Thursday, 28 February 2013

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods

A Self-Help Guide To Managing Your Time Better; Unleashing More Creativity; Keeping Your Brain Happy; And Living A Healthier Lifestyle, All Whilst Maintaining A Decent Social Life As Well As Sleeping Nicely Every Night.

My biggest pet peeve in the whole wide world is when someone looks at all the personal projects I got going on, and then comments “You must have a lot of time on your hands, Jared.” Well, excuse me, I was under the impression that we all had the same amount of time? Does my day somehow magically have more hours than yours? Do we not share time? Just as bad is when someone says “don’t you have any REAL work to do?” I spit. Yes, in fact, I do - if by real work you mean my paid-for job, because by all means, I consider the blogs I write and the songs I make to be as important (if not, more so) than the work that pays me. It’s about hope. A light at the end of the tunnel, where (imaginary or not) a place exists where I'm not running in this 9-5 rat race forever, and instead receiving pay for the things I do in my spare time anyway. It's a dream of infinite love and joy, and I think about it constantly.

So then what’s my secret? How do I get so much done within my day whilst still maintaining a fast paced web-design job; a healthy diet; and a good sleep every single night? Well, it begins with cutting out TV and video games entirely, for a start. But the real key is to spend every single waking hour working on what’s important to you, and refusing to allow a second of your life go to waste.

However, and let it be known, I am essentially the laziest motherfucker around. I am not one for massive life changes because my bubble is comfortable. Rather, I opt to make small alterations to my routine which take minimal effort on my part, and then I simply stick to them. This is something we can all do. And after a few years of slowly (but perpetually) refining my life, a weird thing started to happen: I began to master the art of streamlining my existence. And while improvements will still be made and continued to be made for the rest of my life, I feel I am currently in a good position to write this guide and then share it with you guys. But if you can’t be bothered to read beyond this point, I will summarise it for you right here: do not wait. For anything. Do not spend a moment anticipating something to come about. Always have stuff to do at any place at any given time, even if just in the queue for a bagel or at the bus stop. Hell, going for a quick poo can be an ideal time to sort ones thoughts out. However, in case this doesn’t seem possible, I am going to give you some idea of how I achieve this by talking you through an average day of Jared Woods. This will not only grant you the power to get more done, but also benefit your health and completely eliminate depression, as you won’t have a goddamn second to think about yourself.

However, please keep in mind that this is just that. It is my day-to-day, not yours, per say. I don’t have the time (lol) to write one of these for each of you, or to waste energy putting together something ambiguous enough to suit everyone. I expect you to have a little bit of imagination in order to replace all the necessary personal aspects of my life with your own little tasks, and hopefully someone somewhere will learn something. And even if you don’t, try and enjoy the journey of this piece, because I do, every single day.

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: Wake Up At 6:30 6:30
My alarm goes off on the other side of the room, ripping me out of a nice dream. I curse the world and my iPhone, get up, turn it off, then bring it back to bed with me, swiftly falling asleep once again.

Please note: it is important to me that I stand up within seconds of waking up, as it helps kick start my day and ensures an (ever so slightly) less painful waking up process, despite what you may think.

My second alarm goes off. I cry a bit inside and then pull my shit together (usually by reminding myself of what I have to achieve during the up-and-coming day). Then I go shower.

I get in the shower and stand there like a zombie for a bit. It is here that work begins. Whilst washing myself, I run through in my head what my day will consist of, and what times I’ll have to do what. This does wonders for my daily organisation and my waking up process, but not for my shower time, which has been known to piss my housemates off. This goes especially for Mondays/Tuesdays and Fridays, where I shave during said shower.

Out the shower, and I slowly get ready with all the usual teeth brushing, hair sexifying, contact lensing and getting dressing. During the time this is going on, I play the LOA game. This is where I have an imaginary interview with Jonathan Ross; or spend an imaginary million quid; or go on an imaginary date with Anna Faris; or meet David Bowie; all while the paparazzi are snapping photos of me. Either that, or I will plan the day further, or perhaps sing a song I have been working on, or even ask myself “what will Juice Nothing look like in 3 years? How is the next Coming Down Happy EP going to sound?” etc.

