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12 Permaculture Principles to Help You Be More Productive

12 Permaculture Principles to Help You Be More Productive

    While technically we are still in the throes of winter here, the weather gods seem to be signalling the start of spring here, regardless!

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    And with springtime, comes a desire to get out more into the outdoors – soak up the sunshine and get my hands dirty planning the year’s food garden. The more years I spend growing food, the more I am struck by the similarities between effective and efficient practices for growing food, and effective practices for work-flow. Make no mistake, the word “productivity” has its roots firmly in agricultural practice! (pun intended).

    In an effort to make the most of my limited time in the garden, I have been experimenting with a number of growing methods. Spending time in the garden does have its upsides – a mental break from time on the computer, closeness to nature, the satisfaction of knowing where your food comaes from — but, at the end of the day, nobody has a burning desire to spend hours hunched over a hoe!

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    Something old…with something new to teach us

    One of the systems I have been slowly adopting in my garden is Permaculture. At its core, it is a more sustainable means of food production (think permanent + agriculture), with greater reliance on perennial food crops. In a much broader sense, though, permaculture is a systems design – building food production systems that more closely mimic the successful networks and systems that evolve in nature. Permaculture really arrived on the scene as a concept in the mid 1970’s, by two Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren as a solution to environmental challenges of the day.

    While at first blush, this might make you think of back-to-the-landers and composting toilets, BUT back in the early 1970s, David Holmgren penned 12 permaculture design principles that ring as true today as they did 40 years ago, and actually have much wider applicability than merely growing tomatoes in your back yard!

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    12 Permaculture Principles Worth Noting

    1. Take time to observe, interact, and take stock: While its tempting to jump in with both feet, some time taken to observe and think through is time well spent. If you don’t fully understand the problem, you might be spending time creating the wrong solution!
    2. Catch and store energy: Design your systems to harvest resources at peak times for use later on.
    3. Obtain a yield: This sounds simple, but make sure you are getting something useful for your work!
    4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to know what works and what doesn’t, so we can build on what works well. This is a key tenet of business planning models, and performance management techniques.
    5. Use and value renewable resources and services:  Make the best use of the resources at your disposal – financial, human, information.  Placing an explicit value on them makes it much less likely you will waste them!
    6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, we begin to minimize our waste . .. of resources and effort!
    7. Design from patterns to details: by looking at successful patterns found in nature, we can create systems with a strong foundation, and fill in the details as we go.
    8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other. This is especially true in this age of connectedness we live in, where personal relationships often form the basis of future business relationships.
    9. Start small, and build on your successes: Complex systems are built  from simple systems that work well! … and simple systems are much easier to maintain, and make better use of local resources.  This is also a matter of keeping some perspective on the appropriate scale for the situation.
    10. Maximize diversity and resiliency: This does not necessarily mean diluting your business goals, but rather look within the structures you are creating to ensure there are many : many relationships. Single elements should serve multiple functions, and single functions should be served by multiple elements – the ultimate backup!
    11. Value what is happening on the “edges”: The interface between things is where the most interesting ideas and events happen. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system (think of the creativity and energy present in a startup!)
    12. Creatively use and respond to changeChange is a fact of life, and successful businesses create a culture that observes change as it unfolds, and determines when and how best to intervene.

    Conclusion

    These are valuable guideposts to keep in your sightlines for efficient, sustainable food production, BUT they also have great value as principles for increasing your productivity!

    Businesses today are so much more connected to all aspects of community (social and economic), and the information technology at our disposal means a small enterprise can potentially have significant impacts around the world.  Looking at old systems and tools with new eyes might just lead us to some surprising new and productive practices!

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    (Photo credit: Janice Mansfield)

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2018

    What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

    What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

    Are you afraid of being alone?  Do you worry about your physical safety or do you fear loneliness? These are strong negative feelings that can impact your health.

    One study found that when older people are socially isolated, there is an increased risk of an earlier death,[1] by as much as 26%.

    If you experience loneliness and are worried about your fear of being alone, study these 6 ways to help you find your comfort zone.

    But first, the good news!

    How many times have you said to yourself, ‘I just can’t wait to be alone’? This might be after a day’s work, an argument with your partner or after a noisy dinner with friends. You need time to be yourself, gather your thoughts, relish the silence and just totally chill out. These are precious moments and are very important for your own peace of mind and mental refreshment.

    But for many people, this feeling is not often present and loneliness takes over. As Joss Whedon once said,

    ‘Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there’.

    Read on and discover how you can exploit being alone to your own advantage and how you can defeat loneliness.

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    1. Embrace loneliness

    When you are alone, it is important to embrace it and enjoy it to the full.

    Wallow in the feeling that you do not have to be accountable for anything you do. Pursue your interests and hobbies. Take up new ones. Learn new skills. Lie on the couch. Leave the kitchen in a mess. The list can go on and on, but finding the right balance is crucial.

    There will be times when being on your own is perfect, but then there will be a creeping feeling that you should not be so isolated.

    When you start to enjoy being alone, these 10 amazing things will happen.

    Once you start feeling loneliness, then it is time to take action.

    2. Facebook is not the answer

    Have you noticed how people seek virtual contacts instead of a live, face-to-face interaction? It is true that social networking can provide an initial contact, but the chances of that becoming a real life personal contact is pretty slim.

    Being wrapped up in a cloud of sharing, liking and commenting (and insulting!) can only increase loneliness.

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    When you really want company, no one on Facebook will phone you to invite you out.

    3. Stop tolerating unhappy relationships

    It is a cruel fact of life that people are so scared of loneliness that they often opt into a relationship with the wrong person.

    There is enormous pressure from peers, family and society in general to get married or to be in a stable, long-term relationship. When this happens, people start making wrong decisions, such as:

    • hanging out with toxic company such as dishonest or untrustworthy people;
    • getting involved with unsuitable partners because of the fear of being alone or lonesome;
    • accepting inappropriate behavior just because of loneliness;
    • seeking a temporary remedy instead of making a long-term decision.

    The main problem is that you need to pause, reflect and get advice. Recognize that your fear of being alone is taking over. A rash decision now could lead to endless unhappiness.

    4. Go out and meet people

    It was the poet John Donne (1572 – 1631) who wrote:

    ‘No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent’.

    Human contact is essential to surviving in this world. Instead of wallowing in boredom and sadness, you need to get out as much as possible and seek contacts.

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    Being a member of a group, however tenuous, is a great way. So when you are in the gym, at church or simply at a club meeting, exploit these contacts to enlarge your social circle.

    There is no point in staying at home all the time. You will not meet any new people there!

    Social contacts are rather like delicate plants. You have to look after them. That means telephoning, using Skype and being there when needed.

    Take a look at this guide on How to Meet New People and Make Friends with The Best.

    5. Reach out to help someone in need

    A burden shared is a burden halved.

    Dag Hammarskjold was keenly aware of this fact when he said:

    ‘What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden but this: I have only my own burden to bear’.

    Simply put, it is a two-way street. Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.

    Reach out to help and people will be there when you need them.

    6. Be grateful and count your blessings

    Study after study shows that if people show gratitude, they will reap a bountiful harvest. These include a stronger immune system, better health, more positive energy and most important of all, feeling less lonely and isolated.

    If you do not believe me, watch the video below, ‘What good is gratitude?’  Now here is the path to hope and happiness:

    Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

    Reference

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