When I teach my Time Management class at conferences (such as at Sysadmin Magazine's conference in Maryland, May 7-8, 2007) there are three points in the class where I say things that make people say, "That can't be possible!" and then realize that it is possible because of a simple technique or skill that I've just taught. Each time this happens I feel like I've told people that I've invented faster-than-light travel and then demonstrated it.
Those three things are
- Prioritize your work
- Schedule work
- Control the hours you work
"What?" you say, "That's impossible! Every system administrator knows that none of that is possible because people are always interrupting us and even if they didn't things are so different every day there's no way to plan things.
The first thing the class discusses is better ways to handle interrupts. By "handle" I mean control. Right now interrupts control you. With a few simple techniques you can control them. The next topic is managing your todo list. Once you start writing down the your tasks and requests you gain a new level of control. One technique lets you schedule work for certain days. Another technique helps you set priorities. Another let's you regain control over your ability to leave the office on-time.
Impossible? No, just a matter of gaining back control. Which is what we all really wanted in the first place.