Video anthology of time-saving tips

Yes, it's one of those icky, deliberately "viral" videos from a big, stupid telco, but this five-minute video is a seriously interesting anthology of time-saving tips, some of which have been shamelessly nicked from existing video hits (I've been a big fan of high-speed t-shirt folding since we featured it here 7 or 8 years ago), others are new to me, and collectively, they represent substantial relief from the pitiless drudgery imposed by stupid physics.

Time Saver of the Day


  1. Americans, that egg pealing trick is how you often look to Europeans. Gets the job done quickly, but….

  2. Hmm:

    1) I wonder how long you have to wait for the nail polish / cooking oil spray combination to work, so you can wash your hands.

    2a) People still peel potatoes? Eat the peel, it’s roughage.
    2b) Much more time would be saved by cutting the potato up, THEN cooking it. Note, Get the water boiling first then add the potatoes pieces, thus reducing the cooking time and leaching of the potato’s (water-soluble) vitamin c.

    3) Real men’s arms and shoulders are too large to be able to pass an arm through a sleeve like in the video – without ripping the shirt.

    I’m not going to comment on how energy wasteful most of the techniques are.

    The shirt-folding technique is still cool.

    1. The tater is not boiled to eat, it’s just blanched for a few seconds just so the skin can come off.

      There are many reasons a person would want a peeled potato, not just for flavor but for making it edible. If you’re getting your potatoes from the ground rather than a grocery store, they can be, uh, a little rough around the edges or nigh impossible to clean.

      This method works on fruit, too. Handy for peaches.

      1. Not to be that snarky guy but all potatoes come from the ground. But sometimes annoyance and grumpy people come from the grocery store. In any case, scrub the hell out of them and leave the skin on, yum (psst, that’s where all the real nutrients are anyway).

        Also, aside from wasting salt for no good reason most of these seem pretty clever. Going to practice that shirt fold thing when I get home. And for those guys that have small shirts or big arms/shoulders or both. Try the two handed method. Cross your arms in front of you and grab the bottom hem. Lift arms. Toss shirt. Optional jump in bed or party (or both depending on what sort of party it is.)

    2. ‘REAL men’s’ arms? Oh, puhleeeeeeeaze. What’s that guy in the video, then? Not a real man? Whatever.

  3. I’m embarrassed to have gone so far in life without knowing how to really tie my shoes. Does everyone else know that trick?

  4. Get the water boiling first then add the potatoes pieces, thus reducing the cooking time and leaching of the potato’s (water-soluble) vitamin c.

    So cutting it up into pieces allows more boiling water to come into contact with every piece, and more boiling water penetrating and softening every cell, but the water magically doesn’t touch the Vitamin C locked in the potato? Either Vitamin C is lost when the potato is boiled in water or it isn’t. You can’t speed up the boiling time and not equally speed up the loss of Vitamin C. It would be equivalent to saying if you ground your coffee finer, you need to steep it for less time, and so less caffeine will be leeched out.

    That aside, I agree with you that the potato “trick” is pure silliness, as you lose more time boiling the potato whole and you should eat the skin anyway.

    1. Or you could, you know, steam your potatoes in a pressure cooker. Toss in a few garlic cloves and you can make mashed potatoes in 10 minutes.

  5. i’d like to make a complaint i tried the turbo parking out but i killed a pedestrian and now im going to go to jail :(

  6. In most nail salons in the ‘drying’ area, there is a spray bottle of nail polish hardener available to customers that leaves a oily sheen. Same thing?

    I’ve been watching kids speed tie their shoes for years. Thought this was old news, like ‘new’ math.

    I saw a monkey peel a banana like that. It was the first time I realized monkeys don’t peel bananas like humans, from the stem down.

    Take my t-shirt off like that every night, but manage to get it in the laundry basket. Party?

    Just once, I want to turbo park on a public street. But then, no…once wouldn’t be enough.

    1. It was the first time I realized monkeys don’t peel bananas like humans, from the stem down.

      Actually, most humans — outside of the U.S. — don’t peel a banana from the stem UP (look at a picture of a banana plant) but from what is actually the “top” of the individual banana, just like monkeys do.

  7. Ketchup is thixotropic, ie, its viscosity decreases with shear. Make sure lid is on tight, and shake, then pour. The 30 dgrees helps the air enter.

    Pinch the end of the banana opposite the stem. Some of the banana gets mushed, but its faster. Their technique only works if you’re making a smoothie.

