Decluttering = Fewer Mistakes

I was chatting with a physician the other day at work and he was talking about the benefits and drawbacks of the newer electronic records. All of the patient’s history is listed, equally, in the diagnosis portion, where the computer gives the same weight to a surgically corrected ingrown toenail as to a collapsed lung or a kidney transplant. “We need,” he said, “a way to eliminate the unimportant diagnosis, so the important ones are obvious.” “It is too easy to accidentally click on the drop down window and click on something that you did not mean too.”

To a minimalist such as myself, the answer is obvious: declutter! The electronic record needs a method to delegate problems such as ingrown toenail to the “resolved” or “unimportant” status.

And we all need a process to move/remove from our lives/closets/calendars things that are no longer relevant or important to our lives. Here are some that I employ:

By keeping my clothing items to a set number, I only keep what fits me and is worn often.

I used to have a paper calendar, and each year would transfer important dates from the old to the new, eliminating dates that were no longer relevant (birthdays of ex-husband’s for example.) Now that I use an electronic calendar, before I print a week or a month out, I verify that the entries are appropriate and up-to-date (film club is over for the summer  [Dave–time for Frisbee golf?] so, I have deleted this weekly reminder from the calendar.)

Or, deleting from the cell phone numbers the ex-boyfriend, so I don’t accidentally call him and leave a silly message (no, love muffin, I didn’t mean YOU) on the wrong voice mail.

See? Decluttering leads to fewer mistakes.


3 responses to “Decluttering = Fewer Mistakes

  1. Yes, why can’t there be a simple way to prioritize the importance of situations in this example. Love your “resolved” category idea.

    For me, I keep decluttering with the idea that there will be fewer opportunities for things to go awry. That many fewer situations to deal with when I don’t have to paw through a bunch of irrelevent stuff.

  2. I have found it surprisingly harder to declutter my electronic life than my physical life. I expect it’s because electronic “stuff” doesn’t take up physical space, but it sure does take up mental and emotional space.

  3. Jason, you are right. And our mental and emotional space is sooo much more precious than our physical space. All the more reason to declutter there as well. Good luck with that, and nice to see you here.

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