Efficiency tips

NOTE: This page has not been updated since January 2018 (and possibly even longer). The tips listed here may no longer be endorsed by me, and the list may not include efficiency tips I currently follow.

Small inefficiencies can add up to a significant chunk of your daily time. Also, too much day-to-day variation in your activities can create decision fatigue. For more context, see my daily routine page.

Below are some tips.

  • I used to get a hot chocolate every day from Take 5 Cafe. To save them and myself time, I pay them by the week in cash. If for some reason I can’t go on a given day or they close down, we adjust the next week. This saves about 6 minutes a week, and also means that they can avoid card processing transaction fees because I pay a bulk amount in cash.
  • In general, when I eat out, I generally order the same things. This makes the process of ordering faster, and my own variance in experience lower.
  • In general, when I go to restaurants to eat alone, I go to the desk and pay directly rather than having the waiter or waitress get the check to my table. This saves me and them time. In some cases, I might even pay in advance before the meal is done, so that I can leave quickly once I am done eating (however, this is only if the waiter/waitress is not otherwise occupied).
  • I try to keep train and bus schedules in my mind so that I can plan the timing of my activities to minimize waiting time at stations.
  • I maintain a simple wardrobe and just cycle through it so as not to face decision fatigue with respect to dress choices.
  • Prior to getting a phone with tethering, I tried to reserve activities that can be done offline (possibly with a bunch of browser tabs open from earlier) for train rides, where I don’t have Internet access. The activities include Wikipedia editing, WikiHow drafts, coding, and some stages of blog post drafting. For more tips in this direction, see my page How to Efficiently Work Offline.
  • I now use a phone with a 4G connection and tethering. I am therefore able to do Internet-based work on my laptop throughout my train travel. I try to plan my work schedule so that I can do work during the train ride that is better suited to intermittment connectivity.
  • We use Slack heavily at work. I have found that switching from Slack in the browser to the Slack desktop client has improved my responsiveness over Slack, and allowed me to use Slack to provide high availability to my team and stay on top of developments.

Basic information