Scott Hanselman

It's not what you read, it's what you ignore - Video of Scott Hanselman's Personal Productivity Tips

April 9, '12 Comments [55] Posted in Productivity | Speaking
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I've done a number of talks on Productivity in the past. Lots of folks ask me what my tips are for being productive. I've taken all those tips as well as tips from Kathy Sierra, Stephen Covey, David Allen, The Pomodoro Technique and many more and aggregated them into a system that works well for me. I talk about how to effectively handle large amounts email, sorting your personal data stream, how to conserve your keystrokes, the "one email rule" that you need to be effective

I'm giving this talk in a few places in the coming months like StirTrek in Ohio, DevCon in Russia, and possibly "That Conference" in Wisconsin. If you will be attending one of these events, you might want to wait and see it in person. ;)

There's a few jokes in the beginning of the talk that refer back to some discussion about Gamification and a funny back and forth that Kathy Sierra and I had. If they don't make sense, that's the context.

I hope you enjoy it. It's about 42 minutes long. There's lots of other great talks from WebStock '12 up at their event site. Do check them out. I particularly like Lauren Beuke's talk on Kinking Reality, Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) and his talk on getting people to read what you write, Adam Lisagor (the world's quietest pitchman) and Rob Malda on the Rise and Fall of Slashdot.

Of course, feel free to share this post with your friends. I hope it helps them.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Monday, April 09, 2012 9:33:33 PM UTC
Monday, April 09, 2012 9:43:55 PM UTC
Excellent talk. Thanks for giving it and posting it.
Monday, April 09, 2012 10:30:32 PM UTC
Thanks man, I appreciate all that you share!
Monday, April 09, 2012 11:10:44 PM UTC
Thanks for the info...anything to be able to devote more keystrokes to coding.
Monday, April 09, 2012 11:33:47 PM UTC
"It's about 42 minutes long."

And the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything...
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 1:10:46 AM UTC
Excellent, motivating and inspiring. Thank you very much for sharing these resources. Greetings from Argentina.
Francisco Ruiz
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:05:09 AM UTC
Thanks for sharing. I found a few things to work on from your presentation.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:04:12 AM UTC
Scott, great talk! Inspiring and seriously helpful!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:16:18 AM UTC
Thanks Scott, very helpful and very timely for me.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 8:11:51 AM UTC
I'd also recommend taking a look at ActionOutline for notes and planning.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:26:28 PM UTC
Very Inspiring Video gonna Love the way you Speak.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:15:08 PM UTC
Scott, how are you?
When did you realize personally about the 'myth' of keeping up?
How do you handle your professional capacitation?
Lately, I'm realizing of it; and you are helping me a lot.
I'm not efficient less, neither effective less at work; but I think that I could use my 'out of office' time more efficiently and effectively.
I no know everything but I know where to find it (I like to read books, blogs, view videos, conferences, learn with courses like Pluralsight's, etc.). There is plenty of content spread in the Internet, I need to know what to ignore. Anyway, I am willing to learn and grow professionally every day; that's the important thing.
Thank you very much for sharing this resources and your experience.
Best regards.
A friend from Argentina.
Francisco Ruiz
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:29:13 PM UTC
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 8:04:25 PM UTC
How do you handle your professional capacitation training?

Capacitación (ES) = Training (EN)

Francisco Ruiz
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 8:22:13 PM UTC
Guess I'll just bookmark this for watching once you decide if you'll "possibly" present it at That Conference in August.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:15:48 PM UTC
Awesome stuff... thanks for sharing bro..
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:26:32 PM UTC
Thanks for taking the time to post this!
Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:17:51 AM UTC
Thank you very much. The biggest tip for me was Instapaper!
Thursday, April 12, 2012 5:02:10 PM UTC
Great stuff, nice outlook & mail tips!

Maybe you really should do a "How to use MS products to fullest" presentation. ( I learned many W7 tricks/features from your previous talks! )
Friday, April 13, 2012 3:59:24 AM UTC
Very helpful - I took my whole team through this.
Friday, April 13, 2012 6:33:10 AM UTC
After watching your video, now m big fan of yours... simply awesome speech. Would love to know one thing from you - can you pls post about how to give presentation that you had one in this video?

Friday, April 13, 2012 10:42:33 PM UTC

Here's Scott's post all about the speaking video he mentioned during this talk:
Sunday, April 15, 2012 3:34:51 AM UTC
As usual Scott ,You are inspiring .
Great Talk .

Monday, April 16, 2012 3:21:26 PM UTC
Thanks for posting this. This is definitely something that I've been getting better at, but I have a long ways to go.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 3:23:06 PM UTC
Watched this whilst writing code and checking emails. Am I bad?
Friday, April 20, 2012 10:47:35 AM UTC
Nice talk :)
Reminds me of "The 4-Hour Workweek" ( and the 80/20 principle.

Especially training your boss(es) to not interrupting every time they face a little something of nothing is not the easiest part.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:50:21 PM UTC
I've seen your talk a few times, the part about responding to questions through a blog resonates with me. Do you do both internal (to the death star) and public blogging? I'm pretty sure I'd get some push back if I publicly blogged all of my internal development questions. I'd be interested in your take on it.
Friday, April 27, 2012 6:41:37 AM UTC
Just a heads up - the vimeo video doesn't play from iPhone. Had to go to and search for it.

