What to do if you don’t want to work: Common reasons and coping strategies

Guest Author 20.04.2022
what to do if you don't want to work

If you’ve found yourself googling “what to do if you don’t want to work” or something else along those lines, know – you’re not alone. It’s ok to feel less motivated to deal with your usual work tasks from time to time. There may be several reasons for it – from needing to recharge one’s batteries to considering a career change. And luckily, no matter what the reason, there are ways to overcome it.

However, before we go any deeper, there is a need to establish one thing – there is a huge difference between the feeling “I don’t want to go to work” and the statement “I don’t want to work anymore”.

Besides, the next important thing is that there is nothing bad or strange about both of these feelings. We all get them sometimes. The trick is to identify genuine reasons for your work fatigue and take further steps to overcome them.

Now, let’s look at some practical solutions for not wanting to go to work.

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I don’t want to go to work because I’m tired

tired worker

One of the most common reasons people don’t want to go to work is because they feel tired. And it’s understandable – many of us spend our days either working or commuting and by the time we get home, all we want to do is relax. But it’s often impossible as there are household duties, families to be taken care of, and other important things keeping us from getting proper rest. 

If you’re among people that don’t want to go to work due to constantly lacking energy, here’s what you can do to help yourself: 

  • Try to get up a little earlier in the morning so you have more time to relax before work. 
  • Take breaks during the day – even if it’s just five minutes. Regular breaks are known to have a productivity-boosting effect and keep your energy levels steady for a longer time. 
  • Think about ways to manage your time and tasks better. There are productivity tools designed to help you reach better productivity.

Not wanting to go to work due to feeling burned out

Burned out worker at the office

Burnout is no joke. And not wanting to go to work due to experiencing symptoms of burnout means it’s time for a longer break. Talk to your boss about taking several days off or even a few weeks to relax and recharge your batteries to be ready to return to work.

If you can’t take time off from work to recharge, try to find moments to relax during the day, such as taking a walk or listening to music during your lunch break.

Additionally, you can try to find ways to make your job more enjoyable. This might mean talking to your boss about changing your responsibilities or finding a new hobby that you can do at work that can energize you while being there – for example, starting a lunchtime walking club or a book club with your colleagues.

Note: If you’re experiencing prolonged tiredness without a clear explanation, don’t ignore that and contact a health professional. Fatigue can be a symptom of many physical and mental conditions that need proper medical attention.

I do not feel like what I’m doing matters

If you feel like your job isn’t meaningful, talk to your boss about changing your responsibilities or finding a new project to work on. You could also try volunteering for a charity that is important to you. This can help give you a sense of purpose and make you feel more fulfilled in your job as a result.

Lack of appreciation and gratitude from management can also be at fault for not seeing the meaning of your work. Logan Mallory, VP of Motivosity, employee recognition and engagement software, suggests that it’s worth going ahead and talking to your managers openly about not feeling appreciated enough: “They can get a sense of what you’re thinking and what you would like to see more of. Plus, it shows that you truly care about your job.”

I don’t want to go to work because I don’t see myself growing

Personal growth within one’s job is an essential factor for many people, and its lack can be a reason for not wanting to go to work. If you don’t see yourself growing, you should talk to your boss about your career goals and what you need to do to achieve them.

Two workers talking at the office

Your boss and leadership should be able to provide you with a plan and some guidance about how to move up in your company or at least see growth in your current position.

Many times, growth is about taking on new responsibilities and challenges. So, if you’re feeling stagnant, ask your boss if there are any new projects or tasks you can take on. This will help you grow as an employee and make you more valuable to your company. In addition, your leadership will appreciate your willingness to try new things for the company’s good.

Another possible option to try something new and feel your personal growth is to become a mentor. Providing lectures and workshops on the topic you are good at is a great chance to share your practical experience and get a clear view of what else you can do at your place.

