The Difference Between Burnout And No Motivation

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The Difference Between Burnout And No Motivation

By Kayla Matthews   /     Dec 02, 2015  /     Work Productivity  /     , , ,

burnout vs motivation problems

Your motivation at work has hit an all-time low.

It has become a struggle to wake up in the morning, brush your teeth and drive to the office. Once you’re at work your productivity is non-existent and it’s a challenge to get anything done.

You simply don’t want to do your job. This feeling is affecting your professional life, personal life and overall happiness.

This feeling can come from one of two things: burnout or lack of motivation. It’s important to know the difference between the two, so you can make important decisions that will improve your productivity, happiness and life.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is a form of long-term depression that comes from the everyday stresses of your job. Although there is no definitive diagnosis given to burnout, it is widely accepted as an illness that is similar to depression.

Burnout is often caused by the repetitive nature of your job. You might get tired of the same commute, tasks or work environment day in and day out. This can cause you to resent your job and be miserable at home.

Burnout is common in people who are stressed at work, don’t love what they do, and poorly balance their work and personal life.

Signs of Burnout

There is no official diagnosis, so it’s difficult to detect the exact causes of burnout. However, here are a few signs that could tell you that you’re about to burnout:

  • You think your job is meaningless
  • You’re exhausted all of the time
  • You procrastinate work and personal responsibilities
  • You isolate yourself and withdraw from conversations
  • You take work frustrations out on family and friends
  • You’re either late for work or you don’t show up at all

If you can recognize any of these signs, you might be approaching burnout.

Difference Between Burnout and No Motivation

It’s important to distinguish the difference between burnout and lack of motivation. As you now know, burnout is a form of depression that happens due to the every day stresses of your job. Burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time of performing the same job over and over again to experience burnout.

This is different than not being motivated. No motivation means that you have no desire to perform your job. This lack of determination doesn’t come from the everyday grind of your job. This happens a lot quicker than burnout, because you’ll know right away if you aren’t motivated.

There are many causes that could determine your lack of motivation, such as:

  • No interest in the job
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of failure

How to Cope With Burnout and No Motivation

Burnout and no motivation are two different entities, so there are different ways to deal with them. Here are some ways to cope with and prevent burnout:

  • Take a Vacation or Leave of Absence. If burnout is caused by the stress of working too much, then a vacation is a perfect way to wind down and escape from work. It’s a great stress reliever, and — hopefully — you’ll be more relaxed when you return to work.
  • Make Healthy Choices. Exercise and a healthy diet can make you feel better throughout the day. Exercise is also a great way to relieve the stress that comes with work. Healthy choices can boost your productivity and improve your overall mood.
  • Talk to Your Employer. Your boss knows that burnout is a common occurrence, and he or she has probably faced this problem before. Talk to your boss and ask for some guidance. Your happiness is worth it!

If you feel like you’re dealing with a lack of motivation, here are some ways to increase your motivation:

  • Find Something You Care About. Money is very important, which may lead you to take a job that you don’t care about but pays well. This can lead to a lack of motivation. Finding a job you care about should be a top priority.
  • Set Goals. You might not be motivated because you aren’t driven toward any goals. Figure out what you want to accomplish in life and set goals to help get you there. You will find your motivation and productivity increase when you do this.

Are You Experiencing Burnout or Are You Unmotivated?

Figure out if you are experiencing burnout or simply a lack of motivation at work. Then take the appropriate steps to solve your problem and boost your productivity!

About Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!


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  2. Emilie Burke (@burkedoes) Says: December 14, 2015 8:26 pm

    I think you’ve misdefined burnout. Burnout is when you work so hard you lose the willpower to keep going and productivity decreases. It has less to do with depression. People who work for startups, for example, experience high-rates of burnout because they have to work so hard.

    Reply this comment
    • Kayla Matthews Says: December 15, 2015 11:15 am

      Hi Emilie,

      Thanks so much for opening up a discussion on this topic!

      Burnout is indeed often found among professionals who have to work very hard for their jobs. However, burnout affects more than just productivity. If often affects individuals’ emotional states and their general quality of life, similar to the ways in which depression does.

      In fact, in a recent study of 5,000 teachers, 90 percent that researchers identified as having burnout also met diagnostic criteria for depression. (Source:

      The thing is, because many, many people often think burnout is just like any other kind of stress at work, the emotional toll these feelings have on employees is often undermined.

      Thanks so much for reading and please do reach out with any other questions or comments!



      Reply this comment

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