Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

The Test of You

Published in Blog.

You should probably be mindful of whether or not your work stands the test of Time. Oh, and also whether or not your work stands the test of Excellence. But what might actually matter more is whether or not your work actually stands the test of You. That’s the argument that Umair Haque makes in his article “Create a Meaningful Life Through Meaningful Work.”

The idea of spending time on work that actually matters is something I’ve thought a lot about over the years, but more and more it seems like I’m not alone. And interestingly enough, aside from spending more time on the things that actually matter in our lives, a number of the arguments that I’ve read recently have surrounded unplugging from The Social in order to do so.

James Victore’s “Accepting Less to Have More” goes a long way in questioning our dependence on omnipresent screens before challenging the amount of time we each spend online, “The answer is being conscious of the time spent on screens versus the time spent on ourselves.” Brian Lam’s “Happiness Takes (A Little) Magic,” however, expands on the idea quite a bit further.

In his article Lam relates not only his own increase in happiness to his own decrease in connectedness, but also how he’s shifted away from seemingly unimportant efforts to, again, focus on work that actually matters to him. “Informationally, we are becoming lard-asses. In the pageview and ratings driven media economy, too much of the content these days is designed to be just like junk food to quickly boost quantifiable viewership.” In the face of such a landscape Lam argues that there is an answer. “[Replace] junk media with more high end media, try using technology to work and read and watch faster. Then use that time to go explore the world or do whatever makes you happier.”

While it wasn’t the last time I did so, in 2008 I quit Facebook and Twitter cold turkey. I’ve since softened my stance on social media, but late last year I bottomed out in terms of dealing with my own contribution toward junk media, and I gave up on my day job. Not entirely unlike Lam, I grew tired of my own heartless contributions in the name of “content.” But taking that even further now, I’m growing increasingly tired with my own mindless consumption through connectivity and feel it’s time to do something about it.

With the time he’s saved from not actually unplugging, but plugging in more mindfully, Lam concluded that he’s found more time for cooking, exercising, reading, writing, hitting the beach and even mowing the lawn. And as I pursue similar online habits, with my time I hope to read a few books, do some writing of my own, dedicate time to exercise and play with my camera; all of which are goals of mine which I had already dedicated myself to pursuing anyway. And unlike trolling Facebook links, tirelessly crawling through my Twitter feed, or lazily browsing through miles of junk articles, I hope that I too will end up with some new outlets that will stand the test of Me.