How to get things done professionaly at work when I'm very depressed?

75 Answers.
Last Updated: 01/22/2018 at 4:07am
Top Rated Answers
July 13th, 2016 9:31am

For me, one of the first things that goes when I am depressed is the ability to focus. Focus is a skill that can be practiced. Our brains have a finite limit of processing power. We can only focus on a very limited number of things at a time and use only a limited number of skills. One of the benefits of fully focusing on your tasks is that when you are fully adsorbed in a task the brain no longer has the resources to maintain the parts of your memory and personality that focus on the negative thoughts and feelings you are having. The positive psychology term for this is FLOW. The more often we are able to be absorbed in a worthwhile task, the more often the clock moves without us realizing it the happier we are overall. The happiest people on the planet experience flow almost daily. I can always tell when myself care is working because I will be working and look up and two hours have pasted. I feel contentment rather than happiness I suppose but it is longer lasting that simple enjoyment. Take a look at the documentary titled, "Happy." It is a wonderful look at what makes for lasting happiness across the world. I wish you peace. ~J

Take our free test to better understand yourself and Depression

Take this emotional wellness test! Less than 2 minutes.
July 8th, 2016 11:21pm

I understand what you are going through. I have been there myself. I would say you should just push yourself and think that "I will think about all that emotional stuff later. This is not the right time or place." So acknowledge the things that bother you don't block them or pretend but just put it to the side to to deal with it later. Also, I think you should do things that will help you in your free time or when you are not working. Go to the mall, watch a funny movie, hang out with people who matter, go on a walk, treat yourself, work out, go to the beach, paint, draw, jog, join a club, go on a camping trip, go on a holiday... the options are endless. The key is to do that things that you genuinely enjoy. So basically try to stick with you "happy and positive" routine. With time you will start to feel better. :) Hang in there. I have been there and I know from experience that things will get better. You can't possibly feel upset forever ;) Hope my answer helped and all the best.

January 21st, 2018 12:07am

Looking for answers on the internet...we've all been there. I just want you to know you don't have to figure this out on your own. I know this might not be something you want to discuss with your friends or family, but if you join this site you can get free, anonymous support from trained listeners and a huge support community. Nobody is here to judge.

September 1st, 2016 8:37pm

In order to get things done professionally at work when I'm very depressed I self soothe before I begin anything. Meaning that I take time to do comforting things like listen to music, drink coffee, mindfulness walks, and coloring, so I'm at enough ease to do professional work.

September 11th, 2016 8:47pm

It may sound a bit different, but I think this is worth a thought. Certain theme parks call their employees cast. If you think of your work self as a cast member, then you can try to think of work as a character. I tell myself, I am in work character mode, and I will deal with my personal issues at home. While I am on shift, I will do my best not to break character. A busy job can be a blessing because it accomplishes something, and it can be distracting.

October 28th, 2016 1:03am

The saying "fake it 'til you make it" sometimes actually works, if you pretend to be happy and professional and kind, etc., those feelings will actually set in and become easier to handle when at work.

July 13th, 2016 8:54am

You can try to focus on your job without thinking about your depression. I personally used to do this at school and it helped me a lot 'cause I was distracting myself from bad feelings.

July 14th, 2016 4:26pm

Separating your emotions from your work can help, set out a plan to complete, one that is both realistic and not too taxing on yourself.

July 15th, 2016 4:05pm

One task at a time. Sometimes directly telling yourself each step. Ex. "Pick up the pen" "sign the paper" "smile" "ask for a moment". Read or ask a friend to read about treating depression if u don't plan on seeing a doctor or if u have a far out appointment. Remember that people heal from depression... it's just a moment and u will get through it.

July 15th, 2016 10:18pm

I've found that leaving my problems at the door no matter how difficult it may be, can help me forget about the issues I face and allow me to have a good day, chatting with my co-workers or succeeding with written reports. Hope this small tip can help.

July 17th, 2016 8:29pm

Set goals however big or small is my key thing. It can be the smallest task but when you're feeling low the smallest thing can change your outlook completely.

July 24th, 2016 4:51pm

Try to don't think about being depressed at work. Maybe it will be easier if you'll think only about your work to do. I know it's hard but it might be possible.

July 24th, 2016 10:05pm

You have to mentally separate your emotions from your professional life. You have to focus on the positive side: You have a job.

