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The Best Time-Saving Ideas

10 Modern Time-Savers That Really Aren’t

Certainly some inventions streamline daily life. But many have a funny way of stealing minutes, even hours, from your day—like these 10 culprits.

By John Freeman
Real Simple January 2007Ellen Silverman

 4. The digital camera: That clunky, old 35-millimeter actually saved you time. Each roll of film contained no more than 36 photos, which meant that when you ran out, you put the camera down and enjoyed yourself. You were living, not simply photographing living. Sure, it’s great you can now take a picture and e-mail it to a friend. But don’t you get overwhelmed by having to sort (and remove red eyes from) 2,132 photos after every trip? Maybe dropping film off at the drugstore wasn’t such a bad gig after all.

5. The coffeemaker: You can buy one that goes off at 6:32 every morning and brews your coffee for you, but you still have to clean, prep, and load the machine first, which can take five minutes if you do it right. Add that up and it’s roughly one day per year spent making coffee. And there’s the buying of filters. And replacing the machine eventually with a newer model. It’s all so exhausting, no wonder we need the caffeine.

6. The electric shaver: Eighty years after Jacob Schick introduced his namesake device, mankind is still in want of a thorough (and efficient) shave. Here’s what your guy routinely endures: After using an electric model, he has to go back over his chin with a regular razor to catch the strays. Then he has to clean both gadgets. Then he has to wipe the little hairs off the bathroom sink. And as you know too well, he never gets every last one.

7. Online grocery shopping: No one wants to spend a Saturday navigating the aisles of a supermarket, but online grocery shopping can be a deceptively inefficient alternative. Yes, you can have toilet paper, crackers, and OJ delivered, but good luck finding garden-fresh produce with the click of a mouse. And breaking down all the cardboard boxes that the food comes in can kill 20 minutes, easy. Instead, use online grocery shopping as a supplement to the real thing, which you’ll have to do anyway.

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