The Essential Tools for Scientists (ETS) tumblelog, and the meeting at NYU upon which it’s based, considers the optimization of work practices for scientists. We identify tools and techniques which have improved our scientific lives, and provide information that explains the long term benefits and cuts the overhead of adoption. We hope to address a common situation in which optimization of life-as-scientist is driven by considerations with short time horizons, such as those that arise just before impending deadlines. This focus on the near-term often leads to solutions with the smallest overhead, rather than with the greatest long-term benefit. By zooming out, and by discussing these issues with each other, we hope to solve this and to be better in terms of the three E’s: efficiency, error-reduction and efficacy. We believe that the earlier we switch to working practices that embody the three E’s, the easier the transition and the more time we’ll save in the long run. You might say that we’re responding to a belief that the Tortoise and the Hare fable applies to our lives as scientists.