July 27th, 2016 3:51am

If you are very depressed, then you might want to take a sick day and speak with a doctor. Otherwise, your plan of action ought to be to ensure that you are eating healthy foods, exercising, sleeping at night, giving attention to the people in your life, staying up-to-date on all of your responsibilities at home, such as financial. Avoid drugs and alcohol. Beyond these basic measures, you can use your senses to stimulate a more positive mood, seek out novelty, take breaks from work to recharge.

July 29th, 2016 11:26pm

No one will be able to help someone if he/she needs help himself/herself. Being depressed means looking or being affected by the negative aspect of something. A quick way to get rid of the effect of depression is shifting focus into something more positive and productive. My personal formula is telling myself that I am being helpful and productive and I should be proud of myself. Whatever is wrong should not stop whatever is right.

July 30th, 2016 3:29am

When I am at work, I take a few minutes to take a deep breath, meditate and pray and then get back to work. If I was severely depressed, I would do that and take my medications that my doctor prescribe.

August 11th, 2016 5:07pm

You can't work efficiently if you're not feeling 100% and every employer should realise this. You are entitled to have time off work to try to get back to a more stable version of yourself or see a doctor about your depression. It may be time to take a break for your own sake.

August 11th, 2016 11:18pm

Work through individual tasks and see them as set goals to achieve. Try to keep thoughts set on the task at hand. It's useful to focus on jobs that need to be done, when you feel depressed. Use a tick list to help you realise what you have achieved! you should feel a sense of management and a way of focusing while at work. Keep in mind that you will get some time during the day to switch off and allow some time for your thoughts or simply rest.

August 12th, 2016 4:56pm

It's best to take some deep breaths and try to relax. Practicing mindfulness and meditating can help relax you while in a public area. It's best to not try to push yourself too hard while you are feeling depressed, otherwise your feelings of depression will get worse. So just try to slow down and focus on one task at a time.

August 13th, 2016 10:26pm

That's a tough one. For me, what I had to do was use my time outside work to make sure I did tonnes of self care stuff, why I did was exercise for an hour three times a day, drank nutrient packed smoothes,( I found eating to be difficult), and did mindful breath awareness exercises and tried to sleep, my days were consumed with it, and I lost friends, and had no fun., I was trying to stay well and alive, but what was the point with no friends or reason to enjoy this place. So I took time off work, got my meds straighten out a bit and now can exercise less and get away with it. Only three times a week. It took me 6 months in and out of the Hosp, but glad that I can manger a better life. Has to get a new job, though. That was unfortunate. We la vie! Hope there is something in that we that you can use in your life

August 17th, 2016 5:15pm

being professionally at work is hard when you have troubles/problems. but you must set aside your feeling in work. you should enjoy doing your work, because it can benefit you someday. if you cannot handle your depression I suggest that you should visit a professional therapist to help you.

August 17th, 2016 11:10pm

It can be scary to recognize your depression and realize that it might affect your work. For me, the biggest thing was to have compassion for myself - if something didn't get done as well as I would have liked, I try to let go of any guilt around that by reminding myself that if anyone else were in a similar situation, I would not think any less of them or their work.

August 24th, 2016 10:38pm

focus on your work and keep your mind busy can help you to deal with the depression :) so, put your mind in work and help you to heal

August 26th, 2016 10:25am

When you are depressed you do not think right. It is like any other illness which needs to be fixed before you are able to perform to your full potential. Take time off and get better. That will show you are acting professionally.

September 1st, 2016 8:33am

I think I feel more calm when I am going to help other people, Then I will start forget my depressing piecemeal.

September 5th, 2016 10:55pm

I think, the only way is to not emotionally attach to things. Just do it don't think much about it!!

September 8th, 2016 3:29am

When I'm very depressed I try to keep myself busy and be kind and understanding to others, also I try to keep in touch with people I love.

September 10th, 2016 2:52pm

Always think about the great times you had/have. It'll cheer you up, it works for me. You can do it!

September 10th, 2016 2:57pm

You have to leave your dirty clothes at home because no one will wash it once you're at work. Don't let depression gets the best of you and always remember if you let depression take over you lose. Keep positive vibes and seek help

September 10th, 2016 6:20pm

Focus on your breathing then focus on what you are doing. Extreme emotions steal your focus away from your work but you can also take your focus away from your emotions with your work.

September 14th, 2016 11:44am

Focus on whatever amount of time you feel you can. For example, if you feel you can handle the next 5 minutes working on your project, take it 5 minutes at a time.

