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Time Management

Well, you know what?  I’m getting better.  Better than I was.  But there’s so much farther I can go.  It’s mind-blowing.

I am starting to adapt stuff from Tom Limoncelli’s awesome work, “Time Management for SysAdmins.”  He assures us that it does take some time to get new habits going, but what I have so far is gratifying.

In the life goals, which I haven’t touched yet, he observed that if nothing else, writing down a goal makes it more likely that you’ll achieve it.  Why?  Because when you’re making decisions about what opportunities to pursue . . . you’ll have some criteria, right?

And, I haven’t gotten too nitty-gritty on the time-management, but one big thing is the idea of writing out the tasks you want to accomplish today.  Just today.  And push stuff you don’t have time for to tomorrow, or talk to the boss or people involved if you have too many things that can not wait for tomorrow . . .

. . . and then there’s the whole “handling emergencies” thing, which SysAdmins do all the time, which messes up your concentration.  This post is an example of that.  I just solved some mail relay permission badness, and resolved a few other things.  There goes my relaxed morning.

But, just the small lesson that I’m digging now, that I have tried before myself, but never with the authority of a book telling me that this is the way to go–and why, is the “task list for today” thing, where you sit down in the morning, figure out what things you’re going to work on today, then get cracking at making them done.  One by one by one, they get crossed off the list.  The day becomes a game: can I achieve the instant gratification of successfully completing all of today’s tasks?  Only a few more to go.

That’s why video games are fun: they have a short “feedback loop” between doing something challenging and getting your “reward” (like going to the next level.)  I’m doing a little pac-man-lab-rat-sysadmin-munching-power-pellets-in-a-cube thing.  Take one down, cross it off the list go home at the end of the day with your reward of knowing you got stuff done . . .

Too bad I haven’t scheduled some time to drop some mad science on the blog today.  Time waster.  I call it a “break”.


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