Time Management for SAs: Getting It All Done and Not Going More Crazy - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Loading...

PPT – Time Management for SAs: Getting It All Done and Not Going More Crazy PowerPoint presentation | free to download - id: a0ac1-Nzc5O



Loading


The Adobe Flash plugin is needed to view this content

Get the plugin now

View by Category
About This Presentation
Title:

Time Management for SAs: Getting It All Done and Not Going More Crazy

Description:

How I mark calendar days. Top line: B days, scheduled vacations (for me and others) ... On that calendar's day, include todo list. Oct-2003 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:77
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 101
Provided by: tomlimo
Learn more at: http://whatexit.org
Category:
Tags: crazy | done | getting | going | management | more | sas | time

less

Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Time Management for SAs: Getting It All Done and Not Going More Crazy


1
Time Management for SAs Getting It All Done and
Not Going (More) Crazy
  • Instructor Tom Limoncelli
  • With Material From
  • The Practice of System and Network
    Administration by Limoncelli Hogan
  • http//www.EverythingSysadmin.com

2
I love systemadministration
3
Why is time-management difficult for SAs?
  • Constant interruptions
  • Project-oriented work requires sustained focus

4
Why dont (?) time-management books work for SAs?
  • Unusual mix of interruptions and projects
  • High number of concurrent short-term projects
  • Technical people dont like someone else telling
    them how to work
  • SAs dont like touchy-feely stuff

5
Whats this class about?
  • Dealing with interruptions
  • Minimizing them
  • Managing them better
  • Focus
  • Keeping on focus
  • Perfect follow-through
  • Never missing a date
  • Retaining your social life

6
OVERVIEW
  • Introductions (5 min)
  • Why is TM difficult for SAs
  • General Principles
  • Dealing with Interruptions
  • Perfect Follow-Through (Task Management)
  • Calendar Management
  • Life Goals
  • Handling Interruptions
  • Task management
  • BREAK
  • Prioritization Based on Perception
  • Paper
  • Manage Email
  • Manage your boss
  • Junk Tasks
  • Documentation
  • Potpourri
  • Packing for a trip
  • Vacation
  • Automating Tasks
  • Scheduling fun things
  • The Movie List
  • Relaxation
  • Keeping a clean desk

7
Who is this guy?
  • Tom Limoncelli
  • SA since 1988, UNIX since 1991
  • Currently Director of Network Operations, Lumeta
    Corp. Previously at Bell Labs.
  • Co-author The Practice of System and Network
    Administration

8
  • There are no smart people, only people that
    have experienced things that I havent.
  • If you want to find a good doctor, ask someone
    that gets sick a lot.

9
General Principles
10
Turn Everything Into A Routine
  • The best systems are routines that become
    habits.
  • You dont have to think about them any more, they
    become natural.

11
Have a system
  • Rule 1
  • Have a system!
  • Rule 2
  • A good system is better than a bad one.
  • Rule 3
  • Any system is better than none (chaos).

12
Therefore if you have no system
  • Steal a system from someone, use it for a week,
    then start to personalize it.

13
Dance analogy
14
What systems does a SA need?
  • Task management (Todo lists)
  • Perfect follow-through
  • (never forget a task)
  • Calendar management (Date Book)
  • Dont miss appointments or social activities
  • Goals (Goals)
  • Get what you want out of life!

15
Dealing with interruptions
  • Keeping focused during project time

16
Effective project time
  • The SA life is divided between putting out
    fires, and building new buildings.

17
Demo 1
  • Dealing with interruptions

18
Principle Saying no/not now
  • When someone makes a request, they expect to be
    heard.

19
Demo 2
  • Saying no with compassion

20
Saying no with compassion
  • When someone makes a request, they want to be
    heard.
  • How to say without sounding rude?
  • Take the customers needs into account
  • Say with action (not words) that the request
    will be completed

21
For each request
  • Record it
  • Delegate it
  • Do it

22
How to pick?
  • When to record it?
  • Im in the middle of another project
  • Not urgent
  • Not a while you wait request
  • When to delegate?
  • Someone else can do it
  • Too urgent to put off
  • When to do it?
  • Emergency -- down system effecting multiple
    people
  • Requests from my boss

