yesthattom: (Default)
One of the biggest time management challenges in my life is making sure that I have enough fun. Fun is different from not working. I spend plenty of time not working and yet when I look back on the last few months I wish I had spent more time having the kind of fun that involves going out; the kind of fun that when I get back to work I want to tell people about. Without at least a little planning, non-work time may be squandered on TV, chatting online, and reading blogs.

I don't mean that one needs to plan the fun. Nothing could be less fun than a plan like...
8:00 party starts
8:05 lift beer to mouth, drink
8:10 laugh at joke someone tells
8:11 think of funny retort, say it out loud
That would be dredful.

However big fun stuff requires planning. Concert tickets need to be bought in advance, anything involving seeing friends requires scheduling it with them in advance, etc. I consider it "fun" to speak at Linux/FOSS/etc. User Groups, but that takes months of advance planning to get on their schedules, book travel, and so on. If I don't invest some time in planning those things, they don't happen.

Therefore this weekend my SO and I spent some time talking about things we wanted to do, marked up our calendar to show when we had off from work (a lot of holidays coming up), marked various conferences we're attending, RSVPed to various parties we'd been invited to, and used our calendar to pick dates to see various shows. Of note, we're going to see Emo Philips perform in NYC on Jan 18, we bought broadway show tickets to see The Farnsworth Invention (written by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin) on Feb 21, and we're planning on attending a mid-winter SF on called Wicked Faire. The Emo Philips show is general admission... if you happen to be in the area and want to join the group of us attending, please let me know.

However, there are ways to reduce the planning required. One way is to set up a regularly scheduled night. For example, I know some couples that always keep Wednesday night open for "date nights". Families often set aside one night a week for "family game night".

Weekends don't need too much planning: For just about any place in the world there is a web site that lists events in your area this weekend and rarely do they require much planning except having something to wear. If you live in NYC there are sites like Nonsense NYC, Gemini and Scorpio, and FlavorPill. Flavorpill has listings for many cities. My little town of Montclair, New Jersey has BaristaNet which lists many events.

What's your most effective way to make sure there's enough fun in your life?
yesthattom: (Default)
Voices In Man's Head Make Great Point About Time Management (fake news in The Onion)

Yes, yes, thank you to all the people that have sent me the link.

However, I've already seen it. Why? Because of the following time management tip. (Note: this tip only works with web browsers that support tabbed browsing such as Mozilla Firefox and Mac Safari.)

Most tabbed web browsers let you bookmark a folder full of links and then "open all in tabs". That is, if your folder contains 5 links, simultaneously open 5 tabs and open one bookmarked link in each of those tabs.

With Firefox you can start the process by opening, say, 3 tabs and load each with a web page that you read every day. Then click "Bookmarks >> Bookmark All Tabs". Name the folder "Daily". You will now see a bookmark folder called "Daily". You can add other bookmarks to that folder.

In my "Daily" folder first I have about 25 daily comic strips that I like to read. Then I have The Onion, then Slashdot. There are a few more blogs after that too.

On days that I have for "entertainment" reading, I click on "Open in Tabs" selection that appears on the bottom of that bookmark folder. Suddenly all 25 comic strips and 5-6 blogs open up before me.

As I read each one, I press CTRL-W (actually CMD-W on my Mac) to close that tab. When I'm out of tabs, I'm done!

You can read Live Journal easier this way too. I made a bookmark folder called "LJ". The links inside it are "http://yesthattom.livejournal.com/friends then http://yesthattom.livejournal.com/friends?skip=50 (which is one click of the "Previous" button), then http://yesthattom.livejournal.com/friends?skip=75 (which is two clicks of the "Previous" button), etc. I do this until I have about 12 entries in the folder. Now I can click on "Open in Tabs" and start reading the first page of entries. By the time I'm done, the others are usually loaded. I can whip through LJ entries much faster this way. Warning: You might have your LJ set to show a different number of entries per page, don't copy my links exactly.)

Some other tips:
  • I recently re-ordered the comic strips so that all the ones from www.comics.com are together. Now for those 10-15 strips the image is in the same place on the page. My eyes have to do less work.
  • I find its easier to read LJ if I have fewer long pages rather than a lot of short pages. You can set the number of items per page here, scroll to "Change Individual Settings", then click on the "Edit Customizations" button.)
yesthattom: (Default)
Human Modem's blog is posting a chapter-by-chapter review of my TMSA book. You can read it via LJ here: [livejournal.com profile] humanmodem_rss.

He wrote to me:

Hi Tom,
I wanted to let you know that I recently picked up your "Time Management for System Administrators" book and fell in love with it! I had previously read and enjoyed "The Practice of System and Network Administration" and I knew right away that I had to pick up this book. It seemed to magically come to my attention at a time when I was getting bogged down at work and really starting to feel the stress. The suggestions have really helped me out and I've taken to giving it a chapter-by-chapter review on my blog (http://blog.humanmodem.com). Check it out if you have a free moment, I would greatly appreciate any feedback.
Once again, this book has been a real lifesaver! Easily the best investment I've made so far this year.
Take care,
Phillip McCollum

December 2015

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