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August 2008 Archives

Amazon's Kindle

I got a demo of Amazon's Kindle the other day and was very impressed. I hadn't realized that it had a built-in cellphone-based data connection so you could always download more content. The speed was a little slow, but for reading a book I think it was perfect. I'm considering getting one.

Today I got email from Amazon reminding me that if I shill for them on my blog, readers can get a $100 discount. You just have to apply for an Amazon credit card and use this link.

Do I feel bad about shilling for Amazon? Well, not if it gets my readers a $100 discount. It is a product that friends of mine are happy with and I'm impressed by the demos I've seen.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Technical Tips

Tom will be presenting 3 tutorials and a keynote at SAGE-AU 2008. Register today!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in AppearancesArchive

GTD+The Cycle

Andrew Hyatt's blog mentions his merger of TM4SA's "The Cycle" with the GTD methodology.

I solved this problem by using the agenda, and scheduling my next actions that I wanted to work on for the current day. I would then see a list of the next actions I had to accomplish that day. If I didn't get them done that day, the next day I'd move them up a day, to the current day. It ended up being a daily-planner-like system a lot like Tom Limoncelli recommends in Time Management for System Administrators. But with next actions..
Sounds great, Andrew!

I like GTD but don't think it is optimal for busy system administrators or software engineers. His addition to The Cycle is a great variation on the theme. That's how I hoped The Cycle would be used: a good system that people could adopt then customize for their own use.

Read the complete blog post here.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Time Management

A time management problem that people often ask me about is how to get started on a new big tasks (NBT). With a heavy number of interruptions, meetings, and so on it can be easy to get distracted and never actually start that important NBT. Starting a NBT is also a bit intimidating; it's emotionally easier to continue with checking email, answering tickets, and (this is the big one) work on less important, but easier, tasks.

When I need to start a new big task I hide. I really do. I find a small conference room, hide, and work for an hour disconnected from the internet. I'm not ashamed to admit this. Hiding really works.

I'm not completely hidden. I don't cover the windows. People can find me. My immediate coworkers know where I am.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Time Management

As I start to pack for my trip to Australia, I'm getting really excited about attending the SAGE-AU 2008 conference.  I just got email with the preliminary registration numbers for my workshops (note: more people will sign up "day of"):

  • Interviewing/Hiring Technical People: 8 registrations
  • Time Management for System Administrators: 31 registrations
  • "Help!  Everyone hates our IT Department!": 24 registrations
I interpret this to mean a few things: 1) not a lot of people plan on hiring in the next year or not a lot of people are coming that early to the conference. 2) a lot of people want help with their time management.  3) there is no shortage of people concerned about fixing their IT group.

By the way... I've completely revamped the Time Management slides.  Previously I've tweaked them between conferences.  This time I took a hard look at what people found useful, didn't need, and the way I was presenting the information.  I refocused the slides around the more streamlined version of "the cycle", dropped the parts that got the most yawns or "why would anyone want that?"-looks.  I also made sure that the more entertaining parts were retained and are spread evenly throughout the presentation.  As I learned from mjd's "Presentation Judo" talk says, "Your primary goal should be to entertain".  Each slide should educate and entertain, but if you have to pick just one, choose to entertain: people are sitting in the same seat for 3 hours, they deserve nothing less.

Now I have to get back to packing.  For the last few months any time I've thought of something to bring I wrote it on my todo list for August 6th.  Packing is less stressful when you have confidence that you won't forget anything.  Now I just have to fit it all in my luggage!

It's not too late to register for SAGE-AU 2008.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Conferences