1. Your One Treasure (Direction). If this is the first article you have read from The Map Habit then you may not be familiar with the One Treasure concept. We need to make sure that we are headed in the right DIRECTION (“Treasure” and “Direction” are used interchangeably throughout The Map Habit site). This is critically important. Without 100% dedication to ensuring that you are headed in the right direction it is unlikely that you will ever find the treasures you seek. You need to clearly and accurately define exactly what “treasure” you are searching for in your adventure. No one can tell what that treasure is, and you certainly won’t get it from a Top 10 List. This is something that only you can do and I strictly forbid you from reading the rest of this article until you have found your One Treasure…so STOP and go follow this article first and then come back:
- THE 10 STEPS TO FINDING THE TREASURES YOU SEEK IN LIFE (with Map) – TheMapHabit.com
2. Schedule Time. This may seem redundant to return visitors, but it’s worth repeating. If your life is already a clutter-free wonderland and every day is an adventure then it is unlikely that you would be reading this. So let’s do ourselves a favor and set aside the appropriate amount of time to complete all of the steps listed below (that may be an hour for you or it may be a year, but it’s worth it). Here are some resources to help:
- Purpose Your Day: Most Important Task (MIT) – ZenHabits.net
- 10 ways to make more time for yourself – start today! – Chronicbabe.com (Great advice for those with or without a chronic illness.)
3. Declutter. Get rid of the crap! Piles of paper that you don’t need, old receipts, paper plates and cups, used up pens and pencils…you know, CRAP! Just throw it out and don’t even think about it for a second. Throw it out now! This is the easy part, the “no-brainer”. Bring the trash bag or trash can over to the area you are cleaning to make it as easy as possible to just throw it out. Here is some help if you need it:
4. Separate Into Parts. The next several steps are all about removing and eliminating and decluttering, but before we do that we need to separate things. Your Direction will determine what areas of your life you want to Simplify but the steps will be relatively the same regardless. Separating things is really the easiest part of this whole process. You get to make a mess! Take everything out and spread it all over the floor of your office or your bedroom or whatever area you are simplifying. If it’s your office desk then open up all the drawers and dump the stuff out all over the floor. If you are simplifying your laptop bag then do the same thing. You need to get it all out so you can see everything. Then once it is all out there you are going to separate everything into logical parts. Put things that are similar together.
5. Eliminate the Unnecessary. This is not the time to be wishy-washy. You must be bold and brave and ruthless. Get rid of as much as you can. Stop trying to convince yourself that you might need this (whatever thing) at some point. You probably will not ever need it and even if you do the freedom and energy you will gain by eliminating the clutter is more than worth it. Do you have a table or dresser or something with so many pictures on it that it just becomes a “blur”. You never really look at any of the pictures because nothing ever attracts your attention and keeps your focus. Could you imagine walking into an art museum and seeing all the paintings sitting on top of each other in a big pile? Of course not. The paintings are separated so that each has it’s own space and can be appreciated. Take everything off of your refrigerator except for one thing. That one thing will instantly command attention. Do you have more than one of anything? Why? (That was a trick question. Stop making excuses and reasons why and start eliminating stuff!) Here is some help:
- 6 Ways To Keep Simple From Getting Complex – MotivateThyself.com (Guest post from Leo Babauta)
- Dealing with Distractions – Lifehack.org (Post by Paul Dickinson)
- The Art of Artlessness: On Living Simply and Naturally – ZenHabits.net
6. Organize. Not sure who originally said this but we want: “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.” No more searching for what you need, because you already know exactly where it is. Now, if you followed the steps above there shouldn’t be all that much to organize because you got rid of all of the crap and clutter and extra stuff. However, there will always be a certain amount of things you need to accomplish your tasks so we want to make sure they are organized and put away.
- 10 Tips To Reduce Your Clutter and Get Organized – SimpleOrganizedLife.com
7. Make Space and Clean. You certainly won’t feel motivated to get to work if you sit down to a desk that is covered in trash or filth. You need to look around and make sure that you have space to accomplish your tasks. That might mean cleaning up, even if it is someone else’s stuff…even if they might get mad at you. The goal here is to change your environment instead of trying to change your will to overcome a poor environment. Most current productivity and lifestyle design professionals preach the benefits of changing your environment over trying to change your will power. Make it easier on yourself to achieve your goals. Don’t forget to apply this step to your clothes as well. Get rid of old shoes and t-shirts. Simplifying your wardrobe can be energizing as well!
- The Natural Way To Clean Everything In Your House – TheGoodHuman.com
- Best-Kept Secret to a Clean Home – SimpleMom.net
8. Upgrade Tools. Imagine sawing a 2×4 in half with a dull saw. It’s exhausting! That is exactly the reason you need to upgrade the tools you use that make you productive in whatever path you are on. If the majority of the work you do is on a computer and you are using a dinosaur with outdated software that is painfully slow you are limiting yourself. If you are a writer and you don’t carry a small notebook around with you then you are probably missing some of your most creative ideas (they often come when you are relaxed and not trying to be creative – you don’t want to miss these because you don’t have something to write them down with).
- How to Create a Minimalist Computer Experience – ZenHabits.net
- Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – PencilTalk.org (I don’t have one – but I want one!)
- 10 Great Notebooks Productive People Love – Lifehack.org (Post by Dustin Wax)
9. Evaluate (and Repeat if Needed). If you followed the steps to Simplicity but you don’t feel a sense of release, freedom and energy then do it again – you were not ruthless enough. No one is going to do this for you (unless you are lucky enough to get on an episode of Clean House or something). You need to establish routines for Simplicity and you really need to be brutal in your fight against clutter and chaos. Don’t stand for it. Watch shows like Clean House and others. Cut out pictures of beautifully organized rooms and working spaces and refer to them for motivation. It may take a long time, especially if you have clutter magnets (aka “kids”) but you can do it.
- Daily Routines – DailyRoutines.typepad.com
- 3 Ways to Get More Done with the Power of Less – ZenHabits.net (Guest post by Jerry Kolber and I actually did buy his eBook – I wish there was more pictures but it is detailed and well executed.)
10. Done…Now What? Well, of course there is no “done” when it comes to Simplicity. It requires routine focus and maintenance. But if you followed the steps above you have given yourself a real gift. The gift of freedom from clutter and distractions. A gift that will enable you to follow your path with efficiency. The step to making your life an adventure is Energy…coming soon! Until then:
More about LESS!
START HERE –> The Power of Less – Leo Babauta on ZenHabits.net
THEN GO HERE –>The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm – Timothy Ferriss
STILL WANT MORE –> The Laws of Simplicity – John Maeda
WHAT? YOU STILL WANT MORE –> 10 Ways to Simplify Your Life Starting Today – simpleorganizedlife.com