I was recently reading “Deep Work” by Cal Newport, a book packed with knowledge. One of the things that was really interesting was the concept of “any benefit”. This is something I have thought about before, but didn’t quite put it quite as elegantly as he did.

His primary example with this idea had to do with social media. Cal Newport doesn’t like social media; and he wants us to quit it. He gets a lot of pushback from this, mostly from people saying that they use social media for job connections, sharing promotional material, etc. But Newport retorts by saying, “so”? But basically he says that others’ mindsets rationalize this by saying…

You’re justified in using a network tool if you can identify any possible benefit to its use, or anything you might possibly miss out on if you don’t use it.

Newport says this doesn’t make sense. Something is not worthwile if there is only a modicum of benefit. What about something more important: net benefit?

Rather, he wants us to use the “Craftsman Approach”. With that he says:

Identify the core factors that determin success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweight its negtative impact.

I have to agree with this assessment regarding most of social media. But more importantly, I see this absolutely everywhere. The question is, where else do we see very little benefit but a lot of time spent: social media, tv, procrastination, and who knows what else?

My advice: quit if there’s very little benefit and lots of time spent.