You’ve probably had days where your brain just keeps saying, “I don’t want to work anymore.” This doesn’t mean that you’re lazy or that there’s something wrong with you, it happens to all of us – relax.
How do I know that it happens to all of us?
Well, because even Todd Rundgren goes through it. In fact, he wrote a whole song about it – Bang the Drum All Day.
See, there’s a difference between saying “I don’t want to work anymore” and “I don’t want to work today or right now.” On some days, you don’t really want to work because you’d rather be doing something else that you enjoy – like banging the drum all day.
But if you keep saying “I don’t want to work anymore” every single day, then that’s different and a bit more complex. Usually, people that are stuck in dead-end jobs or careers that aren’t really fulfilling feel that way.
A lot of people don’t like their jobs, that’s why they find themselves in a position where they dread weekdays and walking into the office, especially after sitting through hours of traffic very early in the morning.
What does it mean when you don’t want to work?
Not wanting to work could be caused by a variety of things. It could mean that you’re tired and fed up or mentally and physically drained; in most cases, it means that you’re unmotivated or burned out. Whatever your reason for saying “I don’t want to work,” pay attention to it.
I’ve read up on this a bit, and this is typically what it means when your entire existence just screams “I don’t want to work.”
When you’ve pushed yourself too far and worked crazy hours just to keep your boss or clients happy, you’re bound to get that “I don’t want to work” feeling. On the flip side, there’s also something called underchallenged burnout.
It’s exactly that – burnout that occurs when you’re underchallenged with zero job satisfaction can lower your mood and lead to that “I don’t want to work” phase. If this doesn’t highlight the importance of balance, then nothing will.
Don’t work too hard, but don’t forget to challenge yourself either. Got it?
Reality isn’t what you had envisioned
I had a friend who thought that after graduating from college, he’d immediately be living the high life. But he didn’t, well, at least not for the first decade after that. During those 10 years, he hated his job because it wasn’t living up to his expectations. It’s not what he had in mind about what his dream job would be like.
But isn’t that the case with a lot of people? Nobody graduates and goes straight to the corner office, unless you get there through nepotism or shady dealings. Expectations versus reality is the fastest way to fall into the I don’t want to work phase, especially if you’re a big dreamer with unrealistic expectations.
You don’t like your work environment
Hands up if you’ve ever been here… but you found a way around it, didn’t you?
Whether you have a problem with your boss, colleagues, clients, the general work environment… those can all lead to you developing that “I don’t want to work” mentality. Being in a job or workplace that you hate SUCKS!
Off the top of my head, I’d probably tell you to quit. But that’d be a very irresponsible thing to advise because I don’t even know you. Situations differ, so who am I to tell you what to do?
But what I will say is, being in a work environment you don’t like – or a toxic one – find an escape plan. FAST!
You feel like you’ve reached the ceiling
Setting a goal is great, achieving it is even better!
But what happens when you’ve achieved what you set out to and just feel a bit empty? More often than not, you could end up being unmotivated and uninspired because there’s pretty much no purpose to what you’re doing – or at least it could feel that way.
You’re uninspired and unmotivated
This one’s self-explanatory, so I won’t spend too much time on it.
Is it normal that I don’t want to work?
In a nutshell, yes. It’s absolutely normal – and quite common – to experience that “I don’t want to work” feeling. If you went into your job with the view of it being a vehicle to make money, then you’ll probably grow tired along the way. That’s why I’m big on having something that you enjoy on the side, as a way to escape the craziness of your job.
If your job doesn’t do it for you and you find yourself thinking “I don’t want to work” most of the time, find something that fulfills you – whatever it is – and do more of it to balance the scale.
What to do if you don’t want to work
When the I don’t want to work bug hits you, there are a few things you could do to get through that phase. Yes, that’s usually what it is – a phase. Sometimes it’s a phase that only lasts a few days or weeks, sometimes it’s a phase that drags on for a really looooong time.
1. Don’t quit
When you feel like your mind and body are saying I don’t want to work anymore, the first thought may be to quit – don’t. That’s the easy way out, but most of the time, you might just find yourself in a worse off position UNLESS you’ve been planning it months in advance.
