[PODCAST 102]: Achieving Serenity–How to Unclog Your Mental Vacuum


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We recently cleaned out our vacuum—and I want to explain how a clogged vacuum is exactly like a cluttered mind (and how you can fix that!).

You know how it feels, right? You have a million things swirling around in your brain, you can barely keep track of all the tasks and projects you need to do, your list is long (and only getting longer), and you can RARELY quiet your mind long enough to rest—or to allow mental space for creativity (ahh, THAT would be a dream). Plus, there are probably piles of stuff all over your desk, counters, night stand, and pretty much every other flat surface in your home—calling out to you and causing even MORE stress.

It’s no wonder you go to bed exhausted, feeling like you worked SO hard but accomplished way less than you’d hoped.

We understand. We’ve been there.

That’s where this vacuum analogy comes into play.

I vacuumed our entire family room the other day, and when I went to empty the dust-collection canister, there wasn’t anything in it.

So I brought our boys into the backyard with me and enlisted their help cleaning the filters and finding the clog.

Oh my goodness—it was pretty bad, but eventually we got everything cleared out and working again. (The boys thought I had WAY too much fun in the process, but seriously, it is so satisfying.)

What I love even MORE than cleaning vacuums, however, is cleaning minds. And I want to explain.

All that “stuff” we talked about earlier creates a clog in your brain. And you can’t even fathom the concept of taking on more because you already have more than enough to process.

However, when you set up a simple system (I call it a Command Central), your mind knows how to differentiate between routines, projects, and tasks. You learn where to put papers, files, reminders, and ideas—so you can find them when you need them. And your brain can finally rest (and create!) because you’re no longer feeling clogged or weighed down.

Let me give you a couple examples:

Next Actions List

I learned how to create a Next Actions List when reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done®. This list holds one-step tasks that need to be accomplished, but they are organized by context (home, computer, phone, errands, to discuss), and they are FLEXIBLE. I love this.

Let’s say I need to scan some items (I put that on a home list) or pick up some books the library has on hold for me (errand) or talk with my husband about a potential family trip (to discuss). They don’t go on my to-do list. They go on my Next Actions List. I try to get that list to zero by the end of each week.

Someday List

I also have a “Someday List,” which I love because it keeps my ideas safe. Let’s say you want to get a Masters degree, start a non-profit, write a book, travel the world, learn how to really lift weights, get a certification, etc. It might not be the right time for all of those things TODAY, but how about someday? YES. So you write those things on your list—with a calendar trigger to remind you to check it every few months to review your dreams and future ideas. It’s amazing what it does for your brain when you have a Someday List that holds those things most dear to your hearts.

And there’s more!

I know it sounds crazy, but the reason I have been teaching this process for more than a decade is because it works, it unlocks your ability to live your purpose, and it enables you to feel peaceful and calm, even in the midst of chaos.

Here’s what some of our community members are saying (I asked why they joined—health, wealth, or relationships—then someone added “serenity”, which won by a landslide):

For me, it’s relationships, but in sort of an indirect way. My home is so full of clutter that I don’t feel like I can have friends or family come over for a meal, have friends stay with me for a weekend; don’t even want to let them see the inside of my home if they pick me up to go somewhere or drop something off. I would love to get to the point where clutter isn’t keeping me from those things.

Serenity all the way! Knowing my husband is ill and recognizing that I must be prepared for much tougher challenges made me realize that I needed a managable and flexible way to coordinate and proritize all of the layers of stress and projects that need doing.I have not yet attempted to push through all of the modules and lessons. That’s okay. I am finding the process helpful and doing a little bit every day. I still have piles, messes, and challenges. Life keeps happening and that is a blessing! I am not finding myself in daily panic/overwhelm mode. It is easier to find moments of joy every day. I can and will keep on STEPPING forward!

I said health, because I thought that my mental health was suffering because I was down on myself because I just couldn’t get my act together. I knew I was smart and capable, so why was I losing my son’s field trip permission slip form.

Thanks to whoever added serenity as an option. It encapsulates my feelings perfectly. When I first joined STEP, I’d been in a serious downward spiral. STEP and this community has done wonders for my mental health. Maybe when I can get my piles under control, I would feel more ready to open my life back up to relationships, explore new avenues in my profession, and rediscover the inquisitive and fearless person that I used to be.

LearnDoBecome has SO many resources for you that can help you to get started on your Command Central. We’ll link to a few of them below, but even if you just start with a simple Next Actions List–or make a basic Someday List–you’ll be miles ahead. We’re here to support you in taking that very next step toward total peace, serenity, and the joy of being “unclogged.” 🙂

Related Resources

How to Stop Drowning in Piles

Our free training gets you started—showing you 4 steps you can apply today to start creating YOUR Command Central. Sign up here (or share it with a friend!):


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