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Time Management for System Administrators by Thomas A. Limoncelli

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Chapter 5. The Cycle System: To Do Lists and Schedules

Now that I've teased you with an overview of The Cycle System in Chapter 4, we continue with a sequence of three chapters that explore the elements from the most immediate concern to the most long-term elements. This chapter is concerned with managing our to do list, the "now." The next chapter will discuss calendars, which are how we manage the coming days and months. Finally, we will examine long-term goal-setting in Chapter 7. Since The Cycle is a loop, there may be times when I'll gloss over a point that doesn't make sense until the other chapters have been read. You may want to cycle over these three chapters more than once.

All system administrators have one thing in common: we have too much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it. Luckily, much of this chapter deals with managing overflow. Beginning with a sample day, and then another and another, let's watch how the system works.

Figure 5-1. 

A Sample Day

Let's work through a single-day example to see how the system works.

When you enter the office each morning, you should immediately focus and start this process. Otherwise, you will be caught by the interruptions and distractions that surround you: your voice mail light is flashing, people are stopping by, the coffee machine is calling you, and you are curious what Dilbert and the group at User Friendly are doing today. ...

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