But you have to be careful with this kind of potent distraction, as it can make you late for leaving the house. Which is why I have strict 10 minute window periods allocated to each of the tasks on hand: 10 minutes to get dressed; 10 minutes for my hair; 10 minutes for teeth and contact lenses; and 10 minutes for packing.

Please Note: I know most people get ready much faster than me, and will be quick to point out that my morning ritual isn't very streamlined at all. And this is true. However, if nothing else, take this as proof that I am a lazy cunt, and so if I can still end up living my day to the fullest, anyone can.

Now, there will be some times when someone will be showering when you want to shower, or something equally obstructive. This used to throw such a spaniard in my works that I’d grow frustrated and even angry, which is counterproductive and no way to start a day. I have since learned that this is time wasted, and you should not be waiting for the shower but instead doing something else to fill the time. Roll your cigarette or pick out your clothes or put your contacts in or pack your bag. Borrow minutes from the other 10 minute windows, so that when you finally hit the shower, you'll still end up with the same amount of time afterwards. In the end, no obstacles in your morning routine should have the power to slow you down or make you late.

Out the house, plug the headphones in, and take a brisk walk to the station, which is the perfect time to buy something from the shop if you need it, like rizla or a lighter or whatever. This is where I have CIG1.

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: The tube ride is the perfect time to get things done 8:05
This is one of the most important times of the day: the tube ride to work. However, I am aware that some people reading this will not ride the tube to their job, but I encourage you to read this section regardless, because you might pick up something cool anyway, and then I will address your specific circumstance at the end.

For those of you who do take the tube, do NOT waste this time! This can be one of your most valuable periods, if you use it wisely. I know people who spend 2 hours a day on the tube, but do nothing! What a fucking waste! Do not just sit there. Do not just play games. Do not watch movies. And do not just sleep, unless you seriously seriously need to (and this does happen from time to time).

For me, I write. I write a lot. Almost everything I have ever written has, at some point, been worked on during my tube trips. Hell, the words you read right now were first put to paper on a train ride. Just by spending this otherwise ignored time to do so, you will be amazed by how much you can get through in a very short space of effort.

If writing isn’t your thing, pick a substitute. Draw a picture. Write a letter. I even consider this to be prime time to read a book, because books make you smartererer and can provide you with a great source of inspiration towards your own creativity.

Another very important thing I do every morning before this writing takes place, is to really plan my day properly. I write a list of daily tasks (affectionately dubbed The Juice Diaries), which only takes a few minutes, unless it is a Monday. That specific day takes a little bit longer, because the week starts then, and you need to set it all up. No idea what I am talking about? This is what I am talking about:

I take out my notepad and set up one of these:

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: The Juice Diaries

1. Random song lyric, just to keep things light.
2. The date of the Monday.
3. Columns of my life-tasks which require my focus.
4. The Juice Nothing column (articles to write, stuff to design etc).
5. The Goat’s Nest column (short stories to work on).
6. Autobiography column (note: it’s always empty, I still haven’t started it, lol).
7. The Funpowder Plot column (films that need to be worked on, emails that need to be sent etc).
8. Coming Down Happy column (songs to be worked on, website fixes, lyrics etc).
9. Home column (clean room, do washing, clean bathroom etc).
10. Body column (exercise, haircuts, pube trims, appointments etc).
11. Relationships column (people I need to email, stuff for girlfriend etc).
12. Shopping List column (stuff to buy, groceries, toiletries etc).
13. Fix Life column (odd things that need to happen, fix laptop, get a new bank card etc).
14. The days of the week.
15. Stuff to do in the morning.
16. Stuff to do at work/lunch.
17. Stuff to do in the afternoon/between work and home.
18. Stuff to do at night at home.
19. Weekend work.
20. Money people owe me.
21. Money I owe people.

