Dealing With Work Apathy When Depressed

November 13, 2019 Mahevash Shaikh

For many of us who suffer from depression, there's one major depression symptom we have to deal with, especially at work. I am talking about apathy, or in this case, work apathy. Here's how you can deal with work apathy. 

Three Ways to Deal with Work Apathy from Depression

Don't Ask, Don't Tell - Keep It a Secret

We all tend to have at least one or two workplace buddies who we turn to when we need to talk, when we need some help, or even when we need to vent. It's important to remember that even though these people are your friends, there are some things that you should never share with them. And one of those things is the apathy you feel when it comes to your job.

The reason is simple: not everyone will understand that depression is the reason for your work apathy, not even those who have depression, as some people are lucky enough to not feel apathy even when depressed. Instead of being treated with compassion, you might be regarded as a lazy person. Worse, there's a good chance this will be spread as gossip, ultimately reaching your superior. Trust me, you don't want to be in the position of always being closely watched while you are doing the best you can to get through the day.  

Break Down Your Tasks and Projects Into Smaller Pieces

A big project or task can feel overwhelming when it is viewed as a whole, often causing the apathy to flare up, because let's be honest, it is better for our ego to not try at all than try and fail. To avoid this scenario, break down each task into as many sub-tasks as possible.

Make sure to put this up on a spreadsheet and color code repetitive tasks. The idea behind this breakdown is to make the task or project seem easier and more possible to accomplish than when the task or project is viewed as a whole. Putting this information on paper or its digital equivalent also helps you figure out where you should begin, whether you can ask for help or delegate something, etc. By tackling your task or project one step at a time, you have the best shot at overcoming procrastination and being productive in spite of work apathy. 

Create a Daily Report and Share It With a Friendly Colleague

If your work apathy is getting out of hand, thus making you unproductive, consider therapy and antidepressants. And in the meanwhile, find yourself a coworker you can be accountable to for the work you do on a day to day basis. Again, you don't have to be honest because chances are high word of your "laziness" might spread and make life difficult for you. So, keeping your own best interest in mind, tell a white lie like you want to share the work you do on a day to day basis because you want to keep track of your productivity.

Don't make the mistake of telling them to send in their own report because you don't need any more work on your plate. Plus, you don't need their feedback or notes. The mere act of having to share what you are up to on a day to day basis is intimidating enough to push you to work through your work apathy.

How do you deal with work apathy caused by depression? Share your tips in the comments

Tags: work apathy

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2019, November 13). Dealing With Work Apathy When Depressed, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 22 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

November, 13 2019 at 1:13 am

Wonderfully expressed.

Leave a reply