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Time Management for System Administrators by Thomas A. Limoncelli

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Chapter 8. Prioritization

This is a "bottom up" chapter on setting priorities. First, I'll discuss something I alluded to in Chapter 5: techniques for prioritizing the tasks at hand—today's to do list . Then I'll cover prioritizing bigger things, such as projects. Lastly I'll talk about setting priorities for, or managing, your boss.

Figure 8-1. 

Prioritizing Your To Do Lists

There you are at your desk facing today's daily to do list. Dozens of items. How do you decide what to do first?

This section is about prioritizing these items. Different situations call for different schemes. In previous chapters, we used a very simple scheme: if it has to be done today, it's an A priority; if it has to be done soon (but not today), it's a B priority; and everything else is a C priority.

"So what do you do if all your items are A priorities?"

Read this chapter.

Doing Tasks in List Order

System administrators frequently tell me they spend a lot of time each day fretting about what to do next. I know that when I stare at my to do list, I can spend five or more minutes just reading the list, obsessing over which should be the next item to work on. Total up all the time spent wasted that way, and it's a lot of time.

If you are wasting time fretting about what to do next, stop. Make the decision simple and just start at the top of the list and work your way down, doing each item in order. In the time you ...

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