How much time do you spend on high dopamine activities each day?

High dopamine activities are those that are engineered to pique and hold your interest. Video games, tv, social media, news aggregators, porn, etc.

Our brains are designed to prioritize the most interesting stuff. Back on the Serengeti, that made sense. There wasn’t much novelty, so when you found some, your hardware wanted to ensure that you were able to focus on it long enough to grok it. Will it hurt you? Can you eat it?

Nowadays novelty is ubiquitous. Interesting stuff is everywhere! Learning new things can be pretty interesting, but it will never be as interesting as stuff that’s literally engineered to be interesting.

The solution is to simply (ha!) remove those more interesting but less rewarding options from the equation.

You don’t have to believe me—it’s an easy hypothesis to test. Just quit ALL high dopamine activities, cold turkey, right now. Zero exceptions. In my experience, those relatively boring tasks become attractive again within mere minutes of dogged abstinence from high-dopamine activities.

I've feel similar. I've been quiet quitting at work. For me, I feel the biggest demotivational factor is that my career has never built off of previous roles/tech. It's always start over in a new stack. All the knowledge is basically thrown away. And also that management has screwed me over.
I would recommend starting with the basics: Sleep, Physical Activity/Exercise, Nutrition. I'm sure it can be hard as a father, but doing as much as you can to get these balanced will go a long way. You might also consider your social ties, who in your life (family and friends) do you have a strong connection with?

Then, try introspection. Start a journal and write in it consistently every morning or evening. After awhile you will notice patterns that come up. You may also want to review previous entries to find patterns that aren't immediately obvious. When you find a pattern, journal on it to investigate it further. You will be surprised what you discover about yourself through this kind process. Happy to chat about any of this if it's helpful. Email is in my profile.

I highly recommend setting aside time for meditation and physical exercise, follow up by reading books. In my case, reading books related to the field helps.

Additionally, consider any part of your workflow you could automate and then write the software to do so.

For me, these things help.

I recommend doing things with others. Having a social commitment to an activity drastically improved how well you do them! It’s called body doubling, or social facilitation.

You can use a tool like Double[0] to find others to do these things with if you don’t have people you already know.


Father of a toddler. I feel the same. Ever since becoming a father, I've been severely depressed and lack motivation outside of daily necessities for the family but nothing for myself. I don't mind being selfless but wanting something for myself I miss. I don't have an answer to this problem. I code for "fun" kinda necessary for home managing million pic/vid of the kid. My life isn't at all what it was before the child but then I realize I never really had a purpose in life before then either although I did it all; exercise, eat right even meditate. I don't do any of it now as I am a full-time father unemployed. I'm looking for a reboot of my brain. On particular how I view the world. Currently this very ugly world. Seriously thinking getting the reboot via magic shroom.
get as bored as you possibly can, put yourself in a situation where your only alternative to boredom is doing something that you think you can only do with motivation, figure out what that is, and then don't allow yourself to do anything but that, so if you're not doing that, you should literally look at paint dry, or be in an empty room (completely empty, no bed, no chair, possibly, no lights)

you can "nudge" instead of going cold turkey, set your phone to grayscale, turn notifications off, close social media accounts (or at least uninstall apps), stop binging tv shows (if you do), or watching tv, you probably get the gist of it, make it so that what to you now requires motivation, is the fun option

Parenthood is so stressful and time consuming it is kind of amazing people have time take on new interests. One coworker had some luck with raspberry pi projects with the kids, new learning for both of them, but not all his kids had the same interests.
If you see one person trip and fall on the stairs, you might say that this person needs to be more careful about where he puts his feet. If you see 10 people trip and fall on the stairs in the same exact spot, maybe you should start to question if there's a design flaw in the stairs.

This refrain about lacking motivation is something that I think all of us have been seeing more often: to the point where it shouldn't be primarily considered a "you" issue where better sleep/nutrition/etc might be the go-to recommendation, but a blaring alarm bell that something about society isn't really working well.

(The problem of course is that Teams Red/Blue/Yellow/Green all disagree about what needs solving)

This might sound harsh but, who cares about motivation. I'm not motivated everyday. But what makes you stronger is doing things when you aren't motivated. But I also believe in what marcusverus mentioned. Also, you do not have to spend hours on a task. Try to do one small thing a day or every other day. Could be 5 mins of learning, coding, or reading.

The other day, I was not motivated to work on my side project. But I needed to know how some small part of an external API worked. I dedicated 5 minutes to reading the docs. That 5 minutes turned into me implementing the whole thing.

You never know where a small bit of work that you do not want to do will take you. Just my two cents.

Been in this situation a year ago. i cure it by creating a new project i haven't done before.

i solve new problem, give support to it, made my user life easier. fixing the bugs.

thats bring my adrenaline back again

I'm no longer motivated either. I started doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because I thought having a more balanced life with a hobby outside of work would help. Well, I have become motivated, but only for getting better at Jiu Jitsu. It's like a cult and I'm totally sucked in. But I still don't care about work, side projects, etc. I'm a walking disaster, but I can rear naked choke like a boss.
First, you should find the reason behind the lack of motivation. After that find a way to deal with it (depending on the reason the solution could be different). Those tips helped me - hope you will find them useful too :)
Become a PM (product/project manager) at your company if you can. Less stressful.
Consider this angle: what if it's your intuition telling you that whatever you are doing isn't important and you should be focusing your efforts on something else?
Do you get sufficient sleep? While i am not in the same boat, life situation wise, I find that not sleeping well causes similiar issues.
If you're not interested, why force yourself? It's okay to let things go that no longer give you the joy they once did. Maybe a break will rekindle that spark, but maybe it won't!