Fighting the urge to dig into the details

When you’re doing high-level reconnaissance–say as part of a learning as you go strategy to know what it is that at some point you need to know–it’s important not to get into the details.

That may seem trivial but it’s not.

How many times have you found yourself buried in details, when you only needed the big picture?

I find myself there quite often.

It’s not enough to acknowledge that you shouldn’t get into the details. You also have to have compassion for yourself when you find yourself mired in the nuances.

“It’s okay,” that’s what you should tell yourself.

After all, this demonstrates you have passion for what it is that you’re learning. That’s a good thing in the right context.

Don’t shame yourself, don’t think “How could I?” Just acknowledge, perhaps verbally, that you’re mired in details, have a little laugh, and get back to a high-level overview.

Perhaps take a break so that you can clear your mind and come back with a revitalized purpose.

So the key here is to be compassionate with yourself, you’ll never stop yourself from doing this, but if you can get in the habit of recognizing it, and being kind to yourself, you’ll learn to quickly refocus your attention.

I’ve also found that it can help to set a timer to limit the amount of time I spend with overviews. Or maybe not to limit the time, but to remind myself of how much time has passed. At which point, I’m cognizant of how much time I’m spending and I can decide if perhaps I’m getting into too many details.