Climbing out of a rut

This summer kicked my ass, but I’m not going to let it keep me down.

I’ve been gone from my work for almost seven weeks. Just up and left without telling a soul. Occasionally I waved from a boat speeding by just off shore but it was only a fleeting thought.

I wish I could say it was a strategic decision to unplug, recharge and sharpen my focus. It wasn’t. The lazy days of summer sucked me in and shoved productivities head in the sand.

Physically I’ve been spending time with family and friends, eating too much, drinking too much and sneaking naps in the hammock as often as I can. Mentally I’ve been adrift in a cesspool of overthinking and regretting my acute lack of action. Relaxing turned into being lazy which became an epic rut.

Today we’re back to a regular schedule with the kids going to school and the wife going off to the office. That means close to 6 hours of me, alone in the house. Coming off 7 weeks of sloth it could spell disaster. Picture me lounging on the couch watching movies and eating fried chicken.

A fat slob on the couch is not what I want to be. But the doing nothing rut is an incredibly hard one to get out of (I’ve been trying for weeks). When you try and get out if it and fail, you reinforce the attitude that got you in the rut to begin with.

I need to take action, but focusing on getting out of my rut keeps my mind on the rut itself, keeping me mired in sloth. So I decided to list a few positives I remember from daydreaming this summer.

  1. I have at least 5 solid story ideas that I want to write and obsess over. Writing every day should be easy.
  2. I’m still selling books. Not many, but selling stuff while you slack off is the dream that internet scammers thrive on. With work I can sell more.
  3. I have resources, mainly time and technology, but my bank balance is positive too. No need to start from 0 or bootstrap.
  4. Most importantly I have my why. As my wife transitions from working out of the house to commuting over an hour each way I’m reminded that it’s time for me to up my financial contribution to the family.

When Jen worked from home we would see each other in the kitchen, pop in to chat and occasionally go out to lunch. It was easy to trick myself in to thinking that we were both doing this casually successful self-employed thing. The whole time she’s been busting her ass in a corporate job, following someone else’s schedule and jumping when they say jump. She deserves the option to disappear for several weeks.

For the last few weeks I’ve been pouring through self-help articles and blogs looking for the trick, tactic or tool that is going to get my ass in gear. At the end of the day the thing that keeps coming back to me is Jocko Willink saying that sometimes you just have to decide to be tougher. There is no tip or trick it’s just a decision you have to make for yourself.

Reminding yourself that you are capable of doing things is great, but the only way to achieve anything is to actually take action. Starting today I’ve decided it’s time to be tougher and do more.


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