23
How to delegate
  • From http//www.mindtools.com/tmdelegt.html
  • Deciding what to delegate
  • Select capable, willing people
  • Delegate complete jobs
  • Explain why the job is done, and what results are
    expected
  • Then let go!
  • Give help and coach when requested
  • Accept only finished work
  • Give credit when a job has been successfully
    completed

24
How to delegate effectively
  • Three things to explain
  • What you expect the end-result to include
  • A specific, measurable result?
  • A checklist?
  • The resources/authority
  • A deadline
  • Let them suggest a date. If its acceptable, say
    Ok, Ill expect this to be done by insert
    date.

25
Tips for recording requests
  • Create a ticket
  • Write in your Palm/Dayplanner
  • Have them create the ticket -- tell them the words

26
Helpdesk Software
  • There is no excuse for not using issue-tracking
    software. NONE
  • RT 3.0 is free and is better than commercial
    products except for extremely large sites
  • If you dont like RT, there are dozens of other
    solutions

27
Helpdesk Software (2)
  • Without software
  • Requests get lost
  • Management cant track progress
  • Customers cant track issues
  • Customers cant refer to a ticket number

28
RT 3.0
  • http//www.bestpractical.com/rt/

29
(No Transcript)
30
(No Transcript)
31
(No Transcript)
32
Dont get sucked into bad software
  • Most commercial software is tuned for collecting
    software bug reports
  • Each report carefully crafted by skilled users
    with painstaking detail a large investment in
    time for each report
  • Helpdesks needs quick entry with spritely replies
  • Highly interactive, back-and-forth
  • Many requests, fast turn-around time

33
Perfect Follow-Though
  • Goal Never forget a user's request

34
The Todo List System
Tom Limoncelli MOVE THIS AND THE NEXT SLIDE
  • How do you remember user requests?

35
Why do todo lists fail?
  • We forget
  • Scattered sheets of paper
  • Many lists, half are out of date

36
How to make todo lists work?
  • A single todo list
  • That is with you all the time
  • That is easy to access
  • Examples
  • A PDA
  • A date/time planner

37
Which is better? PDA or Planner
  • PDA pros
  • Integrates with CMS
  • Easy to make backups
  • Easy to carry
  • PDA cons
  • Not as spontanious
  • Many distractions
  • Inflexible
  • Planner pros
  • Free-form
  • Spontanious
  • Difficult to lose
  • Make your own system
  • Planner cons
  • No backups
  • No sync with CMS
  • Refills every year

38
Getting the most out of a Palm
  • The PalmOS Todo function is very simple.
  • The techniques in this class are more easily done
    with this Palm software
  • DateBook V
  • FrankinCovey for Palm

39
Managing Tasks
40
Sample sheet
  • One sheet (two sides) per day of the year
  • 3 columns

41
(No Transcript)
42
Sample
  • 6 items
  • X -- Done
  • - -- Moved to next day
  • No -- decided not to do it, record why
  • . -- delegated (record to whom)

43
Priorities
  • A -- Must be done today (due date is today)
  • B -- Today, lower priority

44
Exercise Marking Things Done
  • 1 done
  • 1 moved to next day (just didnt get it finished)
  • 1 done
  • 1 moved 2 days (Alice promised it for Monday)
  • 2 done
  • 3 remain

45
Leave work with a smile
  • Clear your todo list at the end of the day by
    marking moving.
  • Leave knowing youve managed all items.

46
Calendar Management
  • Goal Never miss an appointment, meeting, or
    social event

47
Calendar Goals
  • Never miss a meeting or appointment
  • 1 place for all calendar info
  • Include social events

48
How I mark calendar days
  • Top line B days, scheduled vacations (for me
    and others)
  • Middle appointments throughout the day
  • Bottom line night activity (Date with Chris,
    Board Meeting, Laundry)

49
Day 2 Planning your day
  • Review calendar entries
  • Write each in todays schedule
  • Enter repeating events
  • Plan your todo items
  • Mark A and B priorities
  • Write in estimated time for each item
  • Do A priorities fill in remaining time?
  • No -- re-prioritize
  • -- Ask boss for help

50
Tip How do you split your time?
  • A sysadmin was directed to split your time
    evenly between helpdesk and projects. When he
    planned his day, he added a todo item called
    interrupts which was always 50 of his
    remaining time.