Here’s something you might not think of when all that’s ringing in their head is I don’t want to work anymore: your job can be realigned to make you happy!
Here’s the thing, you’ve already spent years perfecting whatever skills are needed in your industry. Letting all of that go because of that I don’t want to work anymore feeling would be a bit of a waste, wouldn’t it? Find a way to get paid for those skills.
Also, think back to a time where you really loved what you do. Whether it was while studying, when you were fresh out of college, or when you got your first job. Surely you enjoyed it at some point, and anyway, you’re bound to become jaded and grumpy about it along the way. Just find a way around it.
That’s what I did, I opted for reduced hours because a full workday was just not working for me anymore. I didn’t hate my job, I just wanted to spend less time doing it. That might be the case with you, that might be the reason why you feel like you just don’t want to work anymore.
2. Focus on things that matter
Whatever it is that matters most to you, focus on that. It may be family, friends, your faith, whatever it is… focus your time and effort on that.
I know, this one may sound a bit like an airy-fairy tip for some people but hear me out. Your sole purpose and life goal could very well be just to be surrounded by those you love – which is cool.
It ties back to having a life goal, it forms a solid foundation for you and the basis of the direction that your life and general temperament will take. When you focus on things that matter, it centers you and will likely improve your mood.
3. Have a life goal
The “I don’t want to work anymore” bug may hit when you don’t have a life goal. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like when you don’t really have a purpose, then life can become a real drag. Even if it’s not a work goal, work is likely related to it somehow, so it will have an impact and may lead to the dreaded “I don’t want to work” feeling.
4. Rediscover your passions
Sometimes all you need is a reminder of who you are and what you love, which can help you get rid of that feeling of fatigue or not wanting to work. Our passions have a way of just opening our eyes again to what we love, which makes us happy.
There are different ways to go about this. You can spend more time with people that know you and what you love, you could spend more time on some of your hobbies and favorite childhood activities – just do whatever it takes to feel like yourself again.
5. Take time out
What if I told you that perhaps you don’t hate your work, maybe you just need a break from it? Valid.
If you’re at work for the majority of the year and you’ve been doing that for years on end… it can get tiresome and boring. It’s easy to mistake that for hating something when in reality, it might be a case of just needing some time away from it. It happens.
When you’re tired, it’s possible to end up focusing only on the negative things. The experts say you need to be intentional about setting boundaries and taking breaks. Do something fun. AVOID WORK AT ALL COSTS. It’s those little things that you do that could be the ultimate game changers that allow you to see life differently.
6. Re-construct your job
Reconstructing your job at your current location or by moving company to be better aligned with your vision of yourself can help you avoid that “I don’t want to work” feeling. Whatever industry you’re in, things are always evolving and improving – which can be exciting or daunting depending on how prepared you are.
One way around it is by taking some courses and focusing on an aspect that you like so that you can hone it. This could make your job that much more appealing to you and you could avoid thoughts of I don’t want to work.
If you don’t want to work, then you know what you should do? Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to add more meaning to your life if you don’t want to work or are just feeling tired. Of course, this one requires you to just forget about money. More than anything, this one is about getting a different perspective of life.
A lot of businesspeople volunteer or donate to a good cause to make themselves feel better and see their money going towards good. Helping someone in need can do a lot for your mental state. It can make you feel like a responsible and socially aware person, which is great!
If you don’t feel like working, volunteering can open your eyes to your purpose.
8. Explore a new industry
If you loved your job at some point, then that means there’s a love for it somewhere, right? So, you don’t have to let go of it completely.
The good news is, it’s possible to have a similar job but in a different industry (yessss!).
What do I mean by this? Well, if you’ve dedicated your life to number-crunching and want to continue in finance, then you could make the switch from working on Wall Street to a private company with a more relaxed company culture. A lot of companies have also adopted the hybrid work model now, and a lot of people love that!
A change of scenery and industry can be quite refreshing – like moving to a new place or trying a new sport.
How can I make money if I don’t want to work?
If you’re wondering, can I make money if I don’t want to work? The short and sweet answer is, yes. Yes, you can.
