I’ve been working from home as a sysadmin for a very long time. Over the years I have developed some Habbits. Things I try and do every day, a routine if you will. Especially with sysadmin work it’s served me well to make sure things get done and the most important tasks are dealt with. Your millage may vary widely. The things I do when I sit down in the morning with my first cup of coffee, roughly in order:

  • Check IRC for highlights. Sometimes people ping me about urgent stuff on IRC before filing tickets or other normal processes. This lets me make sure there is nothing I really need to look at asap.
  • Check IRC backscroll on some channels. There’s some low volume channels that I check backscroll on to see if there was any problems overnight or important things to discuss with my co-workers in other parts of the world who might be heading to sleep soon. Many other channels I don’t bother to read back, there’s too much volume, or it’s seldom important.
  • Next it’s on to email. I heavily filter my email into particular folders. The first thing I read is the things that have passed all my filters and gotten into my main mailbox. I skim (but don’t reply yet) to these to make sure there’s nothing I need to go address now.
  • Next I skim non main inbox emails. Some of these are lists or more or less important. If I find something here I want to reply to, I use claws-mail’s ‘mark’ feature to mark it, but don’t yet reply.
  • Along with mail, my RSS feeds are next. I usually skim and catch up on most of it, but mark interesting or longer articles I want to read in more depth or finish later.
  • Next it’s list moderation. This usually doesn’t take too long, just skim subjects and senders and dump the vast majority of it as spam, letting through the legit emails.
  • Then on to epylog reports. These come from our main central log server. epylog weeds out all the normal uninteresting stuff and leaves things that might be interesting. Here I can see application tracebacks, kernel oopses, any reboots, failed ssh attempts, sudo runs, etc. These are usually also pretty small and usually there’s nothing of particular note.
  • Finally on to social media to check g+ and diaspora. I don’t follow too many people here, so it usually doesn’t take long.
  • Now I circle back around and look at the emails I have marked to reply to. Many times someone else already has and I can just remove the mark, sometimes I need more context and I can go re-read the thread or posts around that one before replying. Sometimes rarely I will want to ponder some more and just leave the email marked for the next day.

By processing through all this every day I keep up on things pretty well, and also I am then able to create a TODO list for the day/week based on requests or my seperate todo list, and can be reasonably sure I have put out fires before working on non urgent stuff.