Thinking like a scuba diver

February 13, 2022

I’m currently in Mexico on a scuba diving trip.

(At least one subscriber to these weekly emails knows exactly where I am, because he recommended the hotel I’m staying at—and because we’re going diving together tomorrow.)

Diving is fun for many reasons, such as seeing and learning about underwater wildlife, honing your survival skills in an environment humans don’t normally thrive in, and socializing with fellow divers.

But I keep noticing that many divers also delight in simply owning and using their self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) gear.

Experienced divers love talking about their gear. What BCD or harness will you be wearing today? Is that a new dive computer? You had a different one last summer, didn’t you? Hey, check out these new underwater lights I got—they’re so handy.

Many divers are proud to own their gear and to maintain it well. They’ve spent quite some money assembling their own kit and they keep it shipshape, thoroughly cleaning it all after every dive and getting it serviced by professionals once or twice a year.

Divers don’t tell each other, “hey, you’re spending too much time learning how your gear works” or “forget about the gear, focus on the dive”. No: they take gear seriously.

Why should it be any different when it comes to your personal productivity gear (or apps)?

In the field of productivity, we talk about shiny object syndrome, about spending more time managing your tasks than executing, and about endlessly switching apps rather than sticking with one. It’s possible to go way too far in that direction, of course.

But it’s healthy to have a certain level of enjoyment in thoroughly familiarizing yourself with productivity tools such as Things 3. It is also healthy to perform periodic maintenance on your personal productivity “gear”.

If you’ve been feeling guilty about spending time learning how to use certain apps (as opposed to doing your work), just think of yourself as a scuba diver getting their gear in shape.

Take your time—and then plunge into the water.

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