Permaculture is about designing buildings and gardens carefully to get maximum production with the least work. The thought is that you arrange elements in a logical, easy-to-use way, and this results in less labor over the long run, even if setting things up logically is labor intensive.
One exercise recommended by Jessi Bloom in Practical Permaculture is "random assembly", as pictured above. It's an idea generator to get you thinking about new relationships.
How it works: You write all the elements you have and all the elements that you want on little cards and write prepositions in the center column (in, on, behind, etc). You then shuffle the cards and place them in the outer columns to make different combinations. Some will be silly, like a clothesline under the yard, but some could be good ideas. I eventually focused on one word at a time and related it to every other element.
How it has helped: Admittedly, when I first learned about this exercise, I thought it sounded stupid. Since then, I've read more on permaculture and have chosen the main elements I want for my yard. The time has come to decide where to place them. And this exercise has been very helpful. I've been awake since 4:30 this morning when the cat threw up, so I've had a long time to sit with these cards. Some combinations verified what I had already been considering, (such as an herb garden by the front door) which was helpful because it showed me that my planned location was actually the best option. It also helped me place elements I was unsure about, for example a mini greenhouse would be best in front of the shed.
You could even use this exercise inside. It gets you rethinking the arrangement of your furniture and appliances. For example, why is our washing machine in the basement, when it could be by the back door with the clothesline? And, also, why is it broken?
Yes, some new relationships could be a giant pain in the neck to fix, so consider whether it's worth the extra time saved. But others could save so much energy that it would be worth it.