Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Multitaking is an invaluable skill that helps people save countless hours throughout their lives. Many people feel that they can't multitask but they're doing it without even knowing. When someone pops bread into the toaster and pour herself a cup of coffee while she waits for the toast, she's multitasking. When someone is folding his laundry while watching his favourite television show, he's multitasking.

By multitasking you're able to get more done with the same amount of time. Since we're all given the same amount of time (we each get to decide what we do with our 24 hours) if you can be more productive then you'll come out ahead.

The key is when you have those lull moments in your day (which I'm sure everyone has) you think to yourself: "This is a boring, monotonous and simple task, yet it has to be done... Is there something else I can be doing at the same time while I get this over with?"

Here's and example from my life and the life of almost every university kid who lives off campus. Commuting during the school year is one of the greatest time sinks in my day. It takes me around 2.5-3 hours for the round trip from my house to school on good days. Don't even get me started on rush hour traffic. This is one thing I dread when September rolls around.

When I first started commuting on public transit in high school, I simply looked out the window and enjoyed the scenery because it was new and exciting to me (my elementary and middle schools were all within walkable distance). After only a few days I quickly get bored and started listening to music on the ride. That was enjoyable but wasn't very productive. At least I had other students to talk to to make it go faster.

Fast forward to my university years where I'm on the TTC alone and people watching and music isn't going to cut it anymore. I now read on the ride - doesn't have to be educational but I'll admit that I have done last minute cramming on the train a few times. What's important is that you're doing something that you want to do while doing something that you have to do. This makes you not only more productive, but makes the mandatory task more bearable. Heck, I'm even writing out this blog on the train right now a I go to work!

There are plenty of other situations where multitasking is possible; you just have to keep your eyes open for those opportunities. For example, maybe you can be getting in your daily workout while watching your favourite television show; do pushups during commercial breaks or bicep curls while watching the show.

It is important to note that the side task shouldn't take away from the concentration needed for the main task. That's why reading a book while going out for a jog doesn't sound like a good idea.

Something like a paper route is great. What's so great about lugging around an enormous bag full of flyers through the neighbourhood you say? Well you may see that but I see it as somebody paying me to work out because I plan to stuff the flyers in a backpack to use as a makeshift weighted vest while I run through the area as fast as I can, trying to improve my time everyday.

Multitasking doesn't necessarily mean that you personally have to be doing more than one thing at once. That example with the toast? The woman popped the bread in the toaster and let the machine do its thing while she went and did something else. We can take this idea and take it to the next level.

Rather than having a physical garage sale where I have to be sitting there the whole day, I can invest a few minutes to put up an ad on Craigslist and that will stay up indefinitely while I can get on with my life while I wait for someone to respond to the ad.

An obvious form of multitasking is anything that makes you income while you're not actively earning it (passive income). This is great because it saves you time that you were suppose to spend working. One way to do this is to outsource the work to somebody else. A big example of this in my life is the dividend portfolio I'm trying to build. If everything goes according to plan, the portfolio will generate income for me so that I don't have to do it for myself. This way I have more time to live my life (aka early retirement). One of the reasons I strive to be a successful investor is because the idea of having my money work for me is quite appealing.

Hopefully you'll find ways to make your days more full and effective. I'll talk to you guys soon; the train just pulled into the station and I have to get to work.

-the Paperboy

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