7 Things To Do When You’re Totally Not in the Mood to Work

no mood to work

Always not in the mood to work? Finding it hard to come up with the motivation to act? If this is happening to you most of the time, don’t worry, the solutions are in within this article. Continue to read on.

No matter what you want to achieve in life, it takes years of consistent hard work to be successful in your chosen field. The problem is that motivation comes and goes.

Some days you feel it and you’re totally pumped to do all the work. And on the other days, you don’t feel motivated at all. You totally don’t have the mood to work no matter how hard you try.

You can stare at the monitor screen and be in motion, but still not getting things done. You just don’t feel the motivation and you just want to do nothing.

So how do you turn from uninspired to totally pumped up? How do you force yourself to work even when you don’t feel like it?

When you know how to master your mood, you can master your life.

You can be successful in whatever endeavor you are pursuing if you know the secret of motivation.

Think about it. Successful people are successful because they choose to do the work even when they don’t feel like it.

On the other hand, the unsuccessful choose to procrastinate, quit, or do things that don’t really matter when they’re not in the mood.

In other words, when you take charge of your mood, you take control of your life. You can create the results you want because you know how to turn yourself into doing the tough work that most people don’t want to do.

And that’s what makes all the difference. Successful people choose to do the work even when they don’t want to. That’s what makes them successful.

This is what you’re going to learn. Below are the 7 methods how you can transform your mood – from uninspired to totally driven – so that you can take massive and consistent action to achieve the success you desire:

1. Break your goals into really small and actionable steps

I bet you have heard about this technique all the time, but are you doing it?

You see, when you’re not in the mood, it is difficult to get things done. This is because your resistance to the work is high. And therefore, you want to lower the resistance until you don’t feel like you’re working.

You want to trick yourself into taking action to build up the momentum. And once you have built up the momentum, you will have no problem taking massive action.

The key is in getting started. This is why you want to break down your goals into really small and actionable steps.

For instance, writing a 2,000 words article can seem like a lot of work. And when you’re not in the mood, this task seems overwhelming and you can stare at the screen for hours and still getting nowhere.

What you can do then is to break down your task into even smaller steps. How about just getting the introduction done?

If it is still difficult for you and you still don’t feel like doing it, how about making the task even smaller, like writing just one paragraph or just simply write down the title?

The key is to get yourself into action. You want to trick yourself into taking action so that you will build up the momentum.

  • Instead of exercising for an hour, how about doing it for just 5 minutes?
  • Don’t start with 50 push-ups when you’re not in the mood, just commit to doing 5 push-ups.
  • No motivation to read a book? Well, just commit and read one page.

The key is to get yourself into action. You want to lower the resistance by breaking your goals into smaller and more actionable steps.

Trust me, when you do so and you put yourself into action, you will slowly build up the momentum.

And once you’ve gained momentum, you will never want to stop. You will end up getting more done than you have initially intended.

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2. Bribe and give yourself a reward

One of the main reasons people fail to stick to their plan or their goals is because they don’t see the immediate reward from what they do.

Whether it is in losing or building a successful business, people choose to give up because they put in the hard work, but they don’t see any result from what they did. They expect to see an immediate return, and when they don’t, they feel dejected.

For example, if you want to lose weight and you sign up for a gym membership. After working hard in the gym for about 2 weeks, you don’t see any significant results. You don’t lose as much weight as you have expected.

As a result, you slowly lose the interest and you don’t feel the mood to workout in the gym anymore. Instead of going to the gym twice a week, you go only once a week. After a month, you’re still overweight. And you decided to let go and didn’t go to the gym anymore.

Sound familiar?

People crave for immediate results. However, success just doesn’t come overnight.

Hence, instead of craving for results, bribe yourself and give yourself a reward after you have poured in the hard work.

You don’t have to wait for your boss to give you the raise. You don’t have to wait for your clients to buy from you. And you certainly don’t have to wait for your weight to go down only to feel good.

You can celebrate your hard work and give yourself a reward after you have completed the task.

Give yourself a treat after going completing your task.