Great talk! :)
Friday, April 27, 2012 7:02:32 AM UTC
Weird. Here's the direct link to the video.
Friday, May 18, 2012 4:20:17 AM UTC
Great presentation, and really, really useful information. Inspiring, as always, Mr. Hanselman.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 11:49:20 PM UTC
I'm unable to view video. Is there issue with vimeo's server. It is "The requested URL /video/39020426 was not found on this server."
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:39:21 PM UTC
I have watched this a couple times now, filled with some good stuff. Have sent it to some friends, good work brother.
Friday, June 01, 2012 4:15:11 AM UTC
Fantastic talk. Would say more but I'm conserving keystrokes.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 4:21:54 AM UTC
...Anyone else hear 'hanselman' and understand 'handsome man'? Happened to me a lot across the video.
Monday, June 25, 2012 6:46:14 AM UTC
All the videos are gone.

Not Found

The requested URL /video/39020426 was not found on this server.
Arun Kumar
Monday, June 25, 2012 7:59:15 AM UTC
I'm looking at it here
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 2:47:45 PM UTC
Finally got around to watching this, some excellent tips in there and great insights, especially the 'rat wired up / pull to refresh'. Just set up / downloaded Instapaper, thinking about setting up the "If That Then That" account for Twitter faves with links to Instapaper :-)

Especially interesting is your comment (and blog post) about the lack of people blogging and tweeting instead, something that I'm guilty of - or is that just psychic weight? ;-)

Ta for sharing, will re-watch again a few times, I think - if only for Darth Vader on a cat.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012 6:50:38 AM UTC
After watching this video, now I finally have an empty Inbox with just 4 filters and only 'old' label.

Thanks !
Wednesday, August 01, 2012 1:27:54 PM UTC
Hi Scott,
Kudos, that speech was very inspiring!

Two questions for you about email management

1. in the presentation you show that you have also an email folder called "Big-Ass Mail": what is that folder for?

2. the folders Inbox and Inbox-CC are showing the number of items into them, not the number of unread items. What happens with the "done" emails then? Do you delete them or archive them in some way?

Thank you in advance.
Matteo (from Italy)
Wednesday, August 01, 2012 8:40:50 PM UTC
1. BigAssMail is for, ahem, BigAssMail. Mail that is over 10 megs so I can delete it and have it not use up all my space.

2. I move done emails to either a folder called Reference where they live forever, or one called Short Term Reference where they stay for 90 days and then are deleted automatically.
Thursday, August 02, 2012 4:14:37 AM UTC
I can definitely empathise with clearing the desk and getting a haircut when the mind gets cluttered. I'd add taking a walk around the park nearby.
Mark Hewitt
Thursday, August 02, 2012 3:02:55 PM UTC
That was a great speech. I have been fighting this very issue lately. With a 5 month old, many house projects, trying to spend time with the family, watch movies/tv shows, play those old games I've been wanting to play for a long time, and reading all those tech books I have plus all the fictional books I have..... It seems like life it in full overload and nothing I do will get me any closer to that goal of stuff = done! Heck, I knock out one house project and my house seems to think its funny for two more things to break and I wish I was making that up.

This speech really helped me reorg my thoughts and some stuff I was already starting to do. I had already dropped many blogs I was reading done to the ones I felt are really necessary -don't worry Scott - yours made the cut :). And I started to do stuff while I was doing other things - like listen to this developer life while working out, etc. But this took it to the next level and I thank you for sharing this.
Thursday, August 23, 2012 10:28:12 AM UTC
Thank you Scott,
that talk was truly inspiring!
Tuesday, September 04, 2012 2:28:28 PM UTC
Awesome video and suggestions. I've often felt that I should be able to get more done during the day but time seemed to fly away. I implemented the email suggestions and stopped refreshing reports throughout the day because they wouldn't actually impact the things I had to get done. These two things helped significantly. Thanks for the video.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 5:42:00 AM UTC
An error occurred when half of the video was played and Now its not playing at all, not even here Do you have any alternate location like youtube for this video?

I was really liking this talk.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 6:07:32 AM UTC
Tarun - Sure, there should be a Download button at the bottom of it on that site. Two choices, SD and HD.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 7:18:52 AM UTC
Ahh...The Download button. See Your talk was so engaging that I did not notice that button. Thanks for the quick response. You don't have to approve this comment.
Tuesday, October 02, 2012 8:01:26 PM UTC
Excelent. Really.
Saturday, October 06, 2012 4:23:05 PM UTC
Thanks so much Scott, brilliant work as always.

I do feel bad for watching this video while procrastinating though, but I am inspired to be more organised, blog and try some of the tools you went through.

Having fun setting up IFTTT, just wish it could incorporate more sites.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 2:22:17 PM UTC
Hi Scott, this is a great talk.

Personally I'm struggling getting things done as one man software entrepreneur.

There is really a lot of digital/information clutter in our lives these days. And instead of helping is taking all our time.

Will definitely do the "Home Work".


Stephan Venter
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 6:36:20 PM UTC
Scott : so how many hours per hours you work, there's your day job at Microsoft and all those other activities you've got Blogging, Coding on Open Source Project etc ...

I'm curious to know how you can fit all those activities when we've got 24 hours or 28 hours for those who have good multi-threading and compressing algorithm embedded into their brain cell ;-)
Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:36:50 PM UTC
Best speech I ever heard in this topic. I found it very helpful. Thank you, Scott.
Pavel Shchegolevatykh
Friday, March 22, 2013 4:25:54 AM UTC
Really Awesome speech! Thanks for sharing Scott.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 3:25:17 AM UTC
Thanks for this talk. It was pretty awesome.

Is there any place with only the slides?

I want to review some points in the future and it's easier looking at the slides.

Would be great if it had.
Monday, June 17, 2013 7:11:20 PM UTC
Excellent talk. Thank you for sharing it.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.