Marco Arment is quite a guy. He’s the one behind the delightful Tumblr and the nearly-essential Instapaper, and when he writes, he writes well.

In some ways, I wish I were more like Marco - specifically, in the “why don’t I ever have good ideas like this?” way and the “how in the world does he get so much stuff done?” way. That second one was driven home by a not-so recent post that I read this past week. This is the part that stuck with me:

I often hear people defending their “guilty pleasure” habit of subscribing to awful blogs or reading tabloids or watching bad TV with phrases like “It’s good sometimes” or “It’s not that bad” or “I have to follow what’s happening.”

There’s only so much time in the day, and only so many days in our lives. There’s enough great work out there that you don’t need to waste any time with anything that isn’t great. [emphasis mine]

At any moment, there are thousands of things that I could be learning from millions of people that I’ll never meet. Failing that, there’s a dozen project ideas that I’ve had kicking around, and another dozen blog posts I’ve been meaning to write.

The part I have trouble with is the mental energy. When I catch myself wasting time reading FAIL Blog, or giggling at People of Walmart, or re-watching an old episode of The Simpsons that I’ve seen four times, I feel guilty because I know that it is a waste of time. I know that in ten years, I won’t look back and think, “I wish I had spent more time looking at pictures of puppies.” There are always more productive things to be done, but when I’m wasting time on those kinds of things, it’s because I don’t have the mental energy to build or learn something new. Doing something that requires more energy at times like that just feels like work, and that’s not the right mindset to have about it.

And so I’m caught in this dichotomy of understanding that some leisure time is essential, but feeling like it’s just not the best use of my time, but also knowing that I can’t really force myself to be in the mood to do something more valuable. In ten years, I know I’d rather look back with pride in my accomplishments than satisfaction in all that relaxing I did; how do I trick myself into feeling driven enough to do something about it when I’m drained after a long day of work?