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Top 5
www.EverythingSysAdmin.com
Tips
Tom’s
Stress
2
Fire-Fighting
Mode
People
Interrupt Us
Fall Behind on
Projects
Back Log
Increases
Better would be…
Schedule: I control my daily schedule.
Priorities: I choose what I work on next.
Hours: I limit myself to...
#1 Create a Mutual Interruption Shield!
#2 Turn Chaos Into Routines!
#3 Record All Requests!
#4 Keep 365 Todo-Lists Each Y...
Create a
Mutual
Interruption
Shield 1
6
Mutual Interruption Shield
Interruptions are the natural enemy of progress
7
Mutual Interruption Shield
Take turns “fielding interruptions” with a co-
worker to permit uninterrupted project time
Yo...
Turn
Chaos Into
Routines 2
Get into that old, boring
routine!
Meeting with my boss
Opportunities
Repeated events that aren’t scheduled
When procrastinating takes longer than the task
itself
Things you forg...
Record All
Requests
3
Reserve brain for task at hand
Brain not good for long-term storage
!
Immediate & personal things: SmartPhone
Customer req...
!
Maintain todo-list in your SmartPhone App
Todo-Cloud.com, RememberTheMilk, Things, OmniFocus
Always:
Every day
When stop...
Keep 365
Todo-Lists
Each Year
4
Some todo-list systems
work better than others
Memorize Everything!
-- vs --!
Zillions of Scattered Notes!
-- vs --!
The Never-Ending List of
Dooooooom
17
18
Why do “todo lists” fail?
✤ We rely on “known-faulty” hardware!
✤ (Our brain forgets)!
✤ We don’t keep them all in one ...
“The Cycle”
✤ 365 “todo lists” per year!
✤ Doesn’t rely on our brain!
✤ One place to keep everything!
✤ Prevents “list of ...
Monday, April 14:
✤ Task A
✤ Task B
✤ Task C
✤ Task D
✤ Task E
20
---------
---------
---------
DONE
DONE
DONE
Move to tomorrow
Monday, April 14:
✤ Task A
✤ Task B
✤ Task C
Tuesday, April 15:
✤ Task D
✤ Task E
21
---------
---------
...
New item? Add to the list!
Monday, April 14:
✤ Task A
✤ Task B
✤ Task C
Tuesday, April 15:
✤ Task D
✤ Task E
22
---------
...
...or tomorrow’s list!
Monday, April 14:
✤ Task A
✤ Task B
✤ Task C
Tuesday, April 15:
✤ Task D
✤ Task E
23
---------
----...
...or tomorrow’s list!
Monday, April 14:
✤ Task A
✤ Task B
✤ Task C
Tuesday, April 15:
✤ Task D
✤ Task E
24
---------
----...
The 4pm check
✤ Pause to consider the remaining items!
✤ Items due today:!
✤ Option 1: Call requester, negotiate extension...
Control your time!
1. Schedule your work
2. Prioritize what you do
3. Control the hours you work
!
26
Leave work with a smile
Document
Procedures
You Hate
5
Check-list procedures:
“New User Process”
“Account Termination”
“Setup New Workstation”
Error-prone, infrequent procedures...
The Wiki becomes:
A list of things you can delegate to Junior SAs
The basis of a job description for next new-hire
Tasks/r...
Top 5 Time
Management Tips
#6 www.EverythingSysAdmin.com!
www.TomOnTime.com
#1 Create a Mutual Interruption Shield!
#2 Tur...
Everything we do:
Simple things, done once
Hard things, done once
!
Simple things, done often
Hard things, done often
32
Rare
Often
Easy Hard
Manual Document
Automate Acquire
HireHire
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Tom Limoncelli's Top 5 Time Management Tips for SysAdmins/DevOps/Devs.

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A presentation from LOPSA-East '14. My top time management tips for system administrations, devops and developers.

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Tom Limoncelli's Top 5 Time Management Tips for SysAdmins/DevOps/Devs.