51
Repeated Tasks
  • If it has to be done today, do it first.
  • If you have to do it every day, do it first.
  • Anecdote
  • Changing backup tapes.

52
Exercise Follow the planned day
  • End up with ___ (8?) things on next page

53
Life Goals
  • Get what you want out of life!

54
Life goals
  • Goals should be measurable Lose 20 pounds,
    not Lose weight
  • What do you want to accomplish
  • 1 month from now?
  • 1 year from now?
  • 5 years from now?
  • In your lifetime?

55
Exercise Life goals
  • Spend 5 minutes writing down your 1m, 1y, 5y,
    life goals.
  • Write 1-2 per category
  • Nobody will be seeing these, feel free to write
    the secret goal that you may be embarrassed to
    share.

56
Actions to achieve goals
57
Goal-planning is a life-time task
  • 5 minutes isnt enough
  • Week-long workshops, weekend retreats,

58
New Routine First of the month
  • Re-read list of goals (keep copy in dayplanner)
  • Sprinkle action items into your schedule that
    bring you closer to these goals.
  • Easy to develop this routine Do it when you load
    the next month of paper into your dayplanner
  • PDA Schedule a recurring event

59
Yearly -- Review goal list
60
Weekly - Review status -- or is that just too
much?
61
(No Transcript)
62
Prioritize based on customer perception
  • Prioritizing tasks so that users think you're a
    genius

63
What do customers expect?
  • Some requests should be quick
  • Assigning an IP address
  • Reset a password
  • Some requests take a long time
  • Installing a new PC
  • Creating a new service
  • SAs will drop everything for major outages

64
FIFO Prioritization
  • Result
  • All tasks completed
  • G very unhappy

65
Expectation-based Priority
  • Result
  • All tasks completed
  • Much happiness

66
Summary
  • In both cases
  • All tasks completed
  • You did the same amount of work
  • In second case
  • Customers much happier
  • You did the same amount of work, but people were
    happier with your performance

67
A More Realistic Situation
  • Usually one can not plan entire day
  • New requests spread over day
  • We can still use this technique
  • No matter what, permit the interruption to record
    the request
  • Use expectation to decide if request is done
    now or is put on hold.
  • Save state, process interrupt, resume, or
  • Ask person to send email, or send it yourself

68
Be creative
  • Pre-allocate your next 2-3 IP addresses
  • Keep common sysadmin apps running
  • Automate, automate, automate
  • Create self-service versions
  • Shell scripts that check inputs and call sudo
  • CGI scripts that check input and sudo
  • (Note script that sudo calls should be paranoid
    about the input it receives)

69
Two or more sysadmins
  • A two-person team can use this technique to
    organize their work
  • One person handles interrupts in the AM
  • The other handles interrupts in the PM
  • Larger groups can structure their organization
    around this concept
  • Divide day into n even blocks
  • Each SA takes interrupts during their block

70
Organizing a Large IT Group
  • Organize team into Tier 1 (front line) and
    Tier 2 (back line)
  • Tier 1
  • Initial contact for customers
  • Passes long-term or difficult requests to Tier 2
  • Tier 2
  • Handles issues from Tier 1
  • Otherwise is project-focused

71
What about major outages?
  • Major outages an outage that affects 10 or more
    customers
  • Often hardware related
  • Customers want a response that is visible SAs
    standing at a server as it reboots, etc.