  • You can take an hour off to do whatever you love once you have completed the article.
  • If you work out in the gym, pamper yourself with your favorite coffee in your favorite cafe.
  • If you get the work done, give yourself a reward by having a great lunch in your favorite restaurant.

There are plenty of ways how you reward yourself, but make sure you choose the right way to do so. Read this article to learn how to properly do it:

How to Reward Yourself for Your Hard Work and Effort

3. Listen to uplifting music

Yes, music can change your mood.

I bet there are times when you felt driven when you play your favorite song. When you listen to your favorite tune, it makes you feel inspired and energetic. And when you listen to inspirational and uplifting music, you will feel the beat and become pumped too.

According to MakingMusicMag.com, scientists have discovered music don’t just change your mood and motivate you, music can:

  • Reduce your fatigue by bringing something new and fresh.
  • Increase stimulation through the connection between auditory neurons and motor neurons, which make you feel driven.
  • Music helps you relax and bring peace to your mind, which also boosts your concentration and fuel your body, mind, and soul.

Thus, music plays an important role in our everyday life. You can change your mood by listening to a certain type of music.

Studies have also discovered that ambient and natural melodies are best for productivity while light pop music can elevate your mood.

Hence, choose the right music to stimulate the mood that you want.

If you’re doing work where you need to use your brain to think, listen to music without a lyric. If you’re doing routine work, you can put on some pop and uplifting songs that will turn you on.

4. Just do it without thinking

Yes, sometimes you just don’t want to fall into the overthinking trap. You want to put yourself into action without too much thinking. In fact, the more you think about it, the less likely you’re going to act on it.

So, choose to work on the task without too much thinking. And guess what, you don’t have to wait for motivation to come, you just need to plunge forward and the motivation will come.

Like what I have mentioned above, you want to trick yourself to act so that you can build up the momentum and keep working.

And most of the time when you’re not in the mood to work, it is because you have been thinking too much. When you spend too much time thinking, it blocks your focus and lowers your productivity.

This is especially true if you choose to think about the problems and negative thoughts associated with the work. Like, if you think about how difficult it is to write a 2,000 words article, how mundane the work is, or how many hours it is going to take, you’re focusing on the wrong thing.

Instead of focusing on the negative side, choose to focus on the positive side, which is not easy. So, the best way is to choose to NOT think at all. Just work.

Like when I first writing this article, it is Monday morning just after a long Hari Raya Holiday here in Malaysia. I find it extremely difficult to muster up the motivation to write. I’m just not in the mood to write. I wanted to skip writing and do something else.

But I choose to continue writing. I just open Word and write whatever that comes. The first few paragraphs are difficult, but after a while, things become smoother. Ideas started to flow and I can write at my usual pace again.

And when I reached this very sentence, I’m feeling good that I have come a long way.

And as I’m doing research for this article, here’s an interesting quote I found from TheMuse.com:

To get motivated to start doing something, from my own experience, the most effective trick for me is to just do it (sounds trite, but it works). As soon as you think something needs to be done, jump into it, doing it immediately (of course, provided the conditions are feasible).

You must not think about anything else, suppressing all other thoughts, keeping your mind blank, acting like a robot. Yes, it sounds weird, but it does work! Otherwise, you will debate whether you should do it now or there were too many issues with doing it, or there are other more pleasurable and exciting things to do over this boring task.

So don’t think, just work. Like what Nike says, “Just do it!”

do it now quote

5. Focus on the success

No mood to work? Change your focus and think about how you’re going to feel after you have completed the work.

You see, when you don’t have the mood to take action, you tend to procrastinate. And when you procrastinate by doing things that don’t matter, you will end up feeling frustrated and guilty.

You know you need to get the work done. But rather than doing the work, you choose to procrastinate. It makes you feel bad.

Now, what if you can switch the thinking and the feeling? What if you have got the work done and feel good about it?

The thing is that you don’t have to wait until when you get the work done only to feel great about it. You can choose to feel it right now.

