The job of a DBA is complex and spans many diverse technological and functional areas. It is easy for a DBA to get overwhelmed with certain tasks—especially those that are not performed regularly. In a complex, heterogeneous, distributed world it can be hard to keep your eye on the right ball, at the right time. The best advice I can give you is to remain focused and keep a clear head.
Understand the purpose for each task and focus on performing the steps that will help you to achieve that end. Do not be persuaded to broaden the scope of work for individual tasks unless it cannot be avoided. In other words, don’t try to boil the ocean. If non-related goals get grouped together into a task, it can become easy to work long hours with no clear end in sight.
I am not saying that a DBA should (necessarily) specialize in one particular area (e.g., performance). What I am suggesting is that each task should be given the appropriate level of focus and attention to details. Of course, I am not suggesting that you should not multitask either. The successful DBA will be able to multitask while giving full attention to each task as it is being worked on.
What is the enemy of focus? There are many: distraction, lack of knowledge, “management,” and always worrying about the next thing to try or do. Such distractions can wreak havoc on tasks that require forethought and attention to detail.
Analyze, simplify, and focus. Only then will tasks become measurable and easier to achieve.