Now, obviously this setup won’t work for everyone, but the concept will. I cannot push this point hard enough: you HAVE to write a to-do list every single day, or your head will jumble. There is this fantastic methodology called Getting Things Done by David Allen, which describes just a process. You don’t want to remember anything. You want to keep your memory clean. Let the paper remember your shit. I have been doing this for 3.5 years, and it has evolved drastically to get to such a point of streamlined documentation (click here for the very first to-do list I ever made). And without it, I would have never done anything.

Look, it’s easy to throw your hands up at any point of this article and say “I can't relate to this”, but the idea will work no matter what methods you use. Do Not Waste A Second Of Your Time. Find something to do.

For example: I used to drive to work every morning, all by myself. It took me an hour to get there, and an hour to get back, all in the painful traffic. Could I write in those circumstances? No. But did I sit there and do nothing at all? No, of course not. Every morning, I’d take out my phone, press the “record voice” button, and then record voice. I’d rap or I’d sing or I’d talk. I wrote short stories this way. I came up with fantastic melodies which I still remember to this day - some of which I have already used in songs, and some of which I still intend to use. The point is, do not look for excuses here. Find something (ANYTHING) constructive to do at any point of time. Trust me - there is always something.

Now, I’m sure some of you will say “I live really close to my job, so I won’t have time to do any work during my travel.” Well, then you have saved more time than any of us, what are you bitching about?

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: Take the stairs 8:45
I get off at Goodge Street station. There are a lot of stations I could choose from, but I have purposefully selected this one. Why? Because it has a very fucking long staircase which is extremely tiring to reach the top of, and I walk up it every morning. Free exercise, yo!

So while we’re on that topic: always take the stairs. If there is a lift, take the stairs. If there is an escalator, take the stairs, or at very least walk up the escalator itself. It won’t take all that much longer (in some cases, it may even be quicker) and you will be amazed at how much easier it gets every single morning. Love your body.

I duck into my local supermarket, and buy breakfast and lunch. This is good to do now, because then you won't have to worry about food for the rest of the working day, which I will cover a bit later on.

Now, just for interest sakes, this is what I buy:

An apple; an orange; a clementine; a banana; and maybe a plum (if I’m feeling adventurous).

I don’t need to explain why. This is the breakfast of champions. It’s filling, it’s fucking tasty, and it’s really good for you. Fruit is like dessert to me, you are what you eat, breakfast is the most important meal of the day blah blah blah so do not skip it! It kick starts your metabolism and will make you strong like bull.

Now, there is something I don’t do which I could do, and it is much better. That is to make your own lunch at home the night before. If you prefer this route, but all means, do it, and then you will be even cooler than me.

But personally, I buy my lunch at this time. What I get alternates from day to day. Sometimes I buy a salad, sometimes a soup, occasionally a small pasta - it’s all down to how I feel, and I like to change it up. But the trick is that I keep each meal to below 500 calories - and normally way below.

People give me grief about this, because they say I am not fat (I’m actually quite skinny, to be honest) so why am I counting calories? Well, for starters, I drink a lot of beer, so there’s that. And also, it can’t hurt anyone to watch their intake. So if you are overweight, this guide will even help you lose some pounds, it’s that excellent.

If you get hungry during the day, there is no harm in buying low fat snacks - sliced carrots, for example. Personally, I try to avoid these, because I end up eating everything I’ve bought in one day just because it’s there. I instead opt to run on cigarettes and coffee alone. But if you can’t handle such a lifestyle, do what you want, just be smart about it.

On this day and only on this day, I will buy a roll with cheese or something more substantial on it, breaking my calorie rule. This is to line my stomach for later drinking, because I have my priorities straight.

I arrive at my office. It is here that I shall reveal my greatest secret weapon of all: My Work Only Begins At 10:00. I get there an hour early.

