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A Helpdesk for Home

A Helpdesk for Home

Why I Decided to Practice During Non Work Hours 
What I Preach During the Nine to Five

In my professional life, I've had a computer based helpdesk established for quite some time.
 In Time Management for System Administrators Thomas Limoncelli discusses the folly in attempting to remember all the things coming at us throughout a day and Wikipedia states our short term memory is on average seven items, plus or minus 2.

 That is very true for myself, so when I accepted my position several years ago, I worked hard to establish the proper procedure for requesting assistance. I could promise I wouldn't manage requests in a timely manner consistently should the average four people pull me aside for "a quick question, "one small favor", "a simple request", etc before I had even reached my desk from the coffee machine.

 I have found trusting the process and utilizing a system that can automate responses, generate context based check-lists for me and keep track of repeated issues has saved time and improved user experience. It has also had the added effect of calming anxious attitudes towards technology over the years.
 So, knowing that, why a second system for my personal life?
 Because sometimes in our professional lives we don't apply knowledge we take for granted in our professional careers. So many SysAdmins i know don't back up their personal computers at home.
 I am guilty of what I have fought to eliminate at work: relying on my over confident brain to remember all the things I have to get done.
 I've read time management books and investigated various to-do list and reminder methodologies, but I find that what works for me from 9-5, works for me all day, in all situations.
 So, I grabbed an old machine i had lying around. Created a dummy email address for my domain that i would email things to myself as I thought of them or was asked to do and installed my favorite helpdesk and started configuring and tweaking taking the best lessons learned and practices i put to use at work to avoid leaving things left undone and escape feeling like i was trying to pack it all in in too little time.
 I'll go more into specifics of what i installed, how i configured it, and tips and tricks for using the system and various other software that helps tie into it in other posts, but wanted to share the theory. 
 How do you manage the laundry list (sometimes literally) of items that accumulate at home and at work?
 I'll keep you posted on how well it works in practice too; I doubt there will be much reverie in asking my wife to submit a ticket.


  1. Interestingly, while having great success in keeping on top of my menial tasks, I am having a lot of trouble keeping up with my more creative tasks. I block out time to blog and get writers block or question my quality of writing and scrap the post. I haven't found a time management solution that helps with my right brained activities, some click, some don't. Thanks for asking. Anything you can suggest? What works for you in your life?

  2. I'm rly excited about this post. It was so funny to read about your own way to outline and remind interesting things by sending emails to yourself. I'm just curious why don't you use any type of recorder, either keyboard or mouse recorder like to recall what have been done during the day. In a case of time management, as for me, first of all you should prioritize all of your tasks by comparing each one with the others. This way you will recognize that some things(tasks) more important for you and you should spend more time working with it. So, try it and maybe it will work out. Cheers.


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