Roy Schestowitz

Efficiency Tips

In this page I put some assorted tips which enrich my life for different reasons. Some of them save me time which is required to complete arduous chores and some of them simply provide means of entertainment. I put them in a Web page simply in case somebody, somewhere is doing the exact same things and might eventually be led to this list.


Don't we all hate that routine? Surveys show that an average American spends only 40 seconds toothbrushing, whereas the recommended duration is 2 minutes. It is simply due to impatience.

Luckily, things can be improved. Why use just one hand when you have two? Likewise, why use such small brushes and cover small parts of the jaw at any one time? I found that there are two ways of brushing your teeth more intensively or, another way of looking at this, reducing the time required to finish the coverage of all teeth.

The first of these involves combining two or more toothbrushes to form one better, composite brush. Usually it is better to set the angles of all brushes so that they cover the front, the rear and the top of teeth all at the same time. I hope this argument makes sense.

The other, rather obvious solution, is to use both hands. Since there are two sides to the jaw, there should be no intervention between one toothbrush and the other. The only difficulty is getting the coordination right with the weaker hand. Fortunately, one can quickly get used to the change.

Bulk Laundry Wash

This one might not be suitable to everyone. It is not of use if your answer to one of the questions below is 'yes'.

  • Do you have large amounts of clothes?
  • Is the number of one item of clothing not proportional to that of all others?
  • Do you enjoy doing the laundry?
  • Do you mind having to wear your out-of-fashion clothes?
  • Do you have access to only a single washing machine?

Pressing on, the message to get across here is quite simple. Accumulate large amounts of clothes. If you run out of, let us say socks, go buy some more. I manage to do about 6 laundries every 6 weeks. So who is to say laundry is an unavoidable nuisance in life? It is not if you do it only 8 times a year, about 50 washes in total. The trick is to use machines and driers in parallel. Even ironing and related tasks then involve a once-in-6-week preparation.

Meals and Internet

Reading the paper while having a meal is common and quite reasonable. So is the option of watching TV to take away the boredom of scooping and chewing. I am not suggesting anything much different, but it is also possible to use the computer, the main problem being controlling it while eating. To avoid the mess of a meal infiltrating the region of the desk, I have purchased a second mouse, a pad and a long PS/2 extension cable. Since the distance from the dining table and the external monitor of my laptop is not great, in my case, it is then possible to view and control the computer from the dining table too. It is also possible to operate two mice simultaneously on my Compaq Presario so there is never a need to disconnect and re-connect wires.

The bottom line is that you can handle the mouse with your stronger hand and eat with the other. The on-screen keyboard (OSK) under Window$ can input characters when necessary.


I love coffee because it makes me vibrant. There are two habits of mine that are worth mentioning:

  • Advice 1: Get an large empty jar and, depending on your favourite coffee-to-sugar 'ratio', pour the two inside the jar. Mix the contents of the jar thoroughly (ensure the jar is only filled to about 75% of its entire capacity so that mixing remains practical). You then no longer need to scoop sugar and coffee separately. You can also never get the ratio wrong by over-spilling.
  • Advice 2: Make two cups at any one time. This of course is of no use if you are a slow coffee drinker.

Also see my notes on caffeine in my Health and Nutrition Page.

Other Oddities

If you have not yet been discouraged by my awkward bits of lifestyle, here are a few more.

Shower and Music

2001 was the first occasion when I considered entering a speaker into the bathroom. This was not intended only to bridge the distance between the bedroom and the bathroom, but also to avoid unnecessary noise and localise the volume to suit my location.

The way to arrange this is simple. All that is necessary is long wiring (although some wireless alternatives do exist). Then, when at least one speaker (I have 5) is located in the bathroom, you need to find the trick to set the volume balance right.

File Archives

At the time of writing, I possess a long-standing filestore of nearly 25,000 personal files (in some 2,500 directories). I also have archives of my school work going back to 1994. In terms of volume, this is quite immense. I have photos of most places I have been to and seen in my life and I find this to be a most precious doorway to nostalgia.


Extensive record of my incoming and outgoing mail I always have in store. However, I mainly correspond within my family and I presently re-evaluate the need for purposeless exchange of text. I rarely use telephone either because I dislike being interrupted. I hope my Web pages compensate for this distance.

I admit my habits are eccentric, but this is natural when one is inspired by people like Don Knuth or John Kemeny. I suggest everyone reads through their biographies.

This page was last modified on September 11th, 2004 Maintained by Roy Schestowitz