Now, I know some people will point out how lucky I am because I only start work so late - and believe me, I know. But if I were to change to a job that started at 9 or even 8, I’d still ensure I was there an hour early, because the benefits are immeasurable.

Think about it: you are now in an environment designed for working, which will automatically put your brain in the right mindset to get shit done. Not only that, but because you are early and most likely alone, it means nobody will disturb you. The internet will be faster, the kitchen will be emptier, and the smoking area will be abandoned. It is unchallenged as my favourite time of the day for these reasons. Plus, it looks good that you are never late.

So I eat my fruit while I check my email and facebook, and once I finish breakfast, I go and have CIG2, then make a coffee (all black, no sugar - another small health change). At some point between these things, my stomach will drop and my first shit of the day will present itself. I’m very regular.

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: Healthy food makes healthy brain 9:00
And now, I begin. Almost always, I use this time to write, unless a greater project is on hand. Generally, this hour goes towards my next article, but can also be used to work on a short story, or to launch something, or to convert whatever I was writing on the tube to a digital copy in Google Docs. Whatever! It’s a full hour and I am fresh, getting a lot more done here than any other time of the day. I also sneak in CIG3.

Please Note: You probably wouldn’t want to use this time to do freelance/paid for work, as you'd be using your job’s resources to do so, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they frowned upon such activity. It is a much more guilt free approach to devote this period entirely to a “hobby” if you will, because any good organisation would encourage this kind of work ethic. And that’s what this article is about: YOUR work. YOUR projects. YOUR creativity. Not some clients', God.

Friday is also known to me as “Formspring Friday”. It's where I spend the majority of my hour answering an anonymous question someone has asked me via Formspring (go ahead and ask me something right now, if you like, I answer everything). I often do these quite quickly, which gives me some extra time for something else, but I still won’t release my answer until early in the next week. This gives me a few more days of clean eyes to pick away and edit it before freeing it into the world.

Another quick thing I’d like to touch on at this point is music. People often ask me how I manage to listen to so many new albums every year, and the answer is that I have streamlined this process too. However, if you don’t give a fuck about such a thing, skip ahead to 10:00. But if you’d like to keep on top of recent music and develop a good grasp on what is out there right now, this is for you.

Firstly, I do understand that this won’t work in every job situation. But in a design environment, it works very well, and is an important factor to my day. What I do around 9:00 is to decide which 5 or 6 albums I would like to listen to during the day ahead. 3 of which will ALWAYS be new albums released in the current year. The rest will either be albums from the current year which I've heard before, but haven’t formed a proper opinion on yet; or just some other classic I feel like giving a spin that day. Then I open Spotify (or Grooveshark for people who don’t have access to that program) and start listening. Over the course of the day, as these albums play out, I take notes on each one, eventually having a nice blurb on every single record I have ever heard, then sorting them out in some kind of an order from best to worst. There are 2 reasons why I do this:

(1) Even if I don’t remember what a certain album sounds like, I always remember what I thought of it. Which means, if someone asks me “have you heard (x) album yet?”, I can reply with “Yes, I thought it was a bit cheesy, but otherwise surprisingly good. Maybe not as good as their last one, but still quite a solid piece of work, for what it was.” And people think I am awesome and clever due to my solid opinion, even though I don’t actually remember a goddamn thing about it. I only remember what I wrote down, because it’s much easier to recall your own words.

(2) It also means that by the end of the year, I have a very good grasp on what each month consisted of musically, and am left with a decent list of my own views. This all works together to help me build my Top 50 Best Albums Of The Year blog. Simples!

Please Note: The above process is actually much more complex than I just let on. I have built up a separate streamlined system, specifically designed for my daily music intake, but it would take far too long to describe it here, and probably deserves an article of its own. But you get the jizz.

I must also mention that throughout the day, I pick the songs I like, and then add them to this Spotify playlist. My iPhone is automatically synced to this list, and it works offline, which means I have thousands of my favourite songs on my person at any given time, growing every single day. This not only helps strengthen my memory of the tracks I heard during the day, but is also the single greatest thing in my life right now.

