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.

Double Productive Watching Your Kids

This is a no-brainer to many people, but if your house is messy before your kids go to sleep, it doesn’t have to be.


You are watching your kids, they seem to be playing with toys fine and your home is baby proofed. This gives you a few ~1-5 minute bursts where you can:

  • Cook
  • Clean
  • Do Laundry
  • Chores
  • Garden

…before checking to make sure the kids don’t have something unacceptable in their mouth.

What not to do

Kids are uncontrollable, so here is what not to waste time on while they are roaming:

  • Don’t pick up kid’s toys
  • Don’t clean the kitchen floor before dinner
  • Don’t vacuum the living room floor if you are a perfectionist

Example Timeline

Our home has an open floor plan which make it so I can see the kids while cooking and doing many cleaning chores. Adjust to your household and lifestyle.


Go outside, do gardening related things while the kids have outdoor play time. This could be weeding, planting/maintenance/harvesting, raking, or full blown landscaping. I’ve gotten away with using the weed wacker around our fence while the kids played on the patio.


Start dinner. If this is a 2 minute per day meal or leftovers, there isn’t much to do. However, my wife really likes her $1.50/day Veggie pot pie and those kinds of recipes + cleanup take between 20-60 minutes of work. During this time, it’s cooking and cleaning. My 3 year old often wants to help, which is sometimes helpful as he is capable of stirring. My 1 year old will grab my legs and make the sound “HNGGGGNGGGNGGG” which means something like ‘Food/Fun/Attention’. Deal with your 1 year old however you find fit, my solution is usually a healthy snack or a healthy dose of math/phonics Youtube.


Dinner time, not a ton of opportunities to be productive, so might as well enjoy the ride. Everyone eats at the dinner table, talk about how the day was.


Full blown TV/youtube time. If my 3 year old did chores(sorting the clean silverware in the dishwasher), they can watch their mathematical/logical cartoon Peg + Cat. This puts them into a trance where I can read a non-fiction book… Most of the time. Sometimes I build bridges and towers for the kids.


Cue the bed time routine. Bill Nye The Science Guy goes on. I don’t care if the kids watch it, there is a 22 minute countdown until bed time.


I tell our 3 year old, time to clean up, if he cleans his toys, he gets a book before bed. I put our 1 year old to bed and depending on my luck, the toys are halfway cleaned up by the time I come back.

I clean any extra things in the kitchen while he finishes the living room.


  • Food was cooked + leftovers are already put away.
  • Kitchen is clean
  • Living room is clean
  • Progress is made on the garden
  • I read a few pages of my book

This happens most nights. I wont claim that I get lots of gardening done or read 20+ pages of a book, but I will say we always have cooked food/leftovers, a clean kitchen, and clean living room by the time the kids are in bed.

Think about what you can do with the kids close by, doing even 20-30 minutes of double productivity can make a huge difference.

$1.50/per day eating approved, Homemade Yogurt. 2 ingredients, no fancy equipment needed.

Way easier than I ever expected. Grocery store yogurt would never make the $1.50 per day budget. This offers you a solution.

  1. Boil milk
  2. Let milk cool (If you want to be scientific 90F-105F, but I don’t think it matters if it goes below 90F. It should be bath water temp)
  3. Add yogurt with an active culture(the cheapest 4 pack of walmart great value brand yogurt has it, look under the ingredients). If you add less yogurt, it will get thicker. If you add more yogurt it will be runny. I typically add 2 or 3 tablespoons per gallon of milk.
  4. Wrap in a blanket or put it in an oven/microwave but don’t turn it on. The goal is to keep it at ~90F-105F. I sometimes get paranoid and turn on the oven for about 30 seconds to add a little bit of heat. Don’t forget to turn it off quickly, if it gets too hot, the yogurt will separate.
  5. Place in your refrigerator when done.

I add 1 tbsp sugar per cup of yogurt. You can add vanilla or fruit, I don’t bother.

I like 9 hours of sitting time(step 4). It reminds me of Yoplait, liquidy and not sour. If you want it slightly firmer and more sour, you can wait longer like 24 hours.

You can use your new yogurt as the starter for next time. I froze a bunch in ice cube trays. Just let it defrost and warm it up closer to room temp before adding it to the 90F-105F milk.

Mrs. Efficiency gets pretty freaked out about dairy and the mere thought of eating bacteria cultures and even she enjoyed the yogurt. I also found myself replacing sour cream in recipes with thick yogurt.

