There's a big difference between feeling drained and feeling spent.
When you feel drained:
- You have little to no energy left, even though you have a hard time listing the accomplishments that wiped you out.
- You feel irritated, you feel like you just lost something, or were half present/half scattered throughout the day.
- Thinking about tomorrow makes you ache; you can already sense that suffocating feeling.
When you feel Spent:
- You are pooped, but you're also energized and wouldn't mind doing it all over again.
- You could honestly go on for a little longer. You have worked long hours and used up everything you got, but it doesn't feel like that…you are in your second, third, or fourth wind.
- You don't realize how much you just put out there. You were in the zone, and lost track of time, energy levels, and every other worry you had.
- You can clearly visualize how tomorrow will feel, and it feels good.
If you do work that challenges you to be creative, take ownership, and follow a sense of purpose, then you will feel great. You will feel Spent, and feeling Spent is a close cousin to fulfillment and zest.
How do you get Spent? Here's something I am trying out and has worked well so far: become more aware of those times when you felt Spent–when you were in the zone, entranced by what you are doing, and cared about the work in a really deep way. (That, actually, is the hardest part for me, knowing when that good feeling is happening). Keep a log listing every time you felt this way, and after you have a nice list go and make a nice cup of coffee, block out a Sunday morning, and look at that list real hard. Think about the key ingredients, the things that jump out over and over again. And once you start seeing the Matrix, look for opportunities in life that have those key things in them. Overflow your cup with Spent stuff, you can honestly never have enough.