Anyways, that was kind of off topic, let’s move on.

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: Work hard at your job, and time will go by fast 10:00
Work starts. The real paid-for kind of work. Now, despite what you may think, I work really hard at my job, and there are good reasons for this.

The first (and most obvious) reason, is that the harder you work, the better you look. Your boss will love you. Your colleagues will love you. You become a strong asset to the company, and this above all else, gives your day meaning.

The second reason is that the harder you work, the faster time will go. And that’s what this article is all about. Speed. Streamlining. Going fast.

IF YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED: Sort this out immediately. Seriously. Even if you get a shit job and you hate it, get one, and I’ll tell you why. It’s not about the money money. It’s about routine and having a reason to get up in the morning. When I have a day off, I plan to get so much done, and yet struggle to get out of bed because I have no real reason to do so. A job forces you to be active because you have a responsibility, and you will find throughout the day, there will be many spare moments to fill with your own ideas. Even better, by the end of the day, you will still be in work mode, which means the momentum will continue after hours. On the flip side, I have experienced days when work was so busy that I didn’t get a chance to work on my own stuff. Because of this, when I finally got home, the ideas poured out of me like a bottle of fizzy drink that had been shaken for too long. It is extremely beneficial to have a job, for your own projects sake, believe me. Staying at home all day will only hinder your thoughts, and dwelling in the same enviroment day-in and day-out will destroy creativity. Sort it out.

About this time I got for CIG4. Now, luckily my company seems pretty chilled about my cigarette intake, but this is only because I make sure I'm only gone for 3-4 minutes per fag. I’m so fast, people don’t even notice I’m gone.

But there is some value to it. When I go for my cigarettes, I think only about the job on hand, and I actually solve many of my problems out there in the fresh air which I coat with smoke. So even if you aren’t a smoker, I’d recommend taking a quick break at this point, maybe with a brief walk around the office or whatever. This is encouraged by health fanatics too, so don’t take my word for it, the evidence is out there. Especially with computer related jobs, it’s good for your eyes and your posture and everything else.

If you are a smoker, I want you to know one other health related thing I do: I drink one cup of water per every cigarette I inhale. I am not saying this counteracts the unhealthy use of tobacco, but rather that we are supposed to drink 4-8 cups of water a day because we are approximately 60% water in the first place. Drinking water is literally drinking the essence of human. It’s a good way to ensure you do this, by having a reminder in the form of a cigarette.

Also around this time, I post something which I consider funny to Facebook and Twitter for all of my millions of fans. It may be a formspring answer. It may be a blog post. Or it may be a status update/tweet.

Now, status updates are worth touching on. People have used this as evidence against me, accusing me of not working hard enough at my real job, because somehow I manage to think of and post something every day. They reckon I sit there for hours trying to think of something humourous, when in reality, it is much more formulated than that.

I cheat. None of my status updates were thought of on the spot. Because, while I think of many status updates everyday (most of them being crap), I do not post them. Rather, I put each idea into a Google Doc called “Twitter Updates” and let them stew. As it stands, I have over 550 unused updates. When I think of one, it goes in there. When it reaches 12:00 (one of the best times to post something, ensuring a maximum amount of viewers), I quickly look at the doc, pick one which I find funny or relevant in that moment, and then paste it in. Done.

This method also helps you when you are out drinking. Instead of just updating your status with something you thought was funny whilst drunk on a Friday night, type it into your phone and then deal with it the next morning. It eliminates the chance you’ll say something stupid.

This entire process (including the cigarette) takes less than 5 minutes. Get back to work.

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: Answer emails for only 10 minutes a day 12:50
Now this one is a little sneaky, I’ll admit it, and I apologise to anyone reading this who works with me in my company. If you’re my boss, just tell me to stop, and I will.