Lowest effort and cheapest homemade alcohol (‘beer’/’wine’)

Disclaimer: Drugs are bad mmk? Save time, money, and increase efficiency by not using them. However if you insist, this article is for you.

The goal here is to make the active drug in alcohol, ethanol. We arent going for fancy flavors, you can figure that out yourself. I drank it with no changes.

Gather materials

  • A container, I use a clean 2L bottle or empty juice container
  • Sugar
  • Yeast, I use bread yeast because its cheap and I already have it at home
  • A plastic bag that has no holes in it
  • A rubber band
  • A pin


According to some website (17g/l is needed to get 1% of alcohol). 10% is the max percentage for bread yeast. I want 10% in a 2L so, 340g of sugar. If your final product is sweet, you either added too much sugar, or the yeast hasnt finished metabolizing. Oh well, its sweeter. 340g is about 1.5 cups of sugar.

Enter your desired alcohol percentage(10 for 10%):

Enter your container size in Liters:

Amount of sugar needed in grams =


  1. Put sugar into your 2L container, fill with warm water. If you are burning your hand on the water, too hot. Hot tub warm.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons yeast
  3. Put cap on, shake well
  4. Take cap off, put bag over the cap area, seal it with the rubber band. It should be air tight at this point. 2 options, remember to release the CO2 that builds up every day for the first few days(this is called burping). OR take a tiny pin and make a small hole in the bag. (I still burp it, its sastifying)


People say to wait 2 weeks or longer, not my style. You can get drunk in ~48 hours. Longer means stronger alcohol and better taste, so if you can wait, do it.

I imagine I had such good results with a 48-72 hour brew because I left it in my garage on ~93F degree day. At room temp, you may have to wait longer.

Last step before enjoyment

"Cold Crash"

Put it in the refrigerator, the yeast will settle to the bottom. Separate the good liquid from the yeast. You can do this multiple times if it isnt clear enough. Some people report yeast causes diarrhea. I've never had any issues, but I don't drink tons of yeast.



Same thing but buy 100% grape juice, just add yeast, no sugar needed. It will turn out dry, you can always add sugar to sweeten.

I personally like this the most, it is lower effort, it's slightly more expensive, but it tastes like full blown (dry) wine.

Final thoughts

The cost is a little bit of yeast, sugar, and time.

You can make "Wine" in less than 3 minutes. You can make the "Beer" in about 5 minutes. (This is active time, not the passive 48+ hours)

Now you can make drugs!

Daycare or stay at home? There is a third way.

I recently saw someone say ‘We did the math and sending the kid to daycare would be break even’. When I inquired further, it turned out ‘break even’ meant they could have profited $12,000/year. Nothing wrong with being a stay at home parent, but a profit of $12k is not close to break even.

Disclaimer, we send our kids to daycare, expect pro-daycare bias.

If you are reading this and have an agenda, to prove that whatever you are currently doing is the best: Just do that. This article’s purpose is to be rational from a monetary perspective. If you are afraid daycare is going to teach your kid bad habits, money won’t change that feeling.

The options

Here are your options to consider

  • Quit your job, become a stay at home parent
  • Send your kids to daycare or pay for a nanny
  • Watch kids in rotation with neighbors, family, and friends

While there is a monetary value to each option, there are some intangibles that should be considered.

Stay at home pros and cons

During coronavirus, I ‘lived the dream’. Me and my 1 year old spent every day together, I built bridges and towers with his megablocks, we went outside, and… quickly this wore off and his fuss drove me to putting on baby phonics and count to 100 videos.

We typically see our stay at home mom friends have a Disney movie on TV in the background of our snapchats.

Recently I got a taste of the stay at home life as I had coronavirus and I watched my kids all day. I think stay at home is fun in bursts, and it may be fun when the kids are a bit older and can play more independently or tell you what they need.


  • See all the milestones first hand
  • Micromanage their education
  • No concerns of child predators


  • Might get old
  • You may use TV as a crutch. Otherwise spend lots of time planning activities.
  • No growing your resume
  • No profit or benefit to external society
  • Less socialization for both you(coworkers) and your kids(other kids)


I won’t put ‘daycare costs money’ as a con, because daycare allows me to work and make profit.

To calculate if daycare is profitable, find out the cost of daycare. 5 days a week is approx $15,000 per child per year in my area. Then find your after tax earnings (as an estimate take your yearly income and multiply by 0.7). Do yearly after tax income – cost of daycare. If your number is positive, daycare is not ‘break even’, it’s profitable. Consider that the experience you gain from working will pay dividends as well.

