How My Keys Saved 12 Hours

Our most valuable asset as humans is time.

I started looking for ways to optimize for saving as much time as possible. (Minimal wallets, working only during my most alert times, task management software etc.)

For as long as I can remember I’d been fumbling around with my keys while trying to get into my apartment, until last year.

When I moved into a 4-bedroom apartment last year in the Richmond District of San Francisco, I struggled with this problem. So I set out to solve it, permanently.

The primary issue surfaces when you get keys copied. All keys then look identical.

Having all identical keys leads to using trial and error to unlock multiple doors. (Outside door, front door, bedroom door)


These were roughly the steps for me to get into each of my 3 doors:

Step 1: Take keys out of pocket. Depending on amount of junk in your pocket -

5–10 seconds

Step 2: Try the first key to open door.

5–10 seconds

Step 3: If wrong, go through the other identical keys to test the second key.

10–20 seconds

Step 4: If the odds aren’t in your favor that day, attempt two fails.

5–10 seconds

Step 3: Attempt three will open the door. (Because it’s the 3rd key)

5–10 seconds

Repeat for all doors

There are tons of variables that would change these projected times such as; number of doors to the apartment, groceries, alcohol, people screaming etc.

Given it took me between 10–30 seconds per door totaling 1–1.5 minutes to get all the way into my apartment, I had to find a faster way.

I ventured over to my neighborhood Ace Hardware to find some unique identifiers for each of my keys.

I ended up purchasing 4 different colored key cases (Red, Blue, Yellow, Black) for roughly 65 cents each, totaling $2.60.

Each color corresponds with a different door to both my apartment and my girlfriend’s apartment.

This simple solution cut step 2 times in half and eliminated steps 3, 4, and 5.


Over the course of 365 days I saved 20 seconds opening 3 doors, twice a day.

That is 43,800 seconds saved

Which is 730 minutes saved

Which is a whopping 12 hours saved

I paid $2.60 to save 12 hours over the course of the year. (.21 cents an hour)

Was simply color-coding my keys worth saving half a day of time?


via SteveIQ