I can’t believe this is even an option – not working but still being able to make money? That’s crazy! But now that we’re here, in the digital age that is, it’s very possible.
Technology has blurred the lines between work and play, so you could earn from doing something you might’ve thought of as just a hobby. Depending on how much time you decide to dedicate to it, you may even be able to live off it.
You know what they say, if you treat it like a hobby, it’ll pay you like a hobby. But if you treat it like a business, it’ll pay you like a business. So, the ball’s in your court.
A lot of people may tell you about things like surveys or online questionnaires. Personally, I think those are a waste of time, tedious, and quite frankly, they don’t pay enough. Well, unless you just want to make enough money to buy a meal and some ice-cream for your kids… because that’s about all you’re going to make from such things ☹
Here’s how you could go about making money if the I don’t want to work bug has hit:
If you want to take your interest in gaming to the next level, then you might consider either establishing yourself as a credible voice by becoming a video game coach, game tester, or streaming and getting paid on a platform like Twitch. What I don’t particularly like about some platforms is they can feel a bit like a popularity contest – bleh! That part kinda sucks.
By that, I mean you get paid based on how many subscribers or views, comments, likes and stuff… Not my type of thing. But if you’re into that, go for it!
10. Rent out a few items
If you can afford to not have regular income, then this is a relatively effortless and easy one. If you’ve got property or assets that you’re not too attached to – rent them out. Now, the important thing here is to not be too attached to those items because letting other people use your things will wear them out – so be warned!
An example of this is if you’ve got cars that meet the criteria, create a profile and add them to an e-hailing platform. Get drivers for your fleet and you’re good to go.
Property is obviously a very good one. Rental property can be quite lucrative if you play your cards right (trust me, I know). It could very well propel you to early retirement.
Suits and other formal wear can also be rented out. Not everybody has appropriate clothing for prom, year-end parties, etc. So that’s a market you could tap into as well.
Next up on the list if you’re experiencing the I don’t want to work feeling is… passive income.
11. Build up sources of passive income
Rental property is typically viewed as a source of passive income, but we’ve already touched on it above. Also, between you and me, managing tenants could never be a passive activity unless you have someone who manages your properties for you. Then there are things like stocks and shares that you could look into.
The thing with a passive income portfolio is that you need to have planned it years in advance, they take time to build up, especially if you want them to be lucrative enough to live off them. Basically, once that “I don’t want to work feeling” creeps up way too often, these should already be in place.
With this one, a little bit of foresight and forward thinking is required 😉
12. Sell things you’re no longer interested in
Over the years, I’m quite sure you’ve acquired A LOT of assets, and you probably haven’t even seen some of them in years. Those are the ones you need to sell.
This one obviously isn’t a long-term solution, but it can buy you time to dedicate more time to doing things you love and rediscovering your passions. Assets like cars are typically not great to keep in storage, unless it’s one of those classic, one-of-a-kind type of cars, because they depreciate.
So, you could sell those and use that money on better things, like some sort of potentially lucrative investment. Also, I’m not big on material possessions just to look at, I need my money to work for me.
13. Digitize and sell your skills online
Okay, so you spent years in your industry before you started experiencing that “I don’t want to work” feeling, so put those skills to work and let them generate an income for you on your own terms.
You could package it all up nicely in an e-book, podcast series, whatever works for you.
14. Put your expertise to good use
There’s so much you can do in the digital age to put your knowledge and skills to good use, and on a flexible schedule. Becoming a digital creator is something that’s gaining a lot of traction.
Here’s the catch with this one, you must be able to speak in front of a camera and share your knowledge for those coming up in your industry. Whether you decide to start a YouTube channel or share videos on your social media pages, it’s quite possible to make money from that.
In fact, digital content creation is becoming one of the most popular career choices right now!
Another way to put your expertise to good use is to do consultations or training, you’d be surprised at how many young ones in your industry would appreciate the guidance and mentorship.
15. Monetize a hobby
“Find– Mark Twain
a jobsomething you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
There, I’ve fixed it.
Basically, if you can find a way to make money from a hobby, then it means you get the best of both worlds. Be consistent and work at it long enough and you’ll find that you’ll eventually be able to replace your regular income with it. That’s the goal, right?