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8 Things to Do When You Don’t Want to Work Anymore

8 Things to Do When You Don’t Want to Work Anymore

From shifting to a positive reward system to drinking some ice water, here are eight answers to the question, “What are your best tips for when you feel you don’t want to work anymore?”

  • Reward Yourself After Working
  • Find a New Sense of Purpose
  • Set Small Goals
  • Get to the Root
  • Shift to a Side Project
  • Be Mindful of Occupational Burnout
  • Take a Break
  • Drink Some Water
tired at work

Reward Yourself After Working

One of the best tips I could give anyone when they feel like they don’t want to work anymore is to make a plan to give themselves some kind of reward after they’re done working. 

This shouldn’t be looked down upon in any way, as every person at some point in their lives has felt they didn’t want to continue working for the day or work in general.

It’s completely normal to feel like not working due to feeling upset, tired, mentally drained, sick, etc.

professional finding her purpose at work

However, in the case they simply aren’t in the mood to work, they can always give themselves motivation and drive by planning to go get some kind of reward after they finish work. 

This can be a meal, a snack, a self-care product, doing an activity they love like exercising, or anything they personally enjoy that they can know they earned by finishing the work day and working hard.

Chris Hunter

Director of Customer Relations, ServiceTitan

Find a New Sense of Purpose

Everyone feels burned out at times. One thing that helps to overcome burnout is simply to reframe your thinking.

Finding a new purpose at work gives you a reason to get up each morning and put forth your best effort. It helps to overshadow whatever problem is making you feel like giving up and remind you that you matter. 

Finding a new sense of purpose doesn’t always come naturally; be willing to look for it. This might be enjoying working with a certain person, interacting with a certain customer, the location, or even the lifestyle your work affords you.

No matter how little, find something to be happy about. A small positive feeling can lead to another one, and another, and eventually outweigh whatever is bringing you down.

Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance

Set Small Goals

Feeling demotivated and lacking the desire to work is common. Try setting minor tasks and goals.


Rather than focusing on the big picture, break down your work into smaller, manageable tasks.

This will help you make progress and feel a sense of accomplishment, which can help to motivate you to keep going.

Kelli Anderson

Career Coach, Resume Seed

Get to the Root

No matter what tricks you use to mitigate your feelings unless you understand them, the problem won’t go away. Take some time to identify any factors that are making you feel you don’t want to work anymore. 

You may be bored with your current job, or perhaps your job isn’t paying you enough to feel inspired to work. With a bit of honest introspection, you may understand the reasons behind your feelings, which will put you in a better place to deal with them. 

Once you’ve understood your feelings, be willing to fix the situation, even if it may mean taking some big, less-than-comfortable steps.

If you can’t feel motivated to do a job, you’ll only end up doing it poorly. The success of your career hinges on motivation to do your job. If you aren’t feeling it, then it’s time for a change.

Shift to a Side Project

One thing that has really helped me is having a side project that I’m passionate about and that I’m working on for the long term. 

Whenever I feel unmotivated and like I can’t focus on my primary tasks, I take a break and turn my attention to my side project. It gives me a sense of purpose and helps rekindle my motivation to keep going.

I think it’s really important to have something that we’re passionate about, as it gives us a reason to keep pushing forward.

Be Mindful of Occupational Burnout

Feeling averse to working, now and then, is very normal and expected. Naturally, motivation can waver, excitement can fade, and the workplace can often feel mundane.

However, a persistent and intense aversion towards working is a telltale sign of occupational burnout, a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress.

First and foremost, you must determine whether you are feeling burnt out and seek support. Occupational burnout is a major predictor of stress-related health problems, reduced psychological well-being, and reduced workplace performance, putting you at risk of myriad problems.

You must be honest with yourself and determine whether burnout causes your motivational lull. If you aren’t burnt-out, then likely a change of pace is required, warranting an exploration of other employment options.

But if you are feeling the effects of burnout, you must seek external support and make your health the number one priority.

Business Psychologist, Test Partnership

Take a Break

My best tip for when you don’t feel like working anymore is to take a break. Taking a few minutes or even an hour can help to clear your head and reset your focus. 

Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or checking emails, try going for a walk or doing something creative like drawing or playing a game. This can help to break the monotony of your daily routine and get your creative juices flowing again.

Drink Some Water

Whenever I feel like I don’t want to work anymore, I drink an enormous glass of ice water. It’s simple, but it works. I get away from my desk for a moment.

professional man taking a water break

It takes my mind off of what I was doing for just long enough to get a little mental reset. And it keeps me hydrated. It’s amazing how something so basic can reinvigorate me to get through the workday.