September 22nd, 2016 2:04pm

Get your mind off the things that worry you and focus on positivity and know that you can do it πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

September 24th, 2016 8:09pm

I don't know. Just keep doing it. I'm depressed all the time anyway. there is nothing i can do about it.

September 25th, 2016 7:41pm

Fake it til you make it. When you got home, cry your heart out and try to connect with anyone as much as possible to suppress the feeling of being lonely.

September 26th, 2016 8:36pm

First of all I guess we should stop feeling sorry for ourselves, we are here, we are alive and we have a job! we like it or not is something we should be proud, it should be something we should appreciate and therefore no letting thing get unbalanced because I'm having a bad day. Since I'm sad, i should try to focus on the other side of my life, on my responsibilities and when I'm getting things done and well done, somehow it will work it's way out. Feeling bad with other part of my life should be a initiative for not letting down other side of my life

September 29th, 2016 10:55am

Drink some orange juice and watch a few cat videos and make sure you exercise. Those things might be able to cheer you up! :)

October 1st, 2016 9:31pm

Retain a clear and focused head at all times when dealing with work. It may seen difficult in the long run however by having something that you can focus on, it will aid you in your road to recovery.

October 8th, 2016 3:40am

Just focus on the work and try to keep your emotions out of it. sometimes just focusing on the task at hand helps get stuff done without adding emotions to the mix.

October 12th, 2016 5:10am

Invest yourself wholeheartedly in your work. Try not to focus on the fact that you are feeling depressed.

October 19th, 2016 9:40pm

If you feeling particularly overwhelmed by the amount of work that you have to do split some of your tasks into smaller tasks and instead of having to do list or in conjunction with having to do list create a 'Achieved' list so that even if you haven't managed to do everything in one day you can see the things that you have accomplished and take pride in that every goal starts small

October 23rd, 2016 8:09am

When feeling depressed or even a little down, you have to first acknowledge that you're not functioning anywhere 100%. Acknowledge that and do the best you can.

November 3rd, 2016 7:23pm

In my experience, it has worked to just focus on one small thing at a time, such as "if i dont do anything else today, im going to complete this one small task." and taking it one step at a time. You need to also try and relax the expectation you place on yourself, and allow yourself to just do the best that you can do at that time, dont hold yourself to the same standard that you do when you are feeling up and more in a positive headspace.

November 10th, 2016 2:27pm

Sometimes it's just better to take a break and take things more slowly. Especially in a case of being very depressed.

November 12th, 2016 10:31pm

Reading Self-Help books such as "Feeling Good" and changing your diet to include more plant foods could help you feel better and be more professional at work.

November 19th, 2016 5:46pm

Be open and honest about your wellbeing. You may need time off or a break to rest and recover. Speak to the doctor and get the appropriate support and medication. Work can wait but your health is the priority. You wouldn't work with a broken arm or leg.

December 11th, 2016 9:21am

If possible, play some funny comedic radio show or listen to some uplifting music. Jokes are always funny even if you do not laugh out loud, you may chuckle on the inside

December 15th, 2016 12:26am

The satisfaction youll feel afterwards will be such a pleasant feeling. Also take deep breath and tell youreslf to concentrate now for the sake of your very own well being, because you deserve to feel acomplished no matter how big or small the task is, whether youre giving away flyers or managing a big project, its your task and you can do it and you know you have tried your best!

January 5th, 2017 10:41pm

This can be a challenge. The best way I handle my heavy depression moments are by understanding my limitations and adjusting my goals accordingly. I like to come from a place of "I will not always feel this way, but for now I will take care of myself and understand that my energy levels are not at their highest peak." Give yourself simple tasks and take a moment after they are complete to feel the satisfaction of having finished something. Treat it as though you are physically injured and have to take things slow for the sake of your well-being. Hopefully you are in a work space where you are supported, but even if not (and especially if you are not feeling supported) go ahead and support yourself. Trust that you are doing what you can, to the best of your ability at this moment and let that be enough. The fact you made it to work is a triumph in itself with depression. Good luck and great job.

January 12th, 2017 2:34pm

It is very beneficial to take day off for your mental health if you are struggling greatly. Mental illness is no different than any common contagions in that they make it difficult to perform your usual activities.

March 1st, 2017 12:53pm

The most specific advice I could give here is to exercise. If you find your thoughts wandering off to dark corners, take a 5 minute time-out from your work. Go outside, get some fresh air, change of scenery, and do a little bit of running or body training. Once you come back in you might have shifted your focus, and return to your work with better concentration.