    By the time you get together the ice bath and the boiling water, you could have easily used a potato peeler to do the same. Forget potatoes. Use a rice cooker to make rice–less work for you.

    The ice bath shocking technique is used with other vegetables to prevent over cooking. I simply steam the veggies last before serving.

    Here’s a supreme time-saving technique. It you have problems with your Sprint phone software, don’t call their tech support, check Google first.

  8. SamSam: Even as I was typing that I was aware of the logical problem, and wondered if anyone had done the research..which had been done:
    “Effect of piece shape and size on leaching of vitamin C during water blanching of potato” – Guillermo Hougha, Stella M. Alzamorab and Jorge Chirifeb
    Note “mathematical modeling” and, no, I didn’t purchase/read the paper from the site where I found it.

    It looks like boiling with the skin on would be the best way to retain the Vit-C.
    [I didn’t find out what difference the skin would have made to the Vit-C content.]
    and in any case, it’s a moot point, as three quarters of the Vit-C is lost after 30 weeks’ storage.

    Patrick Austin: I find that the boiling action loosens the remaining dirt off the potato.

  9. In the last tip – cooling some cans in icy water – what was the reasoning behind adding lots of salt?

    Saline water has a lower freezing point, but the water would not freeze anyway, if you perform your trick in a room with room temperature cans. Is saline solution a better thermal conductor?
    Me puzzled.

    1. My understanding is that since the ice has a lower freezing point, it melts faster dropping the overall temperature of the water. If left long enough, the bowl would reach room temperature the same as any other.

    2. Salt melts ice. Phase change from solid to liquid requires energy, sucks energy out of water/soda can system in the form of heat, which cools soda can.

  10. Like wise their “fast sorbet method” commonly known as freezer bag ice cream is complete BS. Its not fast. In fact it takes forever (plenty fun for the kids and no ice cream machine necessary). But pure juice wont freeze up into a smooth sorbet anyway, you need to add sugar usually alcohol to keep the crystal structure in check.

    And cans in salted ice water don’t chill in 2 minutes, more like 5-7. Stirring/spinning speeds things up but not to 2 minutes.

  11. I’m just intrigued that they’re able to cook a potato in 112°F water. I guess that saves some time waiting for the water to come to a full boil.

  12. @Cory How do you know this is one of “those” viral videos? And which telco do you mean? Why would they want to do this?

    I’m not disagreeing, I just don’t understand.

      1. Oh wow really? I didn’t even notice that logo at the end the first time around. So this is supposed to be a serious ad?

        Thanks for pointing it out though.

        1. Yeah, they’re part of a pre-launch Sprint campaign from 2007.

          In addition to these videos the site also included a random fact generator with such gems like: “The average person will spend 2 weeks a year sitting in traffic.” or “…300 hours in meetings.” Haunting stuff.

  13. Not sure why these are supposed to save time. Things like the shoes show you the final step in tying a shoe- the t- shirt folding looks to be exactly as fast as the method used by anyone who’s worked in a clothing store for more than a couple days, and I’ve never wondered how I can shave fractions of a second off my ketchup- pouring time. And of course, what’s better for chilling your drinks, letting them sit why you do something entertasining for a few minutes, to standing there stirring them the whole time?

  14. Non-folders unite!

    Even easier way of dealing with ketchup: a squeeze bottle. I’ve noticed even restaurants have them instead of those damn glass bottles.

    I also recently tried turbo parking, but realized too late that my car’s handbrake doesn’t exist. I’m not sure how to do this with a foot-style parking brake. Three nuns and a coke dealer are now dead.

    Mythbusters found the only truly quick way to cool your beverage cans. A fire extinguisher. I recall they tried salted ice water, but it was a lot longer than 2 minutes.

  15. My time-saving techniques mostly consist of skipping video posts from my feeds. I just saved five minutes minus the authorship time of this post!

  16. Got the hang of the shirt-folding trick, but found that the neat stack of shirts fell apart easily when I put my folded laundry away.

  17. Tried that egg-peeling technique at home once… I guess it’s fine if using battery-hen eggs as the shells are thinner. Farm-fresh eggs seem to have a thicker shell which won’t crack and let the egg out unless you peel it almost half-way. I tried it with just the small openings and found out it’s actually possible to sprain a cheek muscle!

  18. The first part of the shirt folding segment has some really obvious jump cuts where it goes into reverse motion – it’s possible to do this trick, but in this version, the end result is too precisely folded to be real.

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