I saw a funny XKCD post referencing the phrase “as neglected as the nine button on the microwave.” I was immediately confused because I use the “9″ button almost every day, and I gradually realized that I needed to share my microwave-programming secret with the world. Long ago, I decided on a critical microwave strategy: Use as few buttons as possible.
In my experience, 99 seconds is an excellent length for most microwave ovens to heat a single-serving container of leftovers to a piping-hot temperature. Yes, 99 seconds is the same as one minute and 39 seconds, but 99 seconds involves just one numerical button (the “9,” if you follow) instead of three.
Does this modest lifehack actually save you time? It does if you’re as crazy as me! Whenever I use the microwave to heat food, I use a number that minimizes the number of buttons I need to touch. At first, it’s a silly exercise. Over the long term, it is undoubtedly the most time-efficient way to heat food in a microwave oven. Why waste an extra second splitting hairs to heat your food for 1:00 when 0:55 or 0:66 is practically the same interval?
I don’t expect people to adopt my system universally (EVEN THOUGH THEY SHOULD). Under my system, though, the “9″ button is anything but neglected. My most common cooking time is 99 seconds.