What To Do When You Have No Motivation To Work

We’ve all been there. No matter how disciplined you are, procrastination can be a pest. Sometimes you just can’t stay at your desk any longer. 

And when you’re in charge of a team, a big project, or just need to get the job done, it can be particularly worrying. But it’s not something to be ashamed of, and there’s no reason to believe that your motivation has gone for good. 

I don’t pretend to be an expert in human psychology or work discipline. However, today I want to share with you what I’ve learned throughout my career in business. Because succeeding in business requires a lot of hard work, and pulling yourself out of a rut might be a requirement at multiple points throughout your career.

Here is what I recommend that you do when you are losing the motivation to work.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up For It

If you’re a fan of people like Grant Cardone or Gary Vee, it might be easy to feel bad about not having motivation to work. While I appreciate these personalities, it’s important to remember that grind is not everything in life.

Sure, grinding is important, especially when you have a big goal you want to achieve. Starting a new business, for example, automatically means some all-nighters if you want to make it big, or if you simply don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to throw at a problem.

But we’re all human. Not having motivation to work is something we all feel at some point, especially when there’s a distraction we’d rather focus on. The solution is not to feel bad about yourself, as that will only make you less motivated to work.

So the first step – observe the problem, and don’t treat it as a tragedy. It’s simply something you go through.

Stop Working (…For Now)

I know what you’re thinking.

“But Phil, I need to work. I have to finish XYZ”

And of course, I don’t mean sell all of your possessions and relocate to a remote area to live off the land. But that task you’re focused on can wait awhile for you to take a break. Again, we’re all human, we can’t be expected to work like robots on an assembly line.

So not working can be a choice when you have no motivation to work. Instead, you should take a break to clear your mind. I found that when I have a lot of things to finish, and I just can’t sit at my desk anymore, going for a bike ride is the perfect way to recharge my batteries.

If that doesn’t sound like something you’d like to do, find something else to focus on. Take a break, and come back to your task energized. In most cases, you’ll be much more efficient after a 30 hours break, than you were if you just powered through your tasks.

Assess Your Objectives

Working mindlessly on a task will 100% demotivate you. If you don’t have a plan of what you want to do in the long term, what your objectives are, and what you value in life, that long email, report, or presentation will seem daunting, and you’ll quickly lose motivation.

Energy to focus and work comes, in part, from having a plan for the long term. It’s easier to stay motivated on a presentation when you know it brings you one step closer to securing an investment, which, in turn, brings you closer to the objective of expanding your business internationally.

That’s just an example, but the principle applies in everything you do. If you know where you’re headed, it’ll be easier to circumvent each obstacle along the way.

Understand Your Values

Here’s something interesting I heard from a coach recently: “Your identity is every single decision you take each day.”

So when you decide to skip the salad and go for a tasty burger, you’re slowly building an identity for yourself. The identity of a person who doesn’t eat healthily. And the same is true for work. When you just woke up and don’t really feel like getting out of bed, and then proceed to spend half an hour browsing Twitter, you’re slowly building an identity for yourself. The identity of a person who has no motivation to work.

So in your case, the question might not be “what to do when you have no motivation to work”. It might be more about what to do everyday, to have motivation to work constantly. That’s why it’s important to understand your values, and consciously make decisions to build an identity for yourself.

Think about ways in which you can be more disciplined. Decide on a healthy routine, and start building the identity you want.


I believe mediation is one of those things you don’t really see the value of, until you try it. You don’t even need to have any inclination for spirituality, or anything like that, because meditation works on everybody.

It’s simply put, a way to clear your mind. The clutter of daily life, distractions and tiredness can demotivate you pretty easily. That’s why meditation can be a great thing to do when you have no motivation to work.

But there are a lot of ways to go about it. You can try a guided meditation, and I’ve had a lot of success with this one in the past. If you’re just getting started, you can also try simply closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing until all distractions go away.

But don’t expect results from the get-go. Mediation is a skill, and I recommend you watch this video to learn more about why, and how to do it.

And Remember

It’s not always easy to figure out what to do when you have no motivation to work. Most oftenly, the reason you can’t get around to that task has a lot to do with your habits, routine, and life events.

Just don’t beat yourself up for it, and try to figure out a solution that works for you. That’s what worked for me, at least. What do you do when you have no motivation to work? I’d love to hear your responses down below!