Like what Tony Robbins says, “Where the focus goes, energy flows.” When you choose to focus on the difficulty of the task or how inconvenient it is, you’re going to lose your energy to work on it.

However, choose to focus on the positive side, like feeling good that you have accomplished something significant, it will motivate you and drive you into taking action.

So, instead of thinking about how you feel right now (bored, no energy, fed-up with the task), choose to think about how you will feel after you get the work done.

Besides, you can focus further into the future by thinking about the success you want.

Instead of thinking about writing the article for your blog, think about all the rewards you’re going to get when you have built up a successful blog.

Imagine the end that you want. See yourself having achieved all your goals and are living your dream life. When you visualize yourself living the successful life you desire, you will feel motivated to do the work.

6. Move your body and exercise

Do you know that moving your body and exercise can alter your mood?

Many studies have found that physical activity can boost your motivation and elevate your mood.

According to this article on HelpGuide.org, exercise can lower your anxiety, stress level, and reduce symptoms of ADHD. Besides, exercise also boost your thinking, increase your self-esteem, give you more energy, and allow you to focus better.

Hence, when you’re not in the mood to work, move your body and exercise!

Hit the gym, go for a swim, go for a run, dance, go for sports, or do so yoga in your bedroom.

I know that it may sound difficult to exercise if you’re in the office. Well, you don’t have to run for rounds in your office, stand up and do some simple stretching helps to change your mood too.

The key is to live an active lifestyle. Exercise consistently.

Do you know that one of the most common habits of extraordinary people is their habit to exercise?

Read this book, What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, written by productivity expert, Laura Vanderkam. The book reveals the common habits of most successful people.

Vanderkam discovered that successful people spend time to exercise in the morning. This habit boosts their mood, makes them more energetic, and increases their willpower and motivation in coping with every day’s work.

Thus, make exercise part of your daily habit too. And if you need a quick shift to get rid of your lousy mood, move your body. Stand up and jump for 10 times, do some squatting, or push-ups.

When you move your body, you increase your blood flow, which will eventually turn your mood around.

7. Take a short break and do something else

What if you tried everything but still can’t find the drive to work on your work?

What if you try to just do it without thinking, but after 30 minutes you’re still not feeling the mood?

Well then, what you can do is to just take a short break and do something else. Yes, you read it right. Just stop and do something else.

You want to change your thinking pattern and come back to the task later.

Sometimes, you don’t want to force yourself into doing the work right away because you will waste a lot of time yet, produce half-baked results.

Instead, choose to take a short break and do other things. Do other work that requires less of your creativity.

For example, if you don’t have the mood to write an article, choose to create images using Canva or update your Facebook fan page.

You can always come back to your work later when your mood gets better. You just need to make sure that you don’t spend your entire day on something else that you procrastinated on your most important work.

Sometimes, you can also choose to take a 15 or 30 minutes break. Enjoy a cup of coffee before you come back to your work.

In my previous article, I shared about the importance of taking a short break according to research. And if you want to how to take creative short breaks during the day, I suggest you read this article:

13 Creative Ways How to Take Short Breaks During the Day

You have to understand that sometimes your brain and body really need to take a break. And forcing yourself to do the work will only make you burn out faster.

Of course, if you are working in a company, your boss will never want to hear you say, “Sorry boss, I’m just not in the mood to work today”, what you can do is to switch your tasks.

Choose to do other work first and then only come back to the one that you don’t have the mood to do.

Be creative in taking short breaks throughout the day. And more importantly, know when to take a break and understand when the optimum time is to do the most important work.


Your mood doesn’t have to control your day and your life. You can feel lousy or not in the mood to work, but you can choose to use the 7 methods above to overcome your lousy mood and do the work anyway.

This is what successful people do. They are the ones who control their mood rather than letting their mood to take charge of their lives. They choose to do the work even when they don’t feel like it.

You too can learn how to master your emotions, moods, and motivations. And when you do, success will be yours.

So, what do you think is the best way to overcome your lousy mood? What do you do when you’re totally not in the mood to work? Comment below.

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