But from 12:50 until lunch (10 minutes) I use this as my relationship time. It is the only period of day which I allow myself to reply to personal emails, because I can’t be assed with that shit. Maybe I’ll respond to a facebook message or finally send my gran a mail, whatever. Some people (like my Dad) send me massive emails, and so I just write a few paragraphs a day during this time, save it, and then work on it some more the next day. It can sometimes take up to 2 weeks to respond to one mail, but I refuse to devote any more precious minutes to something like this.

This little method is ideal for people who find themselves overwhelmed by messages or have unanswered emails from years ago. 10 minutes a day is literally all you need, and by using this process, I have become 100% on top of something which used to be impossible for me to sort out. This concept can work in many other areas too (like reading long legal documents or making someone a present), if you choose to use it that way.

Lunch time! Which is rad, because we already have our lunch with us, so we don’t need to leave our desks now, do we? Let’s eat it and keep working on stuff.

For me, this is an extension of 9:00 - I just write more, usually towards my next article or short story. I also sneak in CIG5 and CIG6 during this time.

I allocate this day’s time to web related projects (i.e. redesigning Juice Nothing; fixing shit on Coming Down Happy etc). It’s my WEBNESDAY, so to speak. I feel stuff like this and Formspring Friday are important, as they force you to take a break from your usual flow, even when you would prefer to be working on your larger projects. It makes you more excited to tackle the bigger things next time, rather than just going through the motions, which keeps your eyes fresher. I recommend this highly: take breaks from your usual routine, choosing to work on something a bit smaller or less desperate.

I don’t do any work on Friday lunchtimes, because I prefer to go for a lunch pint (of Guinness, by the way, it's the much healthier/tastier/masculine option). The majority of my team at my company get involved, which means it has actual value - it’s relationship building, helps professional ties, etc. And it’s fun, which is the point of everything. Have a good time! Socialise! Other humans are important and you need to balance these thing into your life. If work dominates other parts of your existence, you will suffer, so make time to spend with friends cos it's important. More on this later.

Back to real work you go. These hours are an extension of 10:00, which is to work hard and get shit done. Keep important people happy. Get your time to go as fast as possible.

I also have my second and last cup of coffee at this time.


Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: Walk when it's time to walk, drink beer when it's time to drink beer 18:00
Work ends, and from here on out, it’s anybody’s game. If I have a big project going on, I have been known to spend an extra hour at my desk devoted to it, which is much like 9:00 - the office becomes your playground, and it’s rad.

But generally, I take the lengthy walk to Warren Street, which is about 10-15 minutes away. This is also chosen for health reasons. I could go somewhere closer, but choose not to, as one should do roughly half an hour worth of walking every day, and this covers some of it. I also smoke CIG8, and from here I won’t be keeping score of my tobacco usage anymore, as there is no set figure. But it’s quite a lot.

Of course, if it’s the first day of the weekend, I go out drinking with either me workmates or me “real” mates (which is what my workmates call them), more often than not at some local pub unless something better is going down.

And from here on, Friday is out of the game, and nothing from this point concerns such a special day. Go party, yo! Get drunk! Getting drunk is rad and good for your mental health.

Back on the tube, and back to the pen and paper side of writing, much like 8:00. This means that by the time I reach the other end of the line, I have done about 3.5 hours of writing in one day. Add that up over a weekly run, and you have a ton of work done, believe me.

I reach my home station, and either go straight to my house or go grocery shopping for dinner, which I will get into shortly.

Get home, and turn on my computer. Now, in the time it takes my machine boot up, I exercise. This is because I hate exercising, and so by doing it quickly during my PC's loading process, means I don’t have to lose any time out of my day.

Now, you could always exercise more, but what I do is very straightforward. If you’d rather do some additional shit, then do it, and you'll be better than me, well done. If you prefer going to the gym, by all means, that’s a great thing to do, but I fucking hate the gym. So this bit is particularly aimed at those people who don’t do any exercise and only kinda want to, because by following my routine, at least you’ll be doing something, and as simple as it is, you will start to notice the difference.

