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Time Management for System Administrators: Stop Working Late and Start Working Smart
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Time Management for System Administrators: Stop Working Late and Start Working Smart

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  846 ratings  ·  68 reviews
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 pr ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by O'Reilly Media (first published January 1st 2005)
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Khánh Nguyễn Hoàng Việt
Some nice insights for people who working as a SysAdmin
- our job is providing service
- build a habit
- prioritized our tasks
- fighting interruptions
- make computers our friends
- automation everywhere
- take time for self

Definitely read it again
Juraj Martinka
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing and super practical book.

It's still very relevant (even more) today and applicable to all sorts of people working in software, not just sysadmins - Developers, SREs, Tech Leads, and Engineering Managers will all benefit from reading this concise treatment of various aspects of time management at work; and you will learn how to apply it to your personal stuff too.

The Cycle system is pretty useful and even if you don't apply it fully and invent your own system (as I did) you can
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people interested in GTD systems
Shelves: gtd-productivity
This is one of the first books I put on my SafariBooksOnline account back in 2006.

I'm known as a bit of a "GTD fanatic". Not because I'm so organized and methodical, but rather because I'm a mess and always looking for better ways to contain the disarray. I must read 2 or 3 books a year (even after this book) regarding organization and time management but, this is the one and only book I keep coming back to that has methods that work.. for me.

I loved the concepts and overall organization strateg
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
My resolution this year was to get better organized and make more effective use of my time (aka getting better at life). This book was chock full of common sense for this goal. He touched on many habits I currently have, connecting them with the reason I'd developed them and placed them in a larger framework for being a better sysadmin. He also augmented the stereotypical, "get a planner and use it" advice with many tasks specific to my profession (maintaining documentation, managing ticket queu ...more
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech, productivity
There's definitely a big chunk of this which is dated, but I really liked the core time management part ("The Cycle").

The dated part includes such nuggets as the fact that there is a service called "Netflix" which can send me DVDs by post, and an introduction to the strange and foreign concept of the "wiki". :)

The real core of the book is up to chapter 8, with the first 4 acting as a kind of gentle intro. 9-13 I mostly skipped, finding them pretty outdated or basic.

Lastly, I'm a programmer rathe
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great ideas in this book. Now comes the hard part: implementation (though I've already seen a positive influence in my work life just through an initial reading). I'm sure I'll be reviewing this book frequently.

Better than GTD; I've tried that system for years, but it's overly complex and not really as flexible as it purports to be.
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent take on time management with the very specific use cases that render the arguments palatable to the type of character who finds himself in IT operations. I should have read this in 2006. I especially enjoyed the epilogue.

Two quibbles. Firstly, laundry and cleaning aren’t time wasters, but necessities, like changing the backup tape. Those tasks can be delegated, but you should understand that is what is being done—do not just assume that Someone Else will clean up your mess. His sugg
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of my favorite books.
Although context are dated, various ideas are still very relevant, e.g scheduling, making day/week/month plan, blocking out time for focusing, even stress and email management.
How to carry out the recommendation in this book may differ with time (I mean who have their own office rooms to lock door and focus anymore?), but the core ideas for time management in this book are always relevant.

The writing style is entertaining and easy to read, that I think many
Rose Lerner
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is changing my life as we speak. I'm not a system administrator but I think the advice is great for anyone who does self-directed work (for me, writing). It's very straightforward, practical advice. I highly, highly recommend it.
Marc Perry
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, this is truly an excellent book whose title happens to sound a little bit ho-hum. In terms of productivity pr0n (is that how it's spelled, with the R and the O swapped, and replacing the O with a zero?) I found this book more useful, in a practical sense than the holy trinity of productivity books: "Getting Things Done", "Eat That Frog", and "The Now Habit." This has been my bible for the past two years. If you struggle with prioritization and procrastination, I urge you to read t ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
My job has a lot of "OMG DO THIS NAOW!!1!" things that come up. I also have many meetings. And on top of all that, I need to work towards long-term projects. While I'm not a true Sys Admin and so didn't get a lot out of the very last chapter of the book, there's still a great deal of good information. Many of the concepts are the same as the GTD school of time management, but it includes building time into your day for interruptions.

Worth reading.
Arian Muharremi
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has some interesting ideas. Make sure to write down what you find useful for your situation. As you move through the positions and responsibilities, you may need to re-read the book.

I recommend it not only to SAs but to anyone who has do work with clients (users). It is intended for SAs but some lessons can be applied in different fields as well.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is is Outdated.... it really is outdated.

So the first half is pretty fine. Gives an exmple of clever methods to practice to become more focused with your work. The latter half is only relevant for its ideas as it is spending time on systems and platforms that are not that common anymore.

Liked the style and light attitude the author had.
Mark Dorset
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book, should be standard content for any newer engineer, and a good refresher for seasoned one. Needs a new revision perhaps as PDAs have been very much replaced, and some of the references to websites/applications are out of date.
Sam Williams Jebaraj
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Its a must read for any IT Professional who works with System and Network Administration, Though some of the principles are bit outdated but many of the principles explained can be used even in today's IT workspace.
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
While some parts of the book are out-dated (Netflix being mostly DVD renting company, whoa), I find this book really helpful. It might contain things "everybody knows", but structured, explained and with real-life examples.
I needed to read it and now I need to adapt it to my routines.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Though the title sounds like a gimmick, this actually a very insightful and well thought-out book. Limoncelli's attitude (which I agree with) is that a sysadmin should be turning chaos into routine, and routine into automation.
Jing Fu
Jul 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't think I've got a ton from this book. My expectation was high, but the framework in the book is quite simplistic, and the tools used in this book is severely outdated thus not super applicable.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of good ideas for time management for IT people. One I should likely reread.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although some chapters may seem a bit outdated it is quite decent book and philosophies can be applied today as well. Just replace outdated things with _new_thing_here_.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
A lot of the commentary and anecdotes in this book have not aged well, but the core of the book provides a decent primer and principles for GTD using "The Cycle".
Võ Khánh
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
also nice for a non-tech. Some skills can apply for any subject
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-for-work
Good for people working in flexible environments an tech managers. I'm not a system administrator but I manage devs and work with ops and found this relevant to my work.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author is magnificent in exhibiting his knowledge and experience as a great sysadmin. 80% of what I do, is based on this book at my current role as a sysadmin.
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book. from the same author of "The Practice of System and Network Administration". Lovely!
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Still practicing, But I really like the idea to use a PAA / PDA. Creating a todo list. Helps in planning the day also provide a very useful way to figure out how busy the day is.
Lewis Denham-Parry
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lessons have aged well over the 15 years and found it interesting how parts have cycled since the books initial release.
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
It's dated and odd (comments toward his dreams of dating a porn star, not kidding). With a ton of good points. Have to get past all the PDA references without snickering. Most people would be better off reading 'Getting things done.'
Josh Brower
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I knew this book was going to be good when I read the following in the Preface:
“My home life looks alot like my work life–You should see the killer server I’ve setup at home. Once I’ve finished tweaking it, I’m going to set up the same thing at work. Very few occupations are like that.
He is describing me exactly!
This is the biggest reason why I enjoyed the book as well as I did–Because it wasn’t a generic time management book (a dime a dozen these days), but it was a time management book written
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