Tom's Time Tips
by David Brickner
Related link: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/timemgmt
One of the books I edited this fall was Time Management for System Administrators by Tom Limoncelli. As a former sysadmin this book really spoke to me, which is exactly what Tom intended. What Tom probably didn't intend was how often I found myself telling my wife how she (or I) should implement one of Tom's time tips. Often in the middle of a discussion I would see a chance to impart some of Tom's wisdom to her and I would say, "Well, you know what Tom would say...?" And then I would tell her one of his time tips.
You see, despite Tom's best efforts to make this a book exclusively for system administrators, it can't escape the fact that it has solid, sensible, and useful time management advice. (If this weren't the case we never would have published it.) The copy-editor and production editor who worked on the book both found it very insightful, even though they don't speak geek. My wife always nods when I give a time tip and comments, "That seems like a good idea."
Probably none of these non-techies will heed Tom's advice. I say this because time management involves at least two things. One is knowing what you ought to do. The second is doing it. How you get from one to two is by being motivated. And Tom's book is not written to motivate anybody other than a sysadmin. And I think this is its strength. Instead of wasting pages talking about generic situations that can apply to anybody in an office environment, Tom speaks directly to the harassed, overworked, and underappreciated system administrator.
If this description of the book isn't enough to motivate you, then you should know that in the life goals chapter Tom talks about how to date a porn star. I wanted to cut this out (I feared offending people) and so did the copy-editor, production editor, and my wife. Tom said no, and to trust him. He knows how to motivate a sysadmin.
I have to speak up here
I find it bothersome when marketers, authors, vendors, etc. think they have to appeal to 'baser instincts' to sell me a particular product. I find it annoying. It's disturbing when an otherwise excellent publication like Make magazine feels that advertisements with scantily clad women have any additional value to add to their product. Such advertisements and content are often degrading to women, portraying them as nothing more than objects of lust. Let's rise to a higher plane folks, can we?