Time Management for System Administrators

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Time is a precious commodity, especially if you're a system administrator. No other job pulls people in so many directions at once. Users interrupt you constantly with requests, preventing you from getting anything done. Your managers want you to get long-term projects done but flood you with requests for quick-fixes that prevent you from ever getting to those long-term projects. But the pressure is on you to produce and it only increases with time. What do you do?

The answer is...

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Time Management for System Administrators

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Time is a precious commodity, especially if you're a system administrator. No other job pulls people in so many directions at once. Users interrupt you constantly with requests, preventing you from getting anything done. Your managers want you to get long-term projects done but flood you with requests for quick-fixes that prevent you from ever getting to those long-term projects. But the pressure is on you to produce and it only increases with time. What do you do?

The answer is time management. And not just any time management theory—you want Time Management for System Administrators, to be exact. With keen insights into the challenges you face as a sys admin, bestselling author Thomas Limoncelli has put together a collection of tips and techniques that will help you cultivate the time management skills you need to flourish as a system administrator.

Time Management for System Administrators understands that an Sys Admin often has competing goals: the concurrent responsibilities of working on large projects and taking care of a user's needs. That's why it focuses on strategies that help you work through daily tasks, yet still allow you to handle critical situations that inevitably arise.

Among other skills, you'll learn how to:

  • Manage interruptions
  • Eliminate timewasters
  • Keep an effective calendar
  • Develop routines for things that occur regularly
  • Use your brain only for what you're currently working on
  • Prioritize based on customer expectations
  • Document and automate processes for faster execution

What's more, the book doesn't confine itself to just the work environment, either. It also offers tips on how to apply these time management tools to your social life. It's the first step to a more productive, happier you.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
There’s never enough time -- especially if you’re a sysadmin or netadmin. But there’s hope. Thomas A. Limoncelli will show you how to put your obsessive tinkering and optimization skills to work on yourself. By the time you’re done, you’ll have consistently freed enough time to, well, get a life.

Limoncelli coauthored the classic sysadmin guide The Practice of System and Network Administration. He thoroughly understands the unique time management challenges admins face: the endless interruptions, infinite to-do lists. Above all, he knows the admin mind-set. (What other time management guide would tell you to behave "like a compiled language instead of an interpreted language: precompile a decision, and use it over and over"?)

He starts with core principles. For instance: Conserve your brainpower for what’s important right now, and use external storage (e.g., your organizer) for everything else. Develop processes, stick with them, and apply them to your whole life, not just work.

You’ll find a bucketload of admin-specific techniques for minimizing distractions and interruptions. Limoncelli offers a series of great routines and "automatic checks" that’ll help you avoid all manner of time-wasting trouble. (Always back up config files before you edit them. Fill your gas tank on Sundays. Perform daily tasks in the morning, so they won’t bother you all day.)

The heart of Limoncelli’s system is called the "cycle." It combines a to-do list, today’s schedule, a calendar, and your personal list of long-term life goals. Whether you use paper, a PDA, or something else, Limoncelli shows you how to make the most of it. You’ll find guidance on setting priorities, managing stress, managing email, eliminating time wasters, and -- geek that you are -- automating your work as much as humanly possible. Bill Camarda, from the March 2006 Read Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596007836
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/10/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 516,373
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Limoncelli is a world-famous author and speaker on many topics including system administration, networking, and security. A system administrator since 1988, he now speaks at conferences around the world on topics ranging from firewall security to time management. He has worked for Cibernet, Dean For America, Lumeta, Bell Labs / Lucent, AT&T and Mentor Graphics. Along with Christine Hogan he is co-author of the book "The Practice of System and Network Administration" from Addison-Wesley. He holds a B.A. in C.S. from Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, USA. He publishes a blog on www.EverythingSysadmin.com

