We've all been there...and some of us are still “there”...
...on the daily treadmill of life, trying to figure out how to get all of the things done that we deem important while also trying to stay sane, healthy and energetic (and maybe even amicable to the other humans involved).
I would dare say that about 95% of our stress as mothers is not directly from the kids or husband or chores or life, but rather from the feeling of being stifled and unable to fit everything we value into our day.
Don't worry, this is not going to be another “take it easy on yourself” blog post.
I don't believe in taking it easy...because it stresses me out not to get things done.
However, I DO believe in working smart, not into-the-ground.
So for the past 4 years, my family and I have gotten into gardening. We really love using permaculture practices to harness the incredible power of Allah SWT's eco-systems to apply them on our little homestead.
Permaculture practice by definition, is to mimic natural systems and apply them to agriculture to create a sustainable, earth-enhancing mini-ecosystem.
One of the concepts that I love in permaculture is the idea of “stacking functions”. This one concept has freed us from a lot of financial and logistical burdens while we grow our homestead.
Stacking functions is to use the inherent behavioral patterns of people, plants, animals and climate to create multiple beneficial outcomes.
My favorite example of this is a chicken.
On my homestead, the chicken performs these functions:
8)More-chicken-production (in the form of hatching eggs, chicks)
9)Eggs are sold to buy feed for other animals
11)Education for my children
12)Entertainment (Chicken TV is real!)
One animal, soooo many benefits!
Same concept applies to plants.
I have fruit trees interspersed throughout my garden, instead of having just a stand-alone orchard.
A fruit tree offers:
3)Raises water table
4) Home for birds that are bug-control
7) Cuttings source (I have get more trees and sell them or plant them)
8)Micro-climate for shade/cool loving plants
There are lots of other intertwined organisms that make my homestead productive and increasingly self-sufficient.
These beings also save time, enrich my family's life and provide nourishment unmatched by any store-bought equivalent.
In life, we are taught to manage our time by compartmentalizing it into “slots”. We must “schedule” time for the gym, time for cooking, time for the family, time for recreation.
...and more often than not, we are chronically “in need” of time to do everything we need to to feel like whole humans!
What would happen if we decided to “stack” the different areas of our lives instead of scheduling eating into little scheduled slots?
Here is a personal example:
I value nature. I value time with my children. I want them to learn through being active and doing things in nature. I value wholesome food, and I value home-cooked meals.
So a scheduled life could look like this:
Go for a walk I nature (1 hour), go exercise at the gym (1 hour) go spend time with kids at home (1 hour), go grocery shopping (1 hour), come home and cook a meal (1 hour), take the kids out to a playground(1 hour). = 3 hours
A stacked schedule would look like this:
Take the kids out to the garden to play and help with growing food; pick some vegetables for dinner and teach the kids to build a wood fire; have children help with meal prep. = 2 Hours
I met all of my values to be in nature, exercise,be with my children, teach them, allow them to play and cook a meal with little traveling and all in 1/3 of the time it took for me to do everything on a “schedule”.
By stacking my life, I have saved 4 hours! In ONE day. That's a looooot of time to do other things!
(Like write a blog post on stacking your life)
Stacking your life is an amazing way to increase your productivity and life quality WHILE saving time and energy.
People often talk about “life-hacking” to create more convenience for themselves in daily activities.
But I suggest that instead of focusing on convenience, we should focus on the quality of time spent through the values that were respected by the time used.
In this spirit, I hereby coin the term Life-Stacker.
Life-Stacker (noun)- an individual who deliberately stacks the functions of their life with the purpose of creating barakah (abundance) and quality in the non-renewable resource of their time.
The label is nice and all, but the reality is that up until very recently in human history, Life-Stacking was the norm.Families were close-knit, they grew their own food, people were active and healthy and bonded.
Life-stacking is a natural human condition that puts the BARAKAH (abundance) back in your time.
So, you wanna be a Life-Stacker?
Here are 3 Steps to becoming a Life-Stacker:
References: Movement Matters by Katie Bowman