March 11th, 2017 5:08am

The responsibility is on you, you are special and only one who would do it, people look hopefully in you. Take a break and cheer yourself up before doing any work.

April 5th, 2017 2:16am

I would suggest listening to music and drinking water, whilst talking to mates whilst doing this :)

May 11th, 2017 1:45pm

If I'm depressed at work, I just take my tasks and do them one at a time until complete. I try to focus on what I'm doing in the hopes that it will take my mind off whatever it is that's causing me to be sad and/or depressed.

May 13th, 2017 1:16am

Treat your future self as a friend. What you do today echoes through the rest of your life. It can be hard to push through, but you'll thank yourself later for doing a good job! You should also talk to someone, whether a friend or a stranger or a professional, but don't let feeling down get you down. "Fake it till you make it" isn't a good long term solution, and you should still seek help, but it will get you through the day.

May 21st, 2017 7:08am

The "half-smile." Smile only with your mouth (as opposed to a genuine smile which includes the use of your cheeks, eyebrows, and forehead). This will in a way trick your mind into thinking you're happy, and then the half-smile turns into a real one. Also, academic research has found that good posture promotes happiness during depressive episodes.

June 4th, 2017 11:52pm

You can try and think positively, and tell yourself that your helping people and yourself by doing the work that your doing, it gets hard and sometimes you have no motivation to move or do your work, but you have to push forward and stay strong

June 27th, 2017 9:37pm

Plan your days, I find that a To Do List is of great help when I don't feel so in control. It helps with tracking own goals/targets and helps ease anxiety as you tick tasks off. Also, be very clear on what the deadlines are and ask for immediate clarification when you feel stuck.

July 26th, 2017 1:25pm

This is a very difficult thing to deal with however the fact you are depressed and still going to work you should feel very proud about that. Try before work doing some meditation or long walks soothing music. Try finding your passion for your work again. Remind yourself why you applied for your job.

August 11th, 2017 6:40am

You have to find your point of focus. Staying active can lead to lifting oneself out of depression. It helped me on several occasions. Finding that point at work which motivates or helps push you to completing work is very important for getting things done in the midst of depression.

August 12th, 2017 10:42am

People may say that you never bring your personal life into work. Well, in a way, it's true, but at the same time, you don't necessarily have to live up to that. Emotions are normal; we're all human after all. Sometimes, all we need is to take a deep breath, and figure out what exactly is bringing us down. Keep reminding yourself that you are worth it, that you can do it, that you are enough, and that all things are passing. The hardest thing to do is accepting what there is now, but that does not mean we forget what that is. Know that nothing is forever, and keep in mind that bringing yourself down won't get you anywhere, so as hard as it may be, never forget that you are enough, and that you can do it.

August 19th, 2017 10:00pm

When I suffered depression and was working I first went to see a doctor to get some help. I told them my situation and I was prescribed anti depressants. I then spoke with my manager and told them what was going on. We meet some where outside work and I told them everything. I then had some time off work until I got used to the pills. I went back to work and was really honest about my situation and everyone was really supportive. They actually helped to get me through it and working really helped. I also saw a counsellor and started using mindfulness to stop my mind spinning out of control. The doctor advised me to take the pills for min of 6 months. It was hard but things improved. The mindfulness really helped and the pills helped me coped as I worked through things.

Recent Answers
January 14th, 2018 6:07pm

Try to take it one step at the time. If you feel to depressed or sad, seek for professional help and try to work things out.

January 11th, 2018 3:56am

It is hard to get things done sometimes when you're very depressed. Set yourself reminders and small goals. For example if you've got something due at the end of the week, try to set reminders to work on it. Try to work on it for maybe 15 or 20 minutes at a time so you don't overwhelm yourself and take breaks. If you've dealt with depression before, try to find what has worked for you in the past and see if that has worked. It's also never a bad thing to speak to a Doctor about depression.

January 10th, 2018 7:24am

When I have this problem I ask for help. We all have bad days, or even bad weeks or months, so we all understand that it's not always going to be peachy. Being honest with a co-worker or even a superior can be a good thing to make sure when things pile up at work you don't get overwhelmed.

December 23rd, 2017 7:17am

Focussing on small goals can help, as can taking regular breaks if you're in a position to do so. Being active and getting stuck into work can feel like the last thing you want to do when you're depressed, but sometimes it can be one of the most helpful! Remember, your depressed mood is there, but it does not have to stop you doing things at work. It is also a good idea to see a trained therapist, at 7 Cups or in your area for more support as there are some therapies that can really help with feelings of depression.

