Time Management for System Administrators

Time Management for System Administrators

Thomas A. Limoncelli

Language: English

Pages: 228

ISBN: 0596007833

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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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to remember it. Do it. If the request is truly urgent, such as a service outage, drop what you are working on and do the request. I admit that I actually pause to think, "Delegate, record, or do." It helps me focus on what I'm going to do with this person who is, alas, breaking my focus. The following sections provide more detail about this process. Delegate it If you have set up a mutual interruption shield as discussed in the opening of Chapter 1, you can refer the person to

request tracking system] that says, 'Glenn. I need x-y-z. Ask Tom for details.'" I know that I have to put the responsibility of remembering the request on my organizer or back on the person making the request. Anything but my brain. I don't trust my brain to remember stuff. Paper, on the other hand, I trust. Once something is written down, it's there. If I have a list of 10 to do items on a piece of paper I don't have to worry that one might vanish. Disappearing ink is something that only

Book Makes This book makes no assumptions about the expertise and/or technical savvy of the reader. However, people earlier in their system administration career may find it more useful. The more stressed out you are about your job, the more valuable this book will be. Chapter 13 contains actual code samples, so some prior knowledge is required to understand and apply these examples, but they're nothing the typical administrator doesn't already know. Conventions Used in This Book

benefit—it helps determine where your coverage and/or documentation is lacking. Good system administrators assume that they may be hit by a truck tomorrow and the company should be able to continue without them. Taking a long vacation is one way to test that theory without suffering bodily harm. Here's my advice about taking a vacation: Two weeks before you leave, figure out what coverage is needed and spend time training the person who is covering for you. The week before you leave, make

access to what. It is their job to manage risk and your job to help them understand the issues. Get approval before you deploy the system. As you move through your career, you will find yourself automating more and more tasks. It is a good idea to learn a programming language suited for system administration functions, such as Perl, Python, Ruby, or Shell, as well as operating-specific techniques like those featured in the O'Reilly Cookbook series mentioned previously in this book.

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