When you’ve got a bad case of the Nopes.
I’m a go-getter, a hustler, a productivity-loving efficiency psycho. A weekend spent entirely on the couch stresses me out, and an evening post-work without some sort of errand, networking event, or appointment seems like a waste of a perfectly good few hours. New Year’s Resolutions really turn me on, so much in fact that this year I’ve been doing New Month’s Resolutions just to keep myself on top of my 2016 goals. Intense, I know.
But then there are days when I don’t want to do it. Any of it. Go to the gym, make my lunch, pick out something to wear, or even press “blend” to make my morning smoothie. If I somehow manage to make those things happen, I sure as hell don’t want to drive to work, interact with other humans, respond to emails, or make the effort to walk the 100 feet to the kitchen to get tea. Assuming I survived the day, I REALLY don’t want to have to reapply my lipstick and show up to an event where I’ll have to have my business cards at the ready and explain repeatedly where I work and what I do and rack my brain for a way to connect on the spot with some random human who I truly don’t care to add to my LinkedIn connections, no matter how impressive they’ve made themselves out to be.
I like to call this phenomenon “having a bad case of the Nopes”. When I find myself overwhelmed with an unavoidable pile of Nopes, ain’t nothing getting done that day besides whatever it takes to keep myself alive and from getting fired. Motivation, urgency, and inspiration all take a hike, leaving me as a shell of a person who once had so many items lined up on a carefully-curated to-do list.
The five stages of Nopes generally go something like this:
- Guilt - “I suck. I had so much I planned to get done today, and now I don’t want to do anything. I should really pull myself together, but just don’t have it in me. What a loser.”
- Anger - “I’m better than this! I love getting sh*t done, I freaking started a company called GSD Gal for crying out loud!”
- Concern - “What’s wrong with me? Am I unhappy with my life? Wait am I depressed?! Do I need more omega-3s?! This is so unlike me!”
- Acceptance - “Meh. I’ll do it all tomorrow, this is future Baily’s problem. I deserve a day of relaxation. No thinking, no working, no planning - this is great!”
- Antsyness - “ I’m bored. Maybe I’ll go organize the pantry, or brainstorm about future book ideas, or…”
At the end of the day I almost never stay in the Nope zone for more than a day, at most a weekend. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to lean into my Nopes, and take it as a sign that maybe, just maybe, I need to give the old brain a break and have a nothing day.
My dear friend Rachel, a self-proclaimed “Leisure Expert”constantly reminds me that I need to sprinkle a heavy dose of leisure in my hustle-heavy life. Her philosophy is that everything that matters happens when you’re not working, and that leisure success leads to work success, not vice versa. With that theory in mind, I try to be fully immersed in my Nope-ness, and give myself permission to embrace the Nope for as long as it wants to stay. In fact, some of my best bursts of innovation have come from a solid Nope spell.
So, if you’re watching the clouds roll in for an incoming big ‘old Nope thunderstorm, consider ditching the umbrella, laying in the grass, and letting the Nope rain down on you. You might just find that when the storm is over, you’re even more productive than before.
- *Note: this blog post is the result of one big, GIGANTIC case of the Nopes.
Baily Hancock is a woman on a mission to help people to find happiness in their careers by figuring out their best next move. She teaches workshops in Los Angeles and is currently writing a book called the “Career Experiment”. For more information visit www.BailyHancock.com or email her atBaily@BailyHancock.com.