When to Quit

There’s a lot of hype surrounding committing and not quitting, being dedicated to your work, and general over-busyness. But there are also times to consider quitting. Resigning is not giving up. It’s taking back your time and energy and using it for better purposes.

We all get frustrated or worn out, even doing things we usually enjoy. Work, volunteer opportunities, hobbies, and even family commitments can sometimes leave us questioning our dedication. The peace and joy you desire in your life should be a top priority. How do you know when something is no longer worth your time? Here are my top five signs that it’s time to quit. 

You feel frustrated more than fulfilled. 

I see this more in volunteer work than anything else, but it can happen at our day jobs, during hobbies, or at other times. Volunteering for church, at your child’s school, the food bank, or anywhere else can start feeling very satisfying and joyful. Somewhere, and for a myriad of reasons, that shifts. Feelings of anger and disappointment when it comes time to do the work are indications it’s time to quit. 

You regret the time spent on the work or project.

You agreed to undertake a specific task or activity, but wish you were doing so many other things instead of that task. This is a sure sign you need to look at what brings you joy and if this activity is still worth your time or not. Regretting the time spent doing something can cause subpar work. 

You put off doing the thing until the last minute.

Some of us are born procrastinators and perform better under pressure. (I looked in the mirror when I wrote that.) Even if you’re one of them, sometimes delaying a responsibility can be a sign that, deep down, you don’t want to do it anymore. To discern between personality procrastination and lack of desire to participate, examine other feelings surrounding the project. A pro/con list can help.

You feel tired, disappointed, or even angry just thinking about it.

While you could have any of these negative emotions around a particular incident, it’s when they become commonplace that you have to take a hard look at your role. Is it worth continuing to volunteer as the parent-teacher organization president when even considering attending the meeting exhausts you? Nope. Time to move on, friend.

Your work is not as polished as it used to be.

You may do the bare minimum or even less than required. Things aren’t as clean or complete as they could be, and you feel apathetic about them. When we are happy to volunteer, work, or do a hobby, we want to do it well. If you’re barely getting by, it’s time to consider quitting.  

How do you know quitting is the solution you need? Temporary annoyance or disappointment can happen anytime, so it’s essential to recognize what it feels like when you make the right choice. 

If you decide to quit before you do, take stock of your feelings. Feeling relieved, excited, free, calm, peaceful, or excited for the future is a sign you should quit. However, if you feel anxious or worried, examine the situation again and give yourself more time to decide before acting. 

Some things we quit will only affect us. Discouraged almost every time you sew? Maybe sewing isn’t your thing, and it’s time to move on to a different hobby. Hate running? Find another cardio activity that you enjoy. There’s no point in sticking with activities that make us unhappy; life’s too short. 

Other things we quit will affect others around us, such as our job, volunteer work, or family commitments. Does that mean you shouldn’t ever quit? No, but the decision will require more thought. Perhaps you can train your replacement at work before quitting or starting a new job. Maybe you can continue to volunteer in a minor role. Instead of cooking a big family meal every Sunday, cut it back to every other week or even once a month. This might be considered soft quitting, which differs from quiet quitting. It’s limiting the energy you can expand towards that responsibility. And it’s okay to do so. There will almost always be someone else who can do the job just as well as you and be happy. Another option is to decline the invitation to work when it is next presented.

It’s difficult to think of ourselves as replaceable. Sometimes, we aren’t. I’m the only mom my kids will ever have, for example. But I’m not the only person who can be the treasurer for the HOA. Someone else can step-up to run the senior grad night party. Sometimes I’m sad I’m not part of things as I used to be, but then I look at what fills the time that brings me joy and excitement. And then I’m happy I’m allowing someone else the opportunity and experience to be in the roles I used to enjoy. 

It’s okay to quit. 


  1. “Resigning is not giving up. It’s taking back your time and energy and using it for better purposes.” I love this quote. I feel like it’s something that should be said to others. Quitting before you start is something people shouldn’t do. But quitting is also something people need to do when they don’t feel fulfilled. Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Balance is important. Resigning is not quitting—you hit that nail on the head. Sometimes resigning is the only recourse when you find yourself being taken advantage of once again. I’ve been there and done that. Submitting that resignation letter was the key to setting myself free from those that sought to shackle me using my own work ethic. Thanks for addressing this important topic, Alena.


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