A Stopwatch and My Sunday Night Ritual

As someone who plays with data everyday, I always find myself looking for ways to improve performance. Whether it’s squeezing more work effort into a constrained timeframe, or finding a new use for what was once seen as waste, my brain is always working on process improvements.

Curious to see how efficient I am, I decided to time my new Sunday night ritual. Although preparing my supplements and DMSA for the week ahead is an action-packed activity, I wanted to take a baseline measurement for future comparisons.

Start Time End Time Length
Supplements 9:12 PM 9:26 PM 14 min
DMSA 9:27 PM 9:55 PM 28 min
Total: 42 min


While loading a bunch of pills into a pill planner of 28 compartments sounds easy, it is, in reality, rather intricate. There are 17 different supplements with 31 individual pills that I take every day. Dividing these 31 pills into four-compartments, times seven-days does take some time; 14-minutes to be exact. This does not include grabbing the box of bottles I comb through, but that only adds another minute or so.


I currently take 18 doses of DMSA at 12.5 mg each round. Since I purchase DMSA at the 25 mg strength, I must split the pills in two. While some go about this activity by eyeballing it, I follow a different path, using The Capsule Machine and the American Weigh Scales GEMINI-20 Portable MilliGram Scale. The process is rather simple:

  1. Ready nine empty capsules in The Capsule Machine
  2. Place a single 25 mg DMSA capsule on the scale
  3. Take the total weight of the capsule, subtract 40 mg (weight of the empty capsule) and then divide the remainder in half. This results in exactly half the weight of the content (DMSA plus filler) in the capsule
  4. Open the DMSA capsule and slowly pour the contents of the capsule onto the scale until it reads the same as the result of step 3
  5. Pour the powder from the scale into an empty capsule loaded into The Capsule Machine, making one capsule
  6. Close the half-emptied DMSA capsule, making a second capsule
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 until 18 capsules have been readied

The whole process took 28-minutes. Not too bad, but I do see room for improvement. For example, each time I weigh a DMSA capsule, the results almost always are unique. When the manufacturer produces these capsules, there appears to be an acceptable tolerance. From tonights exercise, I found that the capsules can range in weight anywhere from 142 to 158 mg. Because of this known tolerance, each capsule I weigh requires me to quickly crunch some numbers. Moving forward, I believe I can shave off time if I were to create a matrix of common weights, allowing me to simply glance at a chart rather than reach for the pencil.

While some may see this as a 42-minute exercise, I see it as an opportunity for improvement. Every minutes saved can be spent productively someplace else. One-minute may not seem like a lot, but when you add it up over the course of a couple years, you have just found an additional hour and 42-minutes to spend doing something else.