72
(No Transcript)
73
Tip Packing for a trip
  • On that calendars day, include todo list

74
Vacation is important
  • Delaying vacation doesnt help your employer.
  • 1 day off to do errands is not a vacation
  • Full week off (9 days) -- no checking email!
  • First 3 days are required just to get to a
    relaxed state
  • TODO Get paragraph from book

75
Tip Schedule fun things too
  • Cal -- schedule social life
  • Second calendar only if you have a classified
    work-life

76
Tip Movie List
  • Avoid the standing around the video store trying
    to remember the name of the film-syndrome
  • Keep a list of movies youd like to see in your
    planner
  • Every time you think of a movie youd like to
    see, write it down.
  • Write down movies currently in the theater youd
    dont think youll have time to see
  • When at a video store, rent the first movie on
    your list.

77
Relaxation
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Massage

78
Tip Eliminate junk todo items
  • Usenet Netnews
  • Slashdot bboards (but not Slashdot itself!)
  • Free periodicals

79
Tip Touch all paper once
  • File it
  • Read then toss
  • Toss without reading
  • Dont sort twice
  • Dont file to be read later
  • Big things to read place in stack, schedule a
    weekly 1-hour of reading time

80
Better email processing
  • If you arent using procmail, you are working
    too hard.
  • Strategy
  • Sort each mailing list into a specific folder.
  • Whats left in your Inbox should be personal
    email only.
  • If you havent read the folder by the end of the
    week, zap it.

81
Procmail Sample 1
  • Show 2 mailing lists.
  • Boss/food email to pager
  • Remaining to DEFAULT

82
Tool Manage documents with Twiki
83
Managingi your boss
  • TODO Review books principles

84
UNIX Automation
  • Do it once manually from the command line.
  • Record commands used.
  • Write a /bin/sh (or bash, or ksh) script that
    includes the commands that worked.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Parameterize (use variables instead of constants)
    as you evolve the script.

85
Advice for automating tasks
  • Do it manually once
  • Record steps
  • Script the steps one step at a time, testing each
    step as it is added to the script (incremental
    development)
  • Only add features and flash after the basic
    automation works
  • The Practice of Programming by Kernighan and
    Pike (1999)

86
Shorter Meetings
  • Have a goal for the meeting. (or written agenda
    for longer meetings)
  • State the goal end-time verbally at the start.
  • Repeat the goal every time the group loses focus.

87
Manage phone time
88
Office Feng Shui
89
Clean Desk
  • You cant put it away if it doesnt have a space.
  • (so designate spaces)
  • When in doubt, throw it out. (someone else will
    surely have a copy)

90
(No Transcript)
91
REVIEW OF PRINCIPLES
  • Work from a todo list
  • Start a new list each day.
  • A B priorities
  • Xdone, -moved
  • Live by your calendar
  • Record social and work appointments
  • Start each day
  • Record scheduled appointments
  • AB priorities
  • Work the plan

92
(No Transcript)
93
(No Transcript)
94
(No Transcript)
95
(No Transcript)
96
Top 10
  • Be todo-list oriented
  • Maintain a single calendar
  • Delegate
  • Prioritize Based on Customer Expectations
  • Manage your boss
  • Funnel requests through RT 3.0
  • Manage the email monster
  • Manage phone time
  • Feng Shui (desk/office tips)
  • Daily Things First
  • Shorter Meetings
  • Automate Repeated Tasks
  • Document using Twiki
  • Take long vacations, not 3-day weekends
  • Eliminate junk todo items
  • Enjoy your social life

97
(No Transcript)
98
(No Transcript)
99
Summary (pt 1)
  • DONE Why typical "time management" books don't
    work for sysadmins
  • DONE How to delegate tasks effectively
  • DONE How to use RT and other request tracking
    tools
  • DONE A way to keep from ever forgetting a user's
    request

100
Summary (pt 2)
  • DONE Why "to do" lists fail and how to make them
    work
  • Managing your boss
  • Managing email more effectively with procmail
  • DONE Prioritizing tasks so that users think
    you're a genius

101
Summary (pt 3)
  • Getting more out of your Palm Pilot
  • Having more time for fun (for people with a
    social life)
  • Tips on automating sysadmin processes
  • Efficient phone calls how to avoid major time
    wasters
  • How to leave the office every day with a smile on
    your face
About PowerShow.com