DSCN31931. 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:

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:

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. 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.

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!

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).

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.

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

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 –

Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 7:14 am  Comments (1)  

The 10 Laws of Simplicity

John Maeda wrote a book on what he sees as the 10 Laws of Simplicity. This a book in print, but he offers it for free olawsofsimplicityn the website: The Laws of Simplicity. I liked this quote from Law 2: “…in the long term an effective scheme for organization is necessary to achieve definitive success in taming complexity.” Very interesting approach to Simplicity from a man that is anything but simple.

Here is a talk by John Maeda on TED (Ideas Worth Spreading). Offers an entertaining discussion on how John found his path and a little bit about his view of the world.

Quote from the author, John Maeda: “I wrote The Laws of Simplicity in late 2005 to early 2006 to get my thoughts down about simplicity. In the course of 100-pages, I outline the Ten Laws as used on this website.”

Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 6:32 am  Comments (1)  

The Top 4 Most Likely People to Change Your Life…for the Better!

1. Timothy Ferriss: A true pioneer in lifestyle design. A person that questions every assumption and bad habit we have, but doesn’t stop there. He tears them apart and relentlessly explores and shares his remedies for the wasted time, lost productivity and just plain stupid things we do all day. (

2. Leo Babauta: Leo’s book, The Power of Less, was the first book I ever pre-ordered. I couldn’t wait to read it…and yes, it was worth it. Highly recommended read. If you follow even some of Leo’s advise  from the book or on his blog it will change your life for the better. Simplicity, productivity, health, happiness, etc…it’s all there! (

3. Robert Kiyosaki: Recently elevated to “prophet” status based on predictions he made many years ago, Robert has been preaching and teaching about the dangerous road that so many people in America are travelling on financially. Will the economy recover…probably, but a better question is will we fix the problems that have become so prevalent. Not likely. So will it crash again? Probably, and it could be even worse. Robert teaches us what to do about it, if only we will listen. (

4. Andrew Matthews: The secrets in the staggeringly successful book The Secret was no secret…at least not to those who read the books of Andrew Matthews (and yes, others I’m sure). The information was already well documented in Happiness in a Nutshell (just noticed that the pocket version is offered for download at a special low price during April – $4.95). Have a look if you don’t believe me. Andrews books are also very entertaining and the cartoons that he draws himself add a visual element to the teachings that first engaged me. (


5. Chris Guillebeau: In his own words: “The Art of Nonconformity (AONC) project chronicles my writing on how to change the world by achieving significant, personal goals while helping others at the same time. In the battle against conventional beliefs, I focus on three areas: Life, Work, and Travel.” Congratulations Chris on finding success as you define it and being generous enough to share what you have learned. If you haven’t read 279 Days to Overnight Success and you are considering making a living online – then you are making a big mistake. It is packed with honest, thoughtful, practical and valuable advice for anyone interested in an online living (don’t worry – it’s FREE – no strings!). (×5/)


QUESTION: How in the world did you come up with this list?

ANSWER: I based it purely on my own personal opinion and feelings. Nothing scientific here, no exhaustive studies or world-wide polls. I based by ranking the people that have, and are still influencing me in a positive way. People that freely, openly and honestly share what they have learned and how they learned it. People that really seem to be genuine and legitimate. They may not be the richest or most successful people in the world…but I believe them, and I can’t wait to read whatever they write next. I also believe they want to help others and share what they have and are learning above just making money.

QUESTION: Why aren’t there any women in this list?

ANSWER: I don’t know. It wasn’t intentional, but when I look at the people that are having the most influence on me now…and those that have had the most influence in the past…they all seem to be men (probably just because I am a man, but who knows). Nothing intentional here. If a female blogger or writer breaks into my Top 4 I will update the list immediately and without hesitation…let me know by adding a comment if you have any suggestions.

QUESTION: What if I disagree with the people on this list?

ANSWER: Great! Please comment on this list with your additions/subtractions and anything else you feel like sharing below…


This list was posted on The Mother of All Lists. Go take a look, really great collection of lists all categorized for you.

Published in: on April 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm  Comments (3)  

The 4HWW Activation Map – Make Life Work for You

Timothy Ferriss opened up a lot of doors (and windows) for people with his revolutionary book The 4-Hour Workweek. If you haven’t read the book yet, please stop wasting your time and go buy it. You can find it anywhere (it’s a #1 New Your Times Bestseller and a #1 WSJ Bestseller).  The 4HWW Activation Map is a supplemental visual guide I made to help me implement the lessons that Tim shares in the book. This map does not cover everything, and please note that this map was designed for ME…NOT YOU. I say this because it is critically important (and one of the guiding principles of this blog) that YOU make YOUR OWN MAP. Your starting points and the obstacles you encounter will be very different than mine. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and we all come from very different backgrounds. So even though I share this map and hope that you find some value in it, it is my map, custom-designed for me.

For those of you that are not aware of Timothy Ferriss or the The 4-Hour Workweek (hard to imagine given his stellar success – but anyway) here is a brief description (taken from the press section on Tim’s site):

The 4-Hour Workweek is not another book on the work-life balance describing the problems we all face. It is about creating solutions. Simply put, it is about luxury lifestyle design. And lifestyle design doesn’t take much time. It just takes a few uncommon decisions, and even more uncommon actions to achieve its three necessary ingredients: time, income, and mobility.”

Also please note that this is my first draft. I would really like to revisit this map and incorporate the DEAL principles into the map visually. Here are the DEAL principles in a nutshell:

  • Definition: Define what you want to be doing.

  • Elimination: Ask yourself three times a day “am I being productive, or am I being busy?” Get rid of the noise and interruption.

  • Automation: Delegate or automate the remaining tasks, even sending personal tasks overseas.

  • Liberation: Enjoy your mobility and use the time you create.

Enough said, here is the map…

The 4HWW Activation Map

The 4HWW Activation Map

As always, I’d love your comments and feedback. Here is a PDF version.

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 7:20 am  Comments (5)  
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Zen Habits Treasure Map

I have been following Leo on Zen Habits for at least a year now because he adds value to my life. His articles are always well written and informative and even though I don’t follow all of his habits, I try my best and believe that he is genuine and actually walking his talk. I pre-ordered his book The Power of Less and finished it within a few days and now I am going to read it again.

I thrive on driving out complexity and redundancy. I do not have the time to spend on the things that I most value in life, so these maps will be a work in progress and I would love to get everyone’s feedback so I can continue to refine these maps and add value for others.

I want to make sure that this is clear…the creativity, content, thought process and all credit go to Leo of Zen Habits…NOT ME (if anything is mistranslated, misinterpreted, or just wrong – that would be ME). Leo has an un-copyright policy on his blog content and has encouraged others to share and repurpose the content and that has been amazingly successful for him. This map is based on one of his blog posts on his ZTD (Zen To Done) System.

Zen To Done (ZTD) -
Zen To Done (ZTD) –
Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 12:46 am  Leave a Comment