Productive Sickness (feat. k0v1d nint33n)

Being sick sucks, and if my cocktail of 500mg Acetaminophen, 200mg ibuprofen, and 120mg pseudoephedrine (plus any caffeine for caffeine users) doesn’t get me feeling better than ever:

Lower your expectations and have a backup plan.

The early stages of a sickness

You may have some warning shots, your spouse/kid/friends you hung out with are suddenly sick. Some article I once read said that taking vitamins before you are sick might help. I have, but I still get sick.

Create some reasonable expectations for when you are sick. Survive work? If its just a cold, sure. Fever? Get caught up on some TV/youtube. Get something done at home… ugh probably not, but bonus- and celebrate that win.

Make Money

You might be able to grind out the 9-5 job on cruise control and make money. That is a pretty good win considering the circumstances.

If you work in-person, your social responsibility is to stay home. But with work from home and masks being socially acceptable, it might be alright to continue working.

Passive Productivity

Non-fiction is the gold standard.

Despite getting an engineering degree, I never quite understood the difference between voltage and current until I was sick. Sure I could calculate each, but I didn’t really ‘get it’. I queued up 5 videos about voltage and current and by the end of video 2, I understood the difference between voltage and current.

Watching videos on topics you want to learn about is a great way to spend your sick sulking. You sack around, not moving more than a finger, and you brain consumes new knowledge. This is why I wrote this article – you might not be mentally and physically able to accomplish greatness, but you can knockout lesser things that you haven’t had the time for.

Mentally Active Productivity but Physically Beat

Depending on your state, you might be might be able to think somewhat clearly. You can read books and articles that you have set aside.

Physically Active Productive, but Mentally Beat

I had this happen a few times during k0v1d nint33n. I felt good enough to be a normal human, but I had a terrible headache. This gave me an opportunity to lift weights, following my workout plan. It also allowed me to clean the house and do yard work, living life on cruise control.


The point I’m making here is to use what you have available and know what tasks are available to you. Evaluate your current state and do whatever feels best but also accomplishes your goals.

I once read a quote that said something like “If you only do work when you feel good, you wont accomplish much.” I don’t think this person was talking about illness, but I like the idea to a lesser degree. Give yourself a break, but do it in a way that also knocks out your never ending to-do list.

Want an excuse to browse that website that rhymes with interest? Do it, but do it so you can solve a future problem.

Did your friend recommend watching some movie and you’d hate to tell them ‘no thanks, your tastes suck, I don’t have time for that.” Do it while sick.

You have a few hours when you know you are about to become sick, this is your time to plan. Visualize how you are going to be lying on the couch, visualize what you are going to watch. Make your productivity inevitable.