Permaculture is a holistic design approach for creating efficient and sustainable human habitats and perennial agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies. The approach, principles, and patterns have many applications to all aspects of life. It is a way of: 1) looking at a whole system or problem, 2) observing how the parts relate, 3) addressing unbalanced systems and, 4) seeing connections between key parts.
This design approach is great for developing pattern recognition and an understanding of system complexity and efficiencies. While much of it is still focused on growing food, the basic patterns and principles are applicable to absolutely everything. It helps us to create things and systems that use fewer resources, produce less or no waste, and are generally less effortful over the long run.