(“In Case You Missed It Monday” is my chance to showcase something that I wrote and published in another venue, but is still relevant. This week’s post originally appeared on VMBlog)
The last few months have put a lot of pressure on IT pros, but it’s important for them to use the longer summer days to their advantage and see it as a chance to wind down and properly switch off.
They should feel empowered and confident to shut down a little early – at the very least, they should make sure they’re wrapping up on time so they can go outside and enjoy the sunshine (at a proper social distance, of course).
But with so much on their plate, how can IT pros be certain everything will be okay if they leave their post?
We decided to check in with the members of the SolarWinds THWACK community and Head Geeks to gather some pro tips and tricks on how IT pros can optimize their IT environments so they can get out and enjoy some fun in the sun.
Here’s what they shared:
Script and Automate
“I have found the process of creating scripts for simple tasks leaves my brain a little more limber-before you know it, everything will happen with the press of a button! It also creates a paper trail of scripts and adds a little bit of discipline.” – User: jmodjeski
“We use scripts whenever we are able, and on my side of the fence (Network), I try to use NCM to manage configurations as much as possible. Compliance reports and jobs can help you stay on top of things for sure.” – User: smttysmth02gt
“You should automate everything-this will give you time back to enjoy doing the things you love instead of working time-consuming manual tasks.” – SolarWinds Head Geek Chrystal Taylor
“Use the most basic way of automation for the most basic tasks, such as using WindowsTask Scheduler to start your work tools upon login. Then develop a list of tickets to work on via email or browser-it doesn’t sound like much, but it saves you 60 seconds which you can spend elsewhere.” – SolarWinds Head Geek Sascha Giese
“Automate it, script it, and schedule it. Do it in such a way that you don’t have to be there to do it.” – User: doberhol
Monitor Everything, Always
“To save time this summer, review your monitoring and management tools for built-in automation you might not know about. Especially if you’re a senior administrator, any routine task you can safely delegate to lower-level support will save unexpected evening and cookout weekend calls.” – SolarWinds Head Geek Patrick Hubbard
“Save evening interruptions by thinking about using tools which offer more self-service options. For example, set up workflows for routine changes like VLAN port membership. Let the requester select the change details from the GUI, and let routing send it to you for approval complete and ready for automated execution. Give the server team access to provision their own fixed IPs. Lastly, create packages to use your patch deployment system to push custom applications or server configurations.” – SolarWinds Head Geek Patrick Hubbard
“Monitor everything, especially applications and databases. Users may blame the network for a slow app when the real culprit is a slow step in the web interface that needs input from a database query. Having baselines and alerts that flag when they’re violated or exceeded is the path to a fast application environment.” – User: rschroeder, Network Analyst
Preparation Is the Key
“The key to saving time is to schedule your most novel, complex, or trouble-prone IT tasks in the morning and use your afternoons for routine changes and queue catch-up. You’ll still need to look at the ticket list when you come in, but set a higher threshold for the first-thing resolution. Also, when you grind out less critical work in the afternoon in descending order of priority, the later you get in the day, the lower the priority of the remaining tasks. And that makes it much easier to wrap up your day based on the clock, not your backlog.” – SolarWinds Head Geek Patrick Hubbard
“Don’t forget to make peer connections. You can lean on people that have a different perspective and can give you insight so you can solve problems, not only at work but in all types of situations. A cool attitude in the hot summer or the middle of a system meltdown will give you the clarity to solve the problem or get the right folks to tackle the issue.” – User: ferrashoo
Upskill to Save Time
“How about prepping your day by setting time aside to get one new skill/certification? Work will always be there, improving yourself makes you more valuable to your employer.” – User: ferrashoo
“Take time NOW to learn a skill that will shorten your work later. It might be learning regular expressions, or PowerShell, or subnetting, or cloud. The idea is to take a task that you either dread, or takes too long, or you simply cannot do and learn what it takes so you can do it well and get it done fast.” – SolarWinds Head Geek Leon Adato
But Most Importantly…
“Click the shutdown button by the end of the working day and enjoy the outdoors with family. And don’t forget-automation is the key for IT.” – User: pkuan