why ruin it? Instead optimize it further with some ideas for multitasking.

Productive Sickness– You will get sick in the future and you can either sulk in misery, or sulk in youtube… or a different set of productive activities.

Block Ads AND mid-video sponsors to save 30+ hours per year(5 minutes per day)- Adblock is pretty common, but with mid-video sponsors it was becoming unavoidable until… Sponsorblock! My favorite download of 2022, and its free!

Quality of Life

Cleaning Chemistry– 8 different ways to clean. The top results of Google’s page 1 suggested mixing an Acid and a Base, which makes water and a salt. I hope this to be your go-to the next time you can’t get a stain out of a shirt, or residue off a pan.

Save Money

Daycare, Stay at Home, or a Third Way– The math to decide if staying at home is really ‘break even’ and an alternative solution that has saved us tens of thousands of dollars.

Cheapest and Easiest Alcohol– This creates a negative externality, so read this at society’s peril. “Prison Hooch” is soo easy to make. 7+ alcoholic drinks per dollar.

Homemade yogurt, $1.50 per day/Perfect Eating approved– Boil milk, let cool, add a scoop of yogurt, and wait.

Misc Tips and Conclusion

Alex H. suggests getting a sideways cellphone charger so you can yank your phone to unplug it with 1 hand. The Electrical Engineer in me cringes at hurting the $5 cable, but I like the idea of saving time.

I thought Chicken Shawarma performed really well for minutes of flavor per calorie because I can still taste the garlic 10 minutes later.

Are you prepared for buying health insurance this year? If you don’t plan to be sick/give birth, pick the cheapest plan. If you do, read the article. Good decisions on health insurance can save you a half million dollars in your lifetime.

Make sure you subscribe to the Youtube channel, I’m going to do 2 minute article summaries every Saturday. Efficient Efficiency!

Leaving you with some inspiration to improve your qualities- “What’s the sanest(logical) thing we can do or say? Whatever it may be, you can do or say it. Don’t pretend that anything’s stopping you.” -Marcus Aurelius

Wish you the best,
Lead Engineer
Michael Kirk

Cleaning Chemistry : 8 Different Ways To Clean

This is my summary of all the cleaning methods I am aware of. This article is important because the first 10 results on google often recommended mixing vinegar and baking soda, aka making water and a salt. Here I will go through the options I use for cleaning the hardest things.

Note: I thought I was going to invent my own piranha solution that wasn’t so dangerous. As a note piranha solutions are not recommended in a lab environment, let alone your kitchen.


For high appearance items, its best to do a test run on a low appearance area. For instance, before you put bleach on the front of your wood cabinet, try it on the inside back corner made of the same material that rarely sees the light of day. If after a few hours it looks fine, you are probably safe.

Its also best to start with diluted or weaker substances before pulling out the strong stuff.

If you are about to try something new, I’d google it. For instance, wood dye is soluble in a non-polar substance- meaning dyed wood will be ruined with acetone. The following are to give you ideas for impossible to remove substances.


  • Heat
  • Physical Scrubbing
  • Acid
  • Base
  • Non Polar Solvents
  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Oxidizers
  • Reducers

I should include water on the list, but its a bit obvious to go into detail. Boiling water is a favorite, but I’ll often use hot water from the tap.

It typically helps to clean as soon as a surface gets dirty. Things get deeper into crevasses, they might chemically react, and they will dry.


Hot stuff makes things softer and more liquid. I continue to be surprised at how easy hot water ~140F can clean something vs cold water 50F. The difference is as simple as changing the temperature of your faucet.

There are some other options, the hottest easily available is using an oven. My gas oven can get to 500F, although I hear some ovens have an oven cleaning setting that gets to 800F. Before you turn on your oven cleaning setting you should take note of what you are trying to clean, if it can handle those temperatures, and that maybe a lower setting might do the job.

If you need heat to clean something that cannot be put into an oven, boiling water can help. If the surface cannot touch water, a blow dryer or heat gun can make a hot surface.

Physical Scrubbing

This is typically a double edged sword. Yes you can use steel wool, but it might damage the surface you are trying to clean. Even a soft sponge may take off tiny bits of Teflon on a pan.

My rule is to typically use water, soap, and the softest cotton rag before I put a sponge on anything that is delicate.

There is a rule of thumb I don’t recommend, to only use weaker substances to scrub than the material you are scrubbing on. For instance, use a sponge on metal, use a rag on wood. I don’t totally buy this. A sharp plastic edge and some elbow grease/strong muscles can damage a metal surface. If I use a sponge, I make sure everything is water hot, soaked, and then lightly scrub before I start putting additional force into it.

Warning 2

We are getting into the ‘last resort’ territory. The following may react with surfaces in an undesirable fashion. Do a test surface.


The idea behind soaps is that you can have an fat/oil/non polar substance attach to a soap and have soap attach to water. Then you can rinse the surface with water and that will wash everything bonded to the soap away.


Typically these contain a soap, but what makes them different is that have a surfactant. Surfactants make water ‘wetter’, and reduce the surface tension of a liquid. This both forces molecules around, but it also lets substances get into tinier crevasses.

Non Polar Solvants

If water can dissolve polar substances like table salt, a non polar substance may help dissolve/mix with a nonpolar substance. You may see these casually described as Solvents. (Water is also a solvent, but its polar, these are not the same.) Isopropyl alcohol, mineral spirits, and if you have none of the above handy, glycerin.

Using soap/detergent after is a great 1-2 punch as soap will bind as described above.

Warning 3

You are about to chemically react things here. Before it was about physical removal and dissolving, but now there is going to be a chemical reaction.


The idea here is that by bombarding an substance with Hydrogen ions, its going to react into something that isn’t as sticky or will dissolve in water.

Cooking vinegar is an easy first stop. Oxalic acid is the stronger, ‘bar keepers friend’. And you can get all the way to sulfuric acid at the hardware store.

The concentration is a critical aspect here. Diluting an acid wont make it as strong.

Mixing an acid with a base(vinegar and baking soda) creates regular boring water and a salt. Its totally stupid, don’t do it.


If you hear people talking about alkaline, they are talking about hydroxide ions. If Acids have lots of extra Hydrogen ions(+1 charge), bases have lots of hydroxide ions(-1 charge). Doing an acid cleaning, then washing away the acid with water, and a base cleaning, is a 1-2 punch that effects many substances.

On the less harsh end is Baking soda and water. On the strong end, NaOH ‘Lye’. All available at the hardware store.


This bombards your surface with electrons.

Some common types are Ascorbic Acid and Oxalic Acid (as mentioned in the Acid section, this is the main ingredient in barkeepers friend).

As with the Acid and Base sections, make sure your surface has no other chemical on it, because it might interfere with a reducing reaction.


“HI ITS MICHAEL KIRK HERE WITH OXYCL” Yeah that one. This is typically seen as household bleach. Bleach isn’t a single chemical, but rather the generic term for something that oxides. This is the opposite of a reducer, oxidizers suck electrons from whatever surface you apply it to.

Chlorine based bleach(typically used for whitening), peroxide based bleach(Commonly called color safe bleach), and hydrogen peroxide are common.


Test less critical locations of whatever you are cleaning. Start with gentle suggestions before harsh. If you see progress using a method, you can continue by repeating, or trying a different substance in that same category. Google might help too, or maybe you will find a ‘mix vinegar and baking soda’ SEO blogger that will waste your time. On a similar note, its a shame this website isn’t the first link when you search ‘save money on food’- the top results suck.