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Time Management for System Administrators Paperback – November 29, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0596007836 ISBN-10: 0596007833 Edition: 1st

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Time Management for System Administrators + The Practice of System and Network Administration, Second Edition + The Practice of Cloud System Administration: Designing and Operating Large Distributed Systems, Volume 2
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596007833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596007836
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"I liked this book, easy to read and contains good advice. I have fallen asleep reading other time management material, this one kept me awake." - Alain Williams, news@UK, June 2006

About the Author

Thomas Limoncelli is a world-famous author and speaker on many topics including system administration, networking, and security. A system administrator since 1988, he now speaks at conferences around the world on topics ranging from firewall security to time management. He has worked for Cibernet, Dean For America, Lumeta, Bell Labs / Lucent, AT&T and Mentor Graphics. Along with Christine Hogan he is co-author of the book "The Practice of System and Network Administration" from Addison-Wesley. He holds a B.A. in C.S. from Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, USA. He publishes a blog on www.EverythingSysadmin.com

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Customer Reviews

This is a very well written easy to read book.
This book sits on my desk and I recommend it to anyone having trouble managing tasks.
The book provides time management techniques for system administrators.
Erik Rozman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
To save everyone the trouble, I'll make the obvious joke: "I bought a book on time management, but I haven't had time to read it..."

Tom Limoncelli knows this about you. He knows a lot about you. He's encountered, and found solutions for, just about every one of the paradoxes, dilemmas, Catch-22s, and neverending Sisyphean ordeals that comprise the day-to-day challenge of being a professional system administrator. He wrote (with Christine Hogan) The Practice of System and Network Administration, which presents a thorough and practical body of knowledge for IT professionals: it describes all the things you need to do to build and run a manageable infrastructure. Now he's written an equally practical book on how to actually get those things done, and he wrote it in a way that makes it palatable for system administrators -- a famously cynical bunch when it comes to books about personal productivity. And there's a lot to be cynical about...

Here's how "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", by Stephen Covey, begins:

In more than 25 years of working with people in business,

university, and marriage and family settings, I have come in

contact with many individuals who have achieved an incredible

degree of outward success, but have found themselves struggling

with an inner hunger, a deep need for personal congruency and

effectiveness and for healthy, growing relationships with other


Deep need for personal congruency? The only deep need I feel at the moment involves my gag reflex, and not in a good way.

In comparison, here's how Tom begins:

Wait! Before we get started, let's do something to make sure we

actually finish.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Genco on December 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
One of my fellow admins sent me the Amazon link to this page, and I promptly sent it to our manager. The next day, a copy arrived. I read half of it in one sitting, and the second half in the next sitting. Then I told our manager to order ten more.

It really is that good. Limoncelli focuses on building good habits designed to take the pain out of chores that everybody hates. He's a big advocate of combining your work and personal priorities, to prevent the former from taking over the latter. To take back your work time is to take back your personal time, too -- something we ALL need to do in light of the unhealthy, self-sacrificial corporate demands running rampant in our culture.

Limoncelli knows that there's no better way to decrease stress than to exert more control over your own schedule, something systems administrators desperately need. This book will make admins AND their bosses much happier. I wish I'd had it earlier in my career.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am largely self-taught and unmentored (only discovered SAGE this year and then they busted it! Thanks, LOPSA for stepping in!). When I started going to Seattle SAGE meetings, I was amazed at how good, how assured, how *correct* a sysadmin could be. And they all pointed me to Tom and Christine's book, _The Practice of System and Network Administration_. It is awesome. This is, too.

I think Benjy's review puts it well: tPoSaNA describes what you have to do to run a proper shop. This book gives you some tools and approaches to manage all of that work without going insane. Part of my disatisfaction with the job I was doing had to do with the barrage of stuff coupled with a sense that no particular thing was ever getting finished. Naturally, my stressed and agitated mind was not conducive to productivity. The book has been a big help the last week.

Tom does address getting more done, by reducing distraction, improving focus, automating tasks, and especially by defending "project time" by concentrating interrupts in the other part of the day. But I think the heart of the book is in managing the workflow. Even if you don't get more done, you'll get more of the most important stuff done. The book discusses approaches for prioratizing and tracking tasks, some of which seem counter-intuitive but are inarguable. For example, you could do three easy things or one hard one. If the cumulative impact of the easy ones is low, the hard one may be the right call, even if it results in fewer items crossed off your list. Look at impact - what a concept! O.k., maybe that's common sense, but it may not be a common approach.

Much of the book is common sense. I think I have had more than a few of the ideas presented.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John S. J. Anderson on December 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
System administrators have a stereotypical reputation for grumpiness and irritability. Some times this misanthropy is a cultivated pose, designed to deter casual or trivial requests that would take time away from more important activities like playing nethack and reading netnews. More often, however, sysadmins are disgruntled simply because they can't seem to make any headway on the dozens of items clogging up their todo lists. If you're an example of the latter case, you may find some help in <em>Time Management for System Administrators</em>, the new book from Thomas Limoncelli (who you may recognize as one of the co-authors of the classic <em>The Practice of System and Network Administration</em>).

This slim book (only 226pp) packs a large amount of helpful information about making better use of your time at work, so that you can make some headway on at least some of those tasks that have piled up around you, while still managing to have a life outside of work. One of Limoncelli's main points is that sysadmins have to develop some way of effectively dealing with the constant stream of interruptions in their life if they're going to accomplish anything. The other point is that they also need a good tracking system to make sure they don't lose track of new, incoming requests in the process of dealing with existing ones. The book continually reinforces these two points, and presents several alternative, complementary ways to accomplish them.

The first three chapters deal with high-level, generic issues: principles of time management, managing interruptions, and developing checklists and routines to help deal with the chaos of day-to-day system administration.
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