It is as follows:
40 sit-ups, or as many as you can do (Monday is regular crunches; Tuesday is twist crunches; Wednesday is bum lifts; Thursday is a mix of them. These aren’t the correct terms, I’m sure)
20 push-ups, or as many as you can do
10 pull-ups on a pull-up bar, or as many as you can do (buy one of these, it's totally worth it)

This is what level I am up to now, but by the time you read this, it will probably be different. I try to add more reps on a weekly basis, because I think that’s the point to exercising or something - always push yourself and make sure you feel like you might die. I’m sure the proper gym buffs will laugh at my routine and call me names and pull my hair, but fuck you, this is written for people who aren’t obsessed with fitness, but are keen to add just an extra slice of health into their life. And this takes less than 5 minutes, which is all I am really willing to do.

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: Exercise while your computer boots up After which, your computer is fully loaded, and due to all the writing (or whatever) you have managed to achieve during the day, I reckon now is a good time to do something different with your evening. I devote this period to making music, so whether it be writing lyrics, recording vocals, programming drums - whatever I feel like, I do what I want. It’s a great time of day especially because most people waste it by watching TV or having a nap. Don’t be one of those people. Have something to show for your evening - tired or not. The feeling of pride and achievement will mean much more at the end of the day, and it will help you sleep.

Also, (and as tempting as it may be) this is no time to masturbate. I used to wank a lot, but I have almost stopped completely. The reason for this, is that feeling yourself makes a person sexually satisfied without the help of another. If you have a girlfriend/boyfriend, you should be fucking them. If you don’t, you should be finding one to fuck. Look, I am not one of those religious people who are against sexing your hand, I'm really not. I think there is a degree of health involved with the act, to be honest. But it does make one complacent, and sex is an important part of life that should be shared between two or more people. So try avoid it, if you can.

On this day, I have what I call “Fix Your Life Monday”, which is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of work stuff, I clean my room thoroughly and then do my washing. Not only this, but I have recently started properly organizing different sections of my room. It may be “this Monday I will organize my clothes” or “this Monday I’m finally going to sort through my top drawer” or “this Monday I’ll put some posters up” - something small which takes about half an hour, which ensures that your room is forever improving and becoming a nice little place to live in. And more often than not, I’ll clean the kitchen too, because it’s a friendly gesture which encourages my housemates to love me even more.

I feel like this is the perfect thing to do on a Monday evening, because after the weekend, one feels a little cluttered and run down. There is a great sense of satisfaction of having a clean room at the end of this day, as it seems symbolic to the clearing of one’s own mind.

If an old friend wants to go for a drink during the week - do it! Work around it! Do not be one of those people who feels guilty about not reaching their daily goals, or who prioritises work over friends. It’s ok to break the cycle, just as long as it’s not more than once a week. The same goes for gigs or shows - go have fun! If you don’t do these things, you’ll begin to loathe the process, and then it won’t work.

I also have this collective project called The Funpowder Plot, where we make films. If you have something like this (perhaps a band or anything collaborative), it should take priority over everything else. The reason why, is because it’s not just you involved here - it's a group of schedules which need to coincide with each other. It’s always harder to organize such things, whereas it’s quite straightforward to move your solo missions around to compensate, making up for any lost time. On the flip side, if you don’t have anything like this in your life, you should probably get one, because they are magical.

Although this time is not set in stone, I feel cooking dinner is best done as early as possible. This is because it isn’t good to eat just before you go to bed, as your body doesn’t work off the calories nor does it digest well whilst sleeping.

Now, when it comes to dinner, there are 5 factors which are important to me:

1. It must taste good
2. It must be cheap
3. It must be quick to prepare
4. It must be healthy
5. It must be easy to clean up

My signature meal (much to my girlfriend’s dismay) consists of frozen veg, bought and then steamed (which takes about 20 minutes). Whilst this is going on, I put some meat in the oven (like chicken or steak or something) generally covered in Oxo, cos that shit's the bomb. Once that’s done, slap some gravy on that bitch, and it’s done. Awesome. If I’m feeling adventurous or bored, I’ll even put some oven chips or potatoes or yorkshire pudding into the mix, cos I'm crazy like that. It should all take about 30 minutes, and abides by the 5 important factors perfectly.

