Schedule a Consult

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Working

Aug 17, 2023

There are some days I prefer not to work. I would rather be resting and relaxing. When I work as an employed physician, simply not going to work because I do not feel like it is not an option I would pick. It feels irresponsible. That said, it is important to take a pause if you are in extreme stress, unbearable overwhelm or in a state when you do not think you can provide safe patient care.

What is the main reason behind you not feeling like working?

Identify the main reason for not feel like working. Is it a physical reason? If you are acutely ill, say, with a fever of 103 F, my advice would be to rest up and take the day off. Lack of sleep and physical fatigue are examples of physical reasons. Some emotional reasons include if you do not feel like working because you prefer not to interact with certain colleagues you do not enjoy working with, or deal with a challenging patient, or you do not think you have a supportive working environment. You may be burned out. Sometimes it is beneficial to just take a step back and take a mental health day to pause and recharge.

How often do you not feel like working? Is it once a month or almost every day?

If you can identify what the main reason is behind not feeling like working, then you can focus on that particular aspect. Unless your job allows you to take as many days off as you want, or unless you are switching jobs whenever you do not feel like working your current one, try the following whenever you do not feel like working and decide to keep going.

If it is a physical reason, use your judgment to ensure you are able to function properly. There is a fine line between pushing yourself to the extreme and the time to pause. Sometimes taking a five-minute break will just be the breather you need to continue with the rest of the day.

We do not always have to enjoy doing what we are doing to work. It helps if we find joy in the work that we do. That is why it is helpful to focus on the certain aspects of work which are gratifying and joyful. Most of us go into medicine because we enjoy helping patients. What part of helping patients do you enjoy? Do you enjoy the special connection you have? Do you enjoy learning the latest development of new treatment modalities?

Most people enjoy playing games. What if you make certain parts of your work a game for yourself? For example, set a time limit to see a relatively uncomplicated patient encounter. Of course, that includes quality work and taking great care of your patient. See if you can achieve that goal.

Set reachable goals for the day. Aim for a goal that is quantifiable and satisfying to you. This is another way to motivate yourself when you do not feel like working.

If you do not feel like working out of boredom, besides making part of your work like a game, you may also try to change your routine. For example, change the location of where you type your patient notes. Or use a different font. Or change the usual questions you ask your patients.

Remind yourself the WHY. Why are you doing what you are doing? If you do not feel like working in this job, why are you doing it? Remind yourself the reasons you choose to stay and work. Remind yourself why you choose to stay at your current job as opposed to quitting or finding another job.

Sometimes using someone else’s voice may help to motivate you to work when you do not feel like it. Remember your role models, people you admire. They do not have to be someone famous. They may be your family, your close friend or a mentor. What would they do? What would they say to you?

We are human beings with emotions. Different emotions at any given time. One cannot expect you to have the same motivation every day going to work. Find out why you do not feel like working that day. If this is a chronic feeling, reassess your work situation. Is there something you can change within the scope of your job? Is it time for change?

Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?


Get your FREE ultimate guide to combat burnout now!

Start your journey of clarity and to be true to yourself. Don't wait to feel better!

I'm Ready!