Sunday, January 14, 2007

Time Management for System Administrators

book cover, Time Management for System Administrators

A few days ago, I mentioned this book by Thomas A Limoncelli. I just finished it, and it was well worth the read. As I suspected, although it will be most helpful for the intended audience of system administrators, there are plenty of ideas that are useful to some of us working in other fields, too. (But if you don't have any kind of technical background, this is not the book for you.)

Now, I always think it's a good sign when an author builds on other authors I think highly of. In Tom's book, I heard lots of David Allen echoes (write everything down - don't trust your brain) - and Tom references David's Getting Things Done. He also references my other new favorite, How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, when talking about goal setting. And there's a reference to PeopleWare, which was always one of my favorites - so I appreciated Tom's emphasis on not working lots of overtime on a regular basis.

The main idea I walked away with (as someone who is not a system administrator) was Tom's 10-minute first-thing-in-the-morning daily planning, when you create today's schedule and to-do list - a concept I think could integrate with David Allen's GTD approach quite nicely. The idea of putting x hours for request-system tickets and y hours for interruptions on that daily plan made a lot of sense, too - for people in other fields, there may be different "time holders" that need to be on the plan.

And I liked the idea of using a wiki for documentation - that's something I'll certainly be suggesting to the appropriate audiences. (Wikis really came into their own after I left the IT environment, so I'd never really thought about all the ways they could be used.)

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