The Cycle

Today may be one of the most important days of my career. I just started using “the cycle”, as Tom explains in Chapter 4 of his wonderful book Time Management for System Administrators. If you are struggling (as I am) with infinite requests and a stressful life, please take a look at it. It will change your life! 🙂

Last week I also participated in a stress-prevention workshop at my company, and I learned a lot of useful tips to improve my quality of life. Yesterday morning I took two LPIC exams, and in the afternoon I used some free time to design my own personalized “cycle”. It’s basically the same one Tom writes in his book, but I’ve added some stress related info on the schedule:

  • Thought leading to stress
  • Situation
  • Stress level
  • Reaction
  • Result

I also use one extra column to write down the incident or change activity related to the item I’m working on, so I can find more info about it in TOPbeheer (our own request tracking system). Cool, eh? 🙂

The idea is to spend 10 minutes every day making a plan:

  1. Create today’s schedule with items from my work calendar (I use it also for private appointments).
  2. Create today’s todo list with requests from TOPbeheer, e-mails and personal stuff (yes, I also include private items on my todo list!).
  3. Prioritize and reschedule. I haven’t gone through the priority system yet (that’s chapter 8), but I write an estimated time and if the total is more than the hours I should work, I move the item to another day.
  4. Work the plan. Today I just went through the items I already planned yesterday, and because some appointments were cancelled, I did some extra stuff. At the end of each task I wrote down the time I spent, so afterwards I can correct my time estimation process and I also have a way to fill in my hours in LIFT.
  5. Finish the day. The last item took a bit longer than expected, but I almost finished everything. I moved 3 items to tomorrow.
  6. Drink an Hertog Jan and leave the office. At 5 o’clock (when you have finished work) you are allowed to drink beer with your colleagues (and for free). So why not enjoy it? 😀
  7. Repeat. Tomorrow I’ll do the same. Today I hadn’t many incidents on my todo list, but tomorrow is front office day, so I’ll work on that.

What do you think? Of course I also end up late (and tired), but I had a good feeling, like I could control the situation. I had some interruptions (via IM), but I registered incidents for each of them.


I’m happy to have a system that I can also use for my private appointments. My friends know that I always go around with different todo lists (“the scattered notes system”) or my “long list of doom” (without end and completely unrealistic). Now I can have both work and private things in one sheet of paper per day. All of them organized and together. I still have to find a better way to transport it, but for what is left of the month of December it should do.

Look, I even had time to write a post about this. Yuppie!

Thanks Miriam! Thanks Tom! 🙂


2 Responses to The Cycle

  1. […] job (uh oh!), but for this I need to perform some steps first (I’m so happy I bought my Time Management book! This is the first step to change your […]

  2. […] […]

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