doing less greeting card

At the start of the Permaculture class, Nick asked us to write on a slip of paper what our aspirations were.

I wrote: “GET MORE BY DOING LESS”. (If Lisa reads this, I know she will laugh out loud.)

This year, Lizzie and I made a new years greeting card which said:

“wishing you (and ourselves) the joys of doing a bit less in 2010”.

But so far I’ve been a bit of a failure at this – being so busy that I have not enjoyed the time to stop and reflect and ask whether I’m carrying out my activities in the most intelligent way.

I am absolutely hopeless at doing less in my daily life. I reckon I work about 150% more than I really need to (a completely arbitrary numerical attribution).

Lack of organisation is probably the main culprit in my case. But besides this, I am addicted to doing. The need to feel busy all the time. Taking on too many projects. Feeling personally responsible for too many projects.

To be sure (as Lizzie and I discuss often during our moments of busy-despair) these are problems borne of luxury. So many wonderful opportunities to do interesting things abound in our worlds.

[Bad metaphor alert!]: it’s a bit like going to a smorgasbord. Sounds like a great idea, but if you load too many things onto your plate, they all end up tasting the same and you get a stomach ache.

When I wrote “GET MORE BY DOING LESS”, I wasn’t really referring to getting more vegies from my little organic vegie patch (though that’d be nice too).

It was more about working creatively and intelligently to make the various bits of my life mesh together so they help each other out – rather than competing with each other. In permaculture terms, this could mean ‘letting the products of one activity provide for the needs of another’.

As “an artist by trade”, I was struck by how David Holmgren’s 12 permaculture principles could be applied to worlds entirely beyond the agricultural context which is so often associated with his field.

So! Here’s a cheesy ‘note to self’:

Below is a list of Holmgren’s principles… when you read ’em, think about each one in relation to carrying out your next “socially engaged” art project. In this way, there might be a stronger relationship between the products of a project, and the means used to go about achieving that product…

  • observe and interact
  • catch and store energy
  • obtain a yield
  • apply self regulation and obtain feedback
  • use and value renewable resources and services
  • produce no waste
  • design from pattern to detail
  • integrate rather than segregate
  • use small and slow solutions
  • use and value diversity
  • use edges and value the marginal
  • creatively use and respond to change.

6 thoughts on “GET MORE BY DOING LESS

  1. Bettina

    I can imagine a 1st year subject at uni run according to those principles. Wouldn’t it set us all up for a much more balanced approach to life?
    That’s a great link Anna. Another new favourite online place to visit!

  2. Lucas Post author

    Bettina, gee, wouldn’t that be fun!

    I can imagine the howls of protest from the students when presented with this as a set of criteria. Let’s do it!

  3. Bettina

    Just have to find a willing institution! In the absence of that perhaps a manifesto for an arts collective called something imaginative like PERMA-culture?! It’s a good set of project rules – spinning off with the possibilities. Yay!


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