December 22nd, 2017 6:59pm

The best way to get things done when you're at work and depressed is only to try remaining focused , because when you're focused and know you have to complete a task you've begun , only then your mind will be preoccupied and you won't have time to given to the thoughts/feelings that are making you feel more dull/low.. I know motivating yourself can be hard , try picking up a song or talk to someone and tell them how you feel , probably they'll understand and motivate you to complete tasks and get you to continue being busy.. :) Take care , you can do this :)

December 7th, 2017 3:07pm

Imagine yourself being a robot. Have a routine in place, so even when you are depressed and don't feel like doing anything, you follow the routine. Another thing to keep in mind is to break down a big task into smaller ones. That way you get the sense of accomplishment more often.

November 23rd, 2017 3:13pm

If you need to take a break, take one. A lot of the time we just try to push through our depression (which can be good, don't get me wrong) but sometimes we just need to relax and check in with ourselves.

November 22nd, 2017 4:05pm

If you depression is affecting your ability to work, you need to see a professional. A therapist or doctor can best help you overcome your depression and increase productivity.

November 19th, 2017 12:38am

I understand how hard it can be to stay productive while fighting depression. This could be a good question to ask your counselor, if you have one. Personally, I feel that it can be very helpful to do something, such as listening to music or watching a short video, in order to completely distract yourself from your sadness. Next, just start working and try to keep your mind away from your depression for as long as possible. You could set a timer and tell yourself that you'll just work as hard as you can for 10 minutes. Normally for me, I continue to work productively even after the timer goes off. If your depression is seriously affecting your working abilities, it might be a good idea to seek professional treatment. Recovery is worth it!:)

November 16th, 2017 3:25am

When at work personal things have to be put to the side, the easiest way to do so is engage with other workers talk to them. If you’re feeling sad talk to another trusted worker

November 15th, 2017 3:20am

It is always best to talk to HR about issues such as these. It may even be wise to speak to your boss. When you are dealing with mental illnesses, people who supervise you will generally understand and try their best to empathise with you. Just ensure you get the help you need, whether it be from a doctor (medicine, therapy etc) or just by keeping yourself relaxed. Since it is a job, you don't want to lose it. But try to remember to keep depressive thoughts at bay where you can.

October 28th, 2017 3:58pm

Wow, this can be tough. I think the important thing, when one is "very depressed," is to reach out and get as much help as possible. I recommend working with a pro (therapist or physician) and talking often with listeners at 7 Cups (of course!) and reaching out to reliable, supportive friends and family. At work, too, it's good to reach out for help--and see if others can help with projects or deadlines. When possible, it might be good to take time off or try for a lighter schedule. (However, it can be tricky to disclose mental-health conditions to certain employers, whereas others are wonderful about it and have Employee Assistance Plans to help employees get through tough times. Some states and countries have laws that provide protection, and some do not.) As for tips for getting through the day, I could say things like, Try to get some sleep and eat healthy food and definitely get some exercise to keep the fog at bay -- but when a person is very depressed, this can feel terribly hard to do! So, when depression gets very bad, I think it's time to consider seeing a physician and using appropriate sleep aides and other therapies and medicines that can give relief. And ... yes, depression can make it awfully hard to reach out for help, but it's crucial! Please don't try to "tough it out" alone. There are people like the listeners at 7 Cups who are waiting to help.

October 1st, 2017 6:39am

Depression can feel like a cloud over our head, and it can be tough. Especially when it is sunny outside, and everyone else is enjoying the sunlight. It may seem like you are the only one under dark skies, but you are not alone! Many of us keep pushing through, just like you! I would suggest adding small rewards to your everyday life. If you get through today, then you get (insert reward). You can decide based on how hard that day is, how big your reward for getting through it will be! So, if you are having a really tough day, that just means you will get a really great reward if you get through it! Sometimes the reward might not help anyway, and that is okay. Reward yourself for trying. You deserve it!

September 3rd, 2017 9:01am

Motivation is an indispensable thing that helps you to keep working although you are depressed. How about finding one for you together?

September 3rd, 2017 6:45am

When you're feeling depressed, it's understandable that you won't be motivated to do every task, unlike how if you were feeling fine. So, please have a to-do list in mind, that has the essential and important tasks only. It is important for you to focus on them, and not on the negative thoughts during that moment. Think about what you're going to do next, after the first task. That way, you can distract your mind from the depressive thoughts, and you'll feel better for finishing some work as well.