What is permaculture? Primarily an architectural or agricultural concept, permaculture is applied to the design of landscapes and buildings.
- Looks at a whole system
- Observes how the parts relate
- Mends sick systems by applying ideas learned from long-term sustainable working systems
How can the concept of permaculture help improve day to day productivity? Here are five ways to apply this ingenious concept to your daily productivity.
1. Look at the system as a whole.
System -> Problem -> Result
Instead of focusing on the result of the problem, take a step back and look at the system as a whole. Where is the system breaking down? Water will flow in the path of least resistance; people will follow that path as well. We often over do our organization plans and strategies. The answer to the problem may not be fancy new software, but simply installing a shortcut icon on everyone's computer.
2. How do the parts relate?
To use a tech term, how do they "sync". A great deal of time and energy is wasted when not all of the parts sync. Here are some examples: Mobile phone does not sync with calendar; billing info does not sync with accounting system; documents stored in multiple locations.
We create prioritize work-arounds to get by when a system is not in sync. A few extra minutes here and there seems less work than dedicating a few hours to fixing the problem. But if you add it up, all of those minutes add up to weeks of lost time each year.
Examine each part of the system for breaks. Find ways to make things flow more efficiently by syncing parts, eliminating steps and simplifying.
3. Observe the natural flow.
Practitioners of permaculture will observe how things happen naturally in nature, and take that into account when planning a building or landscape. Take time to observe the natural flow of your office. Where do you normally reach for important items? Are you right handed or left? What drawer is easiest to access? Put your most used items there.
4. Use existing resources.
Typically, the answer is not a new tool, a new bin or new software. Anyone whose office has thrown fancy software at an existing problem can attest that adding more tools often complicates the issue. First, define the issue. One easy way to do this is to ask yourself, what is the ideal end result. From there work backwards, keeping the steps as simple as possible.
5. Ask yourself, "What is working?"
Keep what works. Examine why it works. If you can define this you can model other non-working systems after the working system.