Saving Time With Your Microwave

July 12th, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

The ubiquitous microwave oven is an appliance used daily, both at work and at home. And yet so few people possess the knowledge and skills necessary to reap the maximum productivity from this modern time-saving device.

Here are several tips for optimal microwave oven usage:

1. Reduce unnecessary key punching.
Are you one of those plebeians who still punches in 1-0-0 to heat an item for a minute or 1-3-0 for a minute and a half? Use 6-0 for 60 seconds and 9-0 for 90 seconds, and save yourself that extra digit. Learn to type two digits for anything up to 99 seconds. You’ll save time and also reduce wear and tear on your keypad.

2. Duplicate the same digit whenever possible.
Tip #1 was for newbies. The next skill to master is digit reuse so as to minimize finger movement over the keypad. Instead of typing 9-0 for 90 seconds, type 8-8. Instead of 6-0, use 5-5. You won’t miss those extra seconds, and you’ll save even more time.

3. If your microwave has a turntable, learn its rotational period.
How many times have you re-nuked your tea only to find that when you opened the microwave door, the teacup handle was oriented towards the rear, forcing you to reach awkwardly around the back to extract your beverage without burning yourself? The time lost in handle-hunting can be an order of magnitude greater than what you save on the keypad, so give top priority to learning the period of rotation of your turntable. When shopping for a new microwave, look for one with a rotational period of 5.5 or 11 seconds, since then your 5-5 and 8-8 nukes will always return the cooked item to its original orientation (i.e. handle facing out). But if you’re stuck with a less functional period of rotation and the handle always ends up facing the rear after your preferred nuke times, then learn to insert the cold mug with the handle facing the rear, so it will be facing outwards post-nuking. Of course, another solution is to buy two-handled mugs or teacups, which is fine if sophistication lacks appeal to you.

4. Multitask with multiple microwaves.
How many times have you had to wait for the microwave to finish one item before you nuke a second or third item, like reheating leftovers and then making a cup of tea? Surely you have better things to do than stand around soaking up radiation for 10 minutes. New microwave ovens can be bought for less than $50. You should have at least three stacked in your kitchen and at least one in every room of your home. Reheat leftovers for the entire family in minutes. Build your own nuke farm, and multi-nuke your way to faster meals for life. Just be sure not to blow a fuse by running too many other appliances at the same time.

By applying these tips, you could save yourself precious seconds per day, which over the course of a lifetime, should be more than enough to recoop the time spent learning them… unless, of course, you’re reading this on your deathbed, in which case you have my sincerest apologies (and my pity).

Next time: Why you should wear a wristwatch on each wrist (what if your non-watch hand happens to be closer to your face???)… PLUS determining optimal coaster placement. ;)


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