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I don’t feel motivated

If you don’t want to go to work because you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s time to take a deep breath and assess the situation. Maybe there are some steps you can take to get your motivation back on track? Here are four tips to help get you started:

1. Focus on the elements you find enjoyable. Motivating yourself is difficult, especially when it comes to routine tasks you are fed up with. However, there is always something interesting and engaging in one’s job. Try to concentrate on the positive aspects and start every day with the process you like the most. 

2. Find effective rewards for yourself. Some tasks get tedious and stretch in time. Therefore, it is often helpful to find some external motivators for yourself. For instance, you can reward yourself with vacation after finishing a taught project or buy yourself something you have wanted for a long time.

Woman having a candy at the office

3.  Harness the influence of others. People often look around at others in close proximity. The actions of these people often influence us as well. Therefore, even sitting next to high-performing employees could be an excellent way to increase your motivation to work. 

4. Seek help if you need it. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, talk to your boss or a trusted colleague. They may be able to offer some advice or help you figure out a plan.

“Money is a big motivator for many people. If you’re not being paid what you’re worth, it’s difficult to stay motivated at work. That’s why it’s important to negotiate your salary. You’ll ensure that you’re getting paid what you’re worth, and you’ll be more likely to stay motivated in your job.”

David Patterson-Cole, CEO & Co-Founder of Moonchaser, knows a thing or two about motivation.

Many companies are not taking this seriously and focusing on other aspects besides salary for improving employee motivation by encouraging them to learn and grow, organizing events, gifting employees, providing fun workshops and sessions, etc. 

I regularly work overtime

Tired worker

Occasionally working overtime is a great way to get ahead at work. But if you’re constantly working overtime, and it’s taking a toll on your health or personal life, you need to talk to your boss about finding a better work-life balance.

“The importance of having a better work-life balance can’t be overemphasized. When you’re always working, you don’t have time for yourself or your loved ones. That’s why it’s important to change your routine and get into fitness. When you’re healthy and happy, you’ll be able to work better and be more productive.”

John Gardner, Co-Founder & CEO of Kickoff

It is easy to end up working overtime when you are not keeping track of your work. Another possible reason for overtime and feeling tired is multitasking  (e.g., from social media to your work tasks). Consider using a time tracking software like DeskTime to better understand how you spend your work time.

DeskTime app open on Mac computer

I don’t like what I’m doing

Another big reason people don’t want to go to work is that they don’t like what they’re doing. They may not be passionate about their job or feel like they’re not using their skills and talents to their fullest potential. If this is the case, it’s essential to take a step back and assess your career goals. Are you in the right field? Do you need to make a change?

If so, it’s time to start planning your career change. This can be a daunting task, but it’s doable with effort. First, you’ll need to research the careers that interest you and figure out what kind of education and training you’ll need. Then, you’ll need to create a plan of action and start taking steps to reach your goals. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it if you’re not happy with your current situation.

I don’t like my coworkers

A woman sitting under the desk

It’s perfectly normal to dislike some of your coworkers. In fact, it’s pretty much inevitable. However, if work relationships affect your work performance, it’s high time to figure out why. Maybe you need to set some boundaries with them or find a way to get along better.

Tina Hawk, SVP Human Resources at GoodHire, suggests you take a step back and think about why you feel that way.

“If you don’t like your coworkers, it’s probably because of one of two reasons: either they’re terrible people, or the company culture is bad. If it’s personal, there’s not much you can do except try to cope with the situation. But if the company culture is the problem, you can try to talk to your boss about it.”

Conclusion on what to do if you don’t want to work

Not knowing what to do if you don’t want to work is quite common. Try some of these tips and tricks and see if they help. By making a few small changes, you can make a big difference in your work life and start enjoying your job again. If the small tricks don’t work, consider a career change or take time off to clear your mind.

This is a guest post by Erika Rykun, an independent content creator. Erika is a career and productivity copywriter who believes in the power of networking. She enjoys reading books and playing with her cat Cola in her free time.

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