Example outputs, assuming 15k/child/yr, a tax burden of 30%. This doesn’t include daycare tax deductions, which were $8,000 per kid in 2021 and only $3,000 per kid in 2022.
1 kid x 15,000= 15,000, after tax income to profit $21,000
2 kids x 15,000= 30,000, after tax income to profit $42,000
3 kids x 15,000 = 45,000 , after tax income to profit $65,000

Enter your yearly cost of daycare:

Enter your yearly post-tax income:

Gain/Loss =

To add qualities, here are pros and cons:


  • We grow our resume, the extra experience is worth ~30% pay bump every 2-3 years.
  • Socialization, me and the kids are probably deep down an introvert. Daycare has been a savior to our oldest
  • I get a break from watching the kids, this way I see them 40 hours a week instead of 95 hours a week.
  • Meet parents of people who can also afford daycare. Social club!
  • Having a break from your kids makes you appreciate them more


  • You still need to drive to drop off and pick up your kids
  • You don’t spend 24/7 with your kid. This is mentioned above as a Pro, your call.

The Third Way – Friends, Family, and Neighbors.

We use this to some extent, for 2 days a week, we have our parents watch the kids. There are pros and cons. Grandparents spoil the kids, but they get that 1 on 1 attention that they wouldn’t get from daycare. I also enjoy having our parents over, I like those days as much as the weekend. It also reduces our daycare bills slightly.

I’ve been offered support from friends and neighbors as well, mostly in the form of trading days of watching kids. This would require finessing around work schedules, so we end up using daycare instead. However, my job is flexible enough to do something like this. I’ve personally been impressed enough by my kid’s socialization at daycare that I don’t think I’d trade it for $20,000/yr… Hmm… when I put it that way, maybe I do need to consider ‘The Third Way’.


If you want to be a stay at home parent, why are you reading this article? You know in your heart what you want.

If you want to make profit and have 1 parent with a flexible schedule, you may be able to set up a system of friends, family, and neighbors to watch your kids.

If you want to make profit, do the math to figure out if daycare is a profitable choice. Even a slight profit will pay dividends with a stronger resume. On a similar note, make sure you are using rational decision making when choosing jobs, benefits disguise how low a job actually pays.

AdBlock Options + Sponsorblock to save 30+ hours per year and save you money

Adblock has been around for over a decade. Today there is a new way to block in-video sponsors, the ads that your content creators are pushing rather than external google/youtube ads.

This will save you time watching ads, and save you money by avoiding witnessing psychology tricks in ads.

SponsorBlock – My best download of 2022

Starting with the reason I made this article, however if you aren’t blocking adds on your computer and cellphone, keep reading.

SponsorBlock skips those ‘N0rdVPN’ type mid-video ads. It also has options to skip ‘Subscribe to my channel’ moments, intros, filler, etc… I have basically all options enabled and it cuts the videos perfectly.
Link to SponsorBlock.

Adblock PC options

This isn’t all encompassing, it’s just my setup. On desktop I have an extension for Chrome/Edge/Firefox “ublock Origin” for ad blocking.

To be clear there is a ‘ublock’ that sold out to… Adblock. If you remember them, adblock sold out and let big spenders pay to let ads through. “ublock Origin” is the one you want.

Unrelated, my philosophy on most software, great software ‘lives long enough to become a villain’, its good to be flexible or use Open Source software because villains can be forked to become heroes again.

tl;dr- ublock origin on PC

Adblock Cellphone options

I use Bromite, blocks most ads and supposedly trackers. However, this is compiled software on an external non-google-playstore website. Its like installing a .exe on your computer… I personally don’t put any of my passwords in it, but I’m likely just paranoid. The .apk can be downloaded near the bottom of their homepage.

I don’t give Apple money or want to enable people to use Apple products so this is up to you. The time savings are worth it to figure it out for yourself.

Other options I never used

I’ve heard of using VPNs and a RaspberryPi and Pihole. I havent tried these, but as long as your method takes less than 30 hours per year to set up/configure, you will be saving time.

Ads are bad… mmk?

Ads have the ability to change your brain. Their goal is to change your perception. They may subtlety make you think you need to own something or you are a loser. They may make you think their product will change your life. Whatever the case, ads have an adversarial relationship with you. Find out how you can block ads – it will save you time, money, and free you brain to think about what is best for you.

