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Move Back Into Your House

Move Back Into Your House

I’ve got this crazy notion that comes partly from living in a space that is basically one big giant room (a loft). The house has been a little messy lately, and no matter what we do, it’s just not coming back to a state of “organized” lately. So I’ve got this thought. Bear with me. I think it could be useful to anyone’s house if you’re feeling that you can’t seem to reset, and that clutter is dominating your time.

Prework: buy some totes like Rubbermaid 18 Gallon or similar, and some housecleaning products, big trash bags, and some beer and pizza.

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Move Out, Move In

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  • Clear One Room Out Totally– You heard me. Move everything out of one room, down to the walls and the floor. Unplug everything. Remove it all. Pretend a bomb blasted that room, worker elves came, and now here’s what you have left.
  • Clean the Room – Clearly, you can never get to all the dust and grime that sneaks in around things. Give it a good scrubbaroo while there’s nothing to get in your way. Pretend this is your first “real” place after college. Make it sparkle.
  • Replace Things Sparingly– Going with the bomb blast idea, what do you think you might be able to live without? Try storing that in the Rubbermaid totes and sticking that in your attic / garage / storage space with a big fat HUGE label that details the contents of the box and the “shelf life” of the things you put in there (the date you started determining if you could do without them).
  • Arrange Your House for Living and Function– As time goes on, we put things in places because that’s where they’ve always been. How might you redesign your spaces to be more social, more work-functional? Maybe this is the right time to swap out that pressboard computer desk monstrosity for a wall-attached bar-style top where you can do work, the kids can do homework, and the cat can perch and knock things off. BONUS TIP: stop designing your house around guests. Unless you have LOTS of guests, design it for you, and have a plan for guests.
  • Donate / Yardsale / Ebay / Remove– Be merciless with what you toss. Remember moving out of an apartment (maybe after college, or fairly recently)? It’s amazing how much stuff we jettison at that moment. The things we own end up owning us: our time, our effort, our consideration. Whatever you can clear, do it. Move it out. Give it to people who can use it.

I think this covers enough for you to get the premise. Try moving out of your house, one room at a time. Pretend a bomb has decimated the place and this is your chance to rebuild the living arrangements. Clean thoroughly while you have the chance. Design your spaces to work for you. And let us know how this works out.

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— Chris Brogan is tempted to take vacation time to try this hack out on his own place. He develops creative content in the least cluttered of the corners for Grasshopper Factory. Please let us know what you think of the podcast. We’re anxious to hear your opinions. Send email to tips at lifehack dot org, or leave a comment on the site. Finally, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed, so we can gauge the audience better. And if you’ve got some tips and tricks, try out Leon’s newly added WIKI. It’s easy to edit, and makes a great reference for the best of these tips and ideas.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2020

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

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Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

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Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

4. Be Who You Are

It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

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You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

5. Slow Down and Let Go

Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

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So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

Final Thoughts

What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

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Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

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