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Table of Contents

About the Author;
How to Read This Book;
About This Book;
Assumptions This Book Makes;
Conventions Used in This Book;
Using Code Examples;
We'd Like to Hear from You;
Safari® Enabled;
Chapter 1: Time Management Principles;
1.1 What's So Difficult About Time Management?;
1.2 The Principles of Time Management for SAs;
1.3 It Won't Be Easy;
1.4 Summary;
Chapter 2: Focus Versus Interruptions;
2.1 The Focused Brain;
2.2 An Environment to Encourage Focus;
2.3 Interruptions;
2.4 Directing Interruptions Away from You;
2.5 You Can Say "Go Away" Without Being a Jerk;
2.6 Summary;
Chapter 3: Routines;
3.1 Sample Routines;
3.2 How to Develop Your Own Routines;
3.3 Deleting Old Routines;
3.4 Summary;
Chapter 4: The Cycle System;
4.1 Don't Trust Your Brain;
4.2 Why Other Systems Fail;
4.3 Systems That Succeed;
4.4 The Cycle;
4.5 Summary;
Chapter 5: The Cycle System: To Do Lists and Schedules;
5.1 A Sample Day;
5.2 Other Tips;
5.3 Setting Up a PAA for Use with The Cycle;
5.4 Setting Up a PDA for Use with The Cycle;
5.5 Summary;
Chapter 6: The Cycle System: Calendar Management;
6.1 How to Use Your Calendar;
6.2 One Calendar for Business and Social Life;
6.3 Repeating Tasks;
6.4 Know Your Personal Rhythms;
6.5 Know Your Company's Rhythms;
6.6 Summary;
Chapter 7: The Cycle System: Life Goals;
7.1 The Secret Trick;
7.2 Setting Goals;
7.3 Planning Your Next Steps;
7.4 Schedule the Steps;
7.5 Revisit Your Goals Regularly;
7.6 Summary;
Chapter 8: Prioritization;
8.1 Prioritizing Your To Do Lists;
8.2 Project Priorities;
8.3 Requests from Your Boss;
8.4 Summary;
Chapter 9: Stress Management;
9.1 Overload and Conflicting Directions;
9.2 Vacation Time;
9.3 Yoga, Meditation, and Massage;
9.4 Summary;
Chapter 10: Email Management;
10.1 Managing Your Email;
10.2 Jump Starting the Process;
10.3 Summary;
Chapter 11: Eliminating Time Wasters;
11.1 What Is a Time Waster?;
11.2 Avoiding the Tempting Time Wasters;
11.3 Common Time Wasters;
11.4 Wasteful Meetings;
11.5 Strategic Versus Tactical;
11.6 Summary;
Chapter 12: Documentation;
12.1 Document What Matters to You;
12.2 Wiki Technology;
12.3 Summary;
Chapter 13: Automation;
13.1 What to Automate?;
13.2 How to Automate;
13.3 Simple Things Done Often;
13.4 Hard Things Done Once;
13.5 Letting Others Do Privileged Operations;
13.6 Summary;
What to Do with All Your "New" Free Time?;

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2006

    Read this book, get your life back.

    I was tired of working 60 hrs/wk and NOT getting caught up. I manage 14 locations with around 500 users. I was 2 years behind on some projects. This book was a tremendous help.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2006


    Are you an IT worker? If you are, then this book is for you! Author Thomas Limoncelli, has done an outstanding job of writing a practical book for IT people who are early in their career, but also for industry veterans who will find these time management techniques to be equally useful. Limoncelli, begins by introducing the principles that will be used throughout the rest of the book. Then, the author shows you how to deal with an interrupting customer. He continues by showing you how to turn chaos into routine. Next, the author introduces you to his 'Cycle System,' which is a way to manage your to do list. Then, the author focuses upon the actual day-to-day work of putting The Cycle System into practice, creating your schedule and to do list. Then, he extends The Cycle System to include his calendar. He also shows you how to identify long-term goal, both personal and professional, and how to make sure you achieve them. Next, the author discusses a few different ways to prioritize so that The Cycle System works even better. Then, he shows you how he learned to manage stress. He continues by showing you a few realistic tips for getting control over the flood of email you receive. Next, the author discusses how to eliminate time wasters. Then, he explores ways to document without pain. Finally, the author explains a few methods to automate a lot with little effort. This is an excellent technique book. More importantly, this book is about you and how to improve your life through better time management.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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