  1. 1. Top 5 www.EverythingSysAdmin.com Tips Tom’s
  2. 2. Stress 2 Fire-Fighting Mode People Interrupt Us Fall Behind on Projects Back Log Increases
  3. 3. Better would be… Schedule: I control my daily schedule. Priorities: I choose what I work on next. Hours: I limit myself to 40-hour weeks. 3
  4. 4. #1 Create a Mutual Interruption Shield! #2 Turn Chaos Into Routines! #3 Record All Requests! #4 Keep 365 Todo-Lists Each Year! #5 Document Processes You Hate Top 5
  5. 5. Create a Mutual Interruption Shield 1
  6. 6. 6 Mutual Interruption Shield Interruptions are the natural enemy of progress
  7. 7. 7 Mutual Interruption Shield Take turns “fielding interruptions” with a co- worker to permit uninterrupted project time You field interrupts in the AM, they do it for you in the PM.
  8. 8. Turn Chaos Into Routines 2
  9. 9. Get into that old, boring routine!
  10. 10. Meeting with my boss
  11. 11. Opportunities Repeated events that aren’t scheduled When procrastinating takes longer than the task itself Things you forget often Maintenance tasks: IT is like gardening 11
  12. 12. Record All Requests 3
  13. 13. Reserve brain for task at hand Brain not good for long-term storage ! Immediate & personal things: SmartPhone Customer requests: Helpdesk automation Software projects: Bug tracking systems ! www.bestpractical.com's RequestTracker (RT) Don’t rely on your brain 13
  14. 14. ! Maintain todo-list in your SmartPhone App Todo-Cloud.com, RememberTheMilk, Things, OmniFocus Always: Every day When stopped in the hallway When being interrupted Avoid the “Oh, I’ll remember that!” Trap 14
  15. 15. Keep 365 Todo-Lists Each Year 4
  16. 16. Some todo-list systems work better than others
  17. 17. Memorize Everything! -- vs --! Zillions of Scattered Notes! -- vs --! The Never-Ending List of Dooooooom 17
  18. 18. 18 Why do “todo lists” fail? ✤ We rely on “known-faulty” hardware! ✤ (Our brain forgets)! ✤ We don’t keep them all in one place! ✤ Many scattered pieces of paper! ✤ We keep many lists! ✤ Half are out of date! ✤ We keep one master list! ✤ Too big, too scary! ✤ The Never-Ending Todo List Of Dooooooom!
  19. 19. “The Cycle” ✤ 365 “todo lists” per year! ✤ Doesn’t rely on our brain! ✤ One place to keep everything! ✤ Prevents “list of dooooom”-like problems! ✤ Keep it as simple as possible!! ✤ Even a TextEdit user can do it! 19
  20. 20. Monday, April 14: ✤ Task A ✤ Task B ✤ Task C ✤ Task D ✤ Task E 20 --------- --------- --------- DONE DONE DONE
  21. 21. Move to tomorrow Monday, April 14: ✤ Task A ✤ Task B ✤ Task C Tuesday, April 15: ✤ Task D ✤ Task E 21 --------- --------- --------- DONE DONE DONE
  22. 22. New item? Add to the list! Monday, April 14: ✤ Task A ✤ Task B ✤ Task C Tuesday, April 15: ✤ Task D ✤ Task E 22 --------- --------- --------- DONE DONE DONE ✤ Task F
  23. 23. ...or tomorrow’s list! Monday, April 14: ✤ Task A ✤ Task B ✤ Task C Tuesday, April 15: ✤ Task D ✤ Task E 23 --------- --------- --------- DONE DONE DONE Wednesday, April 16: ✤ Task F
  24. 24. ...or tomorrow’s list! Monday, April 14: ✤ Task A ✤ Task B ✤ Task C Tuesday, April 15: ✤ Task D ✤ Task E 24 --------- --------- --------- DONE DONE DONE Thursday, April 17: ✤ Task F
  25. 25. The 4pm check ✤ Pause to consider the remaining items! ✤ Items due today:! ✤ Option 1: Call requester, negotiate extension! ✤ Option 2: Pawn off task to co-worker! ✤ Option 3: Work late! ✤ Other items... move to tomorrow! 25
  26. 26. Control your time! 1. Schedule your work 2. Prioritize what you do 3. Control the hours you work ! 26
  27. 27. Leave work with a smile
  28. 28. Document Procedures You Hate 5
  29. 29. Check-list procedures: “New User Process” “Account Termination” “Setup New Workstation” Error-prone, infrequent procedures “How to replace a bad hard disk on a RAID system” Procedures you dislike doing Result: Fewer errors. Do tasks “on automatic” What’s on my wiki? 29
  30. 30. The Wiki becomes: A list of things you can delegate to Junior SAs The basis of a job description for next new-hire Tasks/responsibilities Required skill-set. If your boss ever hints at having permission to hire a new person, you have a pre-written list of what they would do. How does this save time? 30
  31. 31. Top 5 Time Management Tips #6 www.EverythingSysAdmin.com! www.TomOnTime.com #1 Create a Mutual Interruption Shield! #2 Turn Chaos Into Routines! #3 Record All Requests! #4 Keep 365 Todo-Lists Each Year! #5 Document Processes You Hate
  32. 32. Everything we do: Simple things, done once Hard things, done once ! Simple things, done often Hard things, done often 32
  33. 33. Rare Often Easy Hard Manual Document Automate Acquire HireHire

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