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Time Management as a techie

Time Management as a techie

Time Management as a techie

As a techie, one of the things that is most important to me Getting Stuff Done is to manage my time properly. There's always more work coming in than I'm able to do in a day, so it's valuable to have a system that you can use to manage your workload. Sysadmins in general are a strange bunch. They're often perfectionists, but this kind of behaviour leads to a certain 'tunnel vision' that means that other things get left untouched. Good time management is therefore essential to make sure that you don't leave things behind as you plough on with the big tasks. Though the years I've gone through a number of systems, but this is the one I'm currently using. I have an A4 lined notepad (but you can use some electronic format if you prefer). At the top of the page I write the day (Mon 2 June). Then in the margin I write (in thirds down the page): Meetings To Do Notes My meetings columns are Time: Subject: Duration:, and I label each meeting with a letter. My to do columns are priority, name, carryover. My notes are generally from meetings; if they are I'll write the letter I've assigned to the meeting next to them. As I work through the day I'll put lines through things I've done. I'll work on the todo list in priority order. I'll add extra todo items if anything has arisen from meetings I've attended, ad-hoc work has come in, or new things to work on have landed in my pile. At the end of the day, I tally up what I've done. I'll fill in the next day's page, and anything that wasn't completed I put 'carry over' next to, cross it off, and put it on the next day's page. Sometimes I'll have to change the priority as things begin to niggle Smiley The system I use has evolved over time, but was based on things I've read, commercial systems I've bought, and logical additions. I'm using this one because it's simple, and works for me, but everyone is different. The only disadvantage I find with this system is that I can't plan significantly ahead, but I use this system in conjunction to our in-house project/task management system which is good for planning ahead. I find the 'needs to be done today' part the bit of task management that just doesn't work online for me right now. Systems I've used in the past are the excellent Time/System, things based on Tom Limoncelli's Time Management for Systems Administrators, and the PHP application TaskFreak! (I'll provide links to these at the end). My 3 time management golden rules would be: - Stick to your priorities - Plan the next day before you leave - Learn to tell people you're too busy and reset their expectations What time management systems do you use? Do you find yourself changing systems a lot? What do you wish your time management system had that it doesn't? Cheers, Gricey. (who didn't have this on his todo list for today)

 

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[...] Edit: There is nice idea for time management written by Mike Grice [...]
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to be honest, i do something similar but i wait until the morning to do it rather than the end of the day. i often have to pick up issues that occured over night, and that would scupper my night-before plan. i have tried doing this using my pda several times but i often find myself going back to good old-fashioned paper and pen. it's hard to explain why, it just feels more natural. plus my smartphone sometimes grinds to a halt - a problem i've never had with paper and pen (apart from when i need a new pen or run out of pages) - and also i've never seen an ideal task manager for PDAs. glad to be educated on that one, though.
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The cheapest PDA that you can find (and has paper, too!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster_PDA
Dan
Grafter
i am so going to get some of that!
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Great idea on planning out the next day. I do that every evening and find it really helps put closure on the day. We use Intervals for our time tracking, and are techies ourselves. It's a hosted system we built after trying to use Excel, open source options, and other web-based services. Check it out.
Dan
Grafter
no offence but intervals looks more pricey than, say, bizbox or huddle yet offers similar functionality. i'll stick with the paper pda.