Needless to say, I much prefer it when my girlfriend makes dinner, cos I fucking hate cooking.

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: If you must watch TV, eat your meal while you do so, or eat your TV 20:30
When it comes down to eating said meal, I grant myself the only break of the day. I usually do this by watching an episode of whatever series I'm obsessed with at the current time. Perhaps you will argue that watching series is a waste of time, but there are 3 reasons why I’d disagree with you:

(1) After such a hard day of working, it’s nice to treat yourself with that 30-45 minutes worth of relaxing. It proves to yourself that you love yourself.
(2) It can also be used as a time to socialise, where you and a loved one/friend/housemate can bond over a mutual enjoyment, discussing the program whilst eating a home cooked meal. It’s valuable.
(3) Series (much like books) are a glimpse into someone else’s imagination and artistic creativity, which can be (and should be) used as a source of inspiration. It will benefit your own work, is what I’m saying.

But ONLY allow ONE episode per day, no matter how tempted you may be to "just watch one more". It can suck your time like an overly eager vampire hooker, and if you're not careful, the day could disappear before you even realise it.

Wash up and get back to work, at a bit of a slower pace. This is an extension of 19:10, and should continue until bed time.

Start winding down and getting ready for bed, distracting yourself from thoughts of the day’s work, otherwise you may struggle to get to sleep.

This is my bed time. I try to be under the covers with lights out at this hour, which ensures the recommended 7 hours of sleep. Do not sleep more than this. That said, if you can sleep any less - do it! I aim to get it down to 6 hours as soon as possible, and 5 eventually, if I can handle it.

Goodnight! Repeat in the morning.

For me, this is the part of the week that I don’t like to plan anything. I get drunk and party with my friends. I eat junk food and watch movies with my girl. Sometimes I sleep whole days away, cos fuck you guys. This attitude makes the strict week seem so much more bearable, because you throw all the routine away for a few days, which in turn, should freak you out, forming a guilty conscience which encourages you to have a more successful week following.

That said, if you find yourself without anything to do, it is still an ideal time to get some extra work done, if you are feeling the vibe. A whole day devoted to your projects! How exceptionally beneficial! But for your own sanity, I wouldn’t make a habit out of it.

Streamline Your Life Like Jared Woods: The End (Finnish) And that’s it! I hope by reading my little guide, you have picked up at least one or two tips and tricks which you could incorporate into your own daily life, improving your projects and getting more done within the constraints of your valuable time. But more than anything, please do not take this as a “look at my life, it’s so rad” type of thing, but rather as a “I have totally built this system which is working and helping me loads, and I am confident it could do the same for you” type of thing. Because it really has changed my life into something to be excited about and proud of.

However (and as is the nature of such things), the idea is to improve on this system as often as possible and in your own ways. And so, if you find any weak spots in my ramblings, please do not hesitate to let me know, and who knows? Maybe we could help each other out. I am confident that in 5 years, my routine will be even more streamlined, so I guess I’ll be writing another version around then, and perhaps your ideas could even be incorporated. But until such a day, enjoy the happy experience of watching the weeks dissolve and disappear in seconds while you don’t have a moment to think about yourself, only occasionally stepping back to marvel over what you have achieved in such a short and effortless space of time.

Godspeed, good sir.


  1. While looking like a certain infamous cartoon character, Mr. Woods's ability to run a bloody good blog isn't debatable. Although more dick jokes would be heartily appreciated. Why am i recalling Mark Prindle? I think he'd be like you if the guy did include some photos in his sites.

    1. I do not know this Mark Prindle person you speak of, but I like him already. Thanks for the kind words, it makes me feel powerful.