April 25, 2021

Diagnose The Problem

The solution lies within the problem . . .

I nearly wasted $200 today.

My coffee machine wasn’t working this morning. I don’t want to contemplate life without coffee in the mornings. So, when my machine kept cutting out, I was ready to order a new one on Amazon Prime, so I could enjoy the black gold again tomorrow.

But, before clicking Buy, I checked the manual. It wasn’t much help. It said if the machine cuts out, turn it off and on again. I had already tried that—several times. It was not the solution.

So I Googled my machine’s symptoms. Right away, I found a coffee lovers’ forum post that diagnosed the problem and recommended a remedy. I tried it, and my machine worked.

Seemingly unrelated, though not without parallels, I am the father of a 10-month-old son. Like all new parents, my time is no longer my own. Pre-fatherhood I had ample time to write and work on projects. Now I’m lucky to snatch a few minutes each day.

Or so I thought until I audited how I spent my time. A few months into fatherhood, I felt like I didn’t have time to get anything done. But that auditing allowed me to diagnose what the real problem was. I had time to do stuff; I was just too tired to do anything with it.

The solution? Start going to bed (much) earlier. That way, I could use my free time productively instead of napping or recouping my energy. Now I write daily.

When you encounter a problem, there is usually a solution within reach. You just have to accurately diagnose what’s going on before you see the answer.

And the issue with my coffee machine? Turns out the steamer button had gotten depressed, which was triggering the auto-cutout when I turned the machine on. Diagnosing that saved me $200 and meant I got to drink coffee today.