What can you do while watching tv? (or audiobooks)

Watching TV can be either a full focus, mentally intense activity or the TV is background noise. A show like LOST, where missing 15 seconds could make you completely not understand anything is full focus. Re-runs of The Office can be background noise. (Don’t watch LOST, save your time)

You can swap ‘Watch TV’ with listening to audiobooks for these.

From “highest TV” focused to “mostly activity” focused:

  • Light Exercise- Walk loops around the house, treadmill walk/run, stationary bike, hula-hoop
  • Stretch
  • Massage- Foam roller, tennis ball
  • Feed Animals
  • Clean
  • Practice Musical Instruments
  • Crochet/Knit/etc..
  • Cook, cut peaches, prep, full blown meal cooking
  • Hard Exercise- Abs, pushups, Jump rope, high intensity interval training.

Light Exercise

A casual stroll on a stationary bike or treadmill walk/light jog is nearly mindless. Your head can still fully face the TV at all times. You burn calories, condition yourself, and hit that recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day that everyone talks about. This wouldn’t be my only exercise, I’d definitely want 2-3 days per week of much more intense workouts, but 30 minutes of easy cardio keep you loose and burn calories.

As a note, the faster I run on the treadmill or more intense I go on the stationary bike, the louder I need to make the TV. Closed Captions help.


This may be a bit more intense than light exercise as some stretching causes you to look away from the TV. Changing positions or counting require mental activity that isn’t focusing on the show for a few seconds. I wouldn’t let this deter you. Most shows have redundancies to clear up confusion.

Do remember there is a difference between Active/Dynamic and Passive/Static stretching. You may find Passive/Static is better for watching an intense show.

Thank you to my wife, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, for correcting my terminology in this article.


This is basically on the same tier as Stretching, with slightly less looking at the TV if you use a foam roller/tennis ball.

Similar to Stretching, you can do Dynamic massage where you are moving back and forth. You can also do Static stretching. Each has different physiological effects, I personally do both.

Feed Animals

This is typically quick and mindless enough to continue to focus on whatever you are watching.


We are now approaching the point where you can ‘miss something’. Cleaning a single room with a TV in it would be rare. However, transporting objects from one room to another is a common activity during cleaning, your back will face the TV and you may leave the room entirely. You may be able to coordinate this in a way where you never leave the room, or are doing things like dusting/picking up kids toys/folding laundry. You can likely empty and load the dishwasher while watching TV and miss little, as long as you can see and hear the TV. This is one of the few cases where sound becomes an issue.

Musical Instruments

We have crossed over into the ‘I’m doing an activity, and the TV is in the background’.

Back when I used to watch (Detroit Lions) sports, I would have a guitar in my lap and practice a difficult technique or finger position. For a difficult technique, you are focused on pulling off the technique and learning from your mistakes. You are doing trail and error, seeing if you can figure out something new that works. If the crowd/announcer goes wild, you can watch the replay. You can also stop practicing when teams are close to scoring or it’s the end of the game.

The best way for me to watch sports is if I’m doing something else productive or visiting friends(which is also productive).


When you know… you know..

The first time I learned how to crochet, it was a full 100% intense activity. Today, I can mindlessly make many different toys with a mere occasional reference to remind myself the order of operations. My favorite are making simple snowballs. At this point, no reference needed. My wife knits blankets.


Cooking gives you long breaks but also critical moments of full focus. After stirring tomato sauce, you might have 5-50 minutes before needing to do anything else. Or you might be frying potatoes/cooking crepes/toasting a quesadilla and 30 seconds of inattention causes your food to burn. Or maybe you are cutting vegetables and can listen to the dialogue of a show.

I wouldn’t put anything attention intense on, but you can always jump back a few minutes if you missed something on TV and are done with time critical cooking.

This one can really go both ways. This year we were processing ~1000 peaches from our peach tree and had to get rid of gross spots and the pits. That was pretty mindless, even if our eyes weren’t fully on the TV.

Hard Exercise

This is really reserved for TV shows that don’t matter. The news and sports come to mind. You can generally get the gist of what is going on from a quick glance.

There is another downside. I don’t think your workout will be at the intensity you could achieve. Intense hype music before a heavy lift will get me to do more reps than if I was listening to a non-fiction podcast/audiobook. My 2-3/week hard workouts are to achieve progress, and I’d be disappointed if I didn’t achieve my goal because I needed to watch TV. However, any workout is better than no workout. You decide.


You are watching TV for enjoyment. Finding any secondary benefit provides an ROI that would otherwise be 0. Find something you find either physically or mentally mindless that works for you.