Deep Diving

Day 338 Week 49 Q4 Tuesday, December 5, 2023

In today’s complicated software-assisted world, we all use tools that are powerful and complicated. And perhaps they are too powerful and too complicated to know everything about, unlike the tools of the past, which we were able to completely master. Any tool that has a 1000-page manual you’re not going to master unless you use it all of the time.

Usually, we master a subset of what a tool is capable of and continue to use it very satisfactorily for the tasks we most often need to accomplish. Sometimes, we have a sense that this tool can do much more, but we don’t really need to do those things yet.

When the time comes that we feel the need to dive more deeply into this tool, it can be difficult to learn much more about it, with all of the usual distractions of life coming in to interrupt us. This is when it is time to silence your phone and disconnect your network so that you cannot be interrupted. I tried this yesterday, intending to spend two hours focused on learning a lot more about how to use a particular application.

First, it took 30 minutes to actually settle into only thinking about this single tool and what I wanted to do with it. Do not attempt to do this after having just updated an operating system, for that will add another hour if it is a Mac or two days if it is a Windows machine, by which time you will no longer be thinking about that up and diving deeper, but wanted to throw your computer out of the window.

In case you ever wondered why Apple was the largest market cap Company in the world, this is the reason. Apple seems to think that my time matters more than Microsoft does, although all of the companies in the world seem to think our time matters less than they used to. Companies would love to get great reviews and to have loyal customers, yet they do not often act in a manner consistent with this desire.

Back to the deep dive. It was so fruitful that I left my phone off and stayed disconnected for the next six hours and realized that I could not even remember the last time I dedicated an entire day to learning how to use a tool that I was already nominally familiar with. There was gold in them thar hills!

We are so used to multitasking and being interrupted that we rarely do a deep dive into anything. But when we take the time to do this, we can potentially learn more about how to use an app in one day than we have learned in the prior five years of using it.

There is no question that deep diving is necessary for a great understanding of anything complicated. If you try to manage your life with sound bites, you have no idea what’s really going on, including how to use what you already have.