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Money Multitasking – Concept and Execution

money multitaskingI was thinking the other day about how much multitasking that I do on a regular basis.  I constantly work on multiple projects at work due to the nature of my job and that works for me.  I feel a little out of it if I don’t have multiple projects going on all at once.  That being said, I can only handle so much before I become ineffective.  Having a full time job, a family, and a blog can be very time consuming.  I work very hard to make sure I am only doing a few things at a time, so that I can make sure they are completed to the level that I expect.  Anything beyond will provide me with a bad result and there is no point in doing more work at a lesser quality.

Money Multitasking

So, as I thought of multitasking, I also thought of the concept of money multitasking.  What is money multitasking you ask?  Well, it is when you use your money for different things at the same time.  For instance, we tend to spend, save, and invest our money all at the same time.  Now, we can go deeper into each with regards to spending for different purposes, savings for different goals, and investing for retirement along with all other investments.  We tend to use our money for so many different things over the course of our days, weeks, months, and years.

Have you ever thought that you are stretching yourself too thin with regards to your money?  Are we pushing the limits with our money multitasking and becoming inefficient?  If we do too many tasks at once, we tend to lose productivity and creativity.  There have been many studies on the effects of taking on too many tasks at one time, so why can it not be pushed to what we do with our money?

We all want to make efficient use of our money and that requires discipline.  Shouldn’t we focus our efforts on things that are making us money and keeping us effective and efficient?

I don’t see any issue with spending, saving, and investing our money, but we should focus on each to make sure we are being efficient with each.  We shouldn’t jump into the boat without knowledge of where it is going.  Investing alone can be very difficult to jump into and you can really lose a lot if you don’t do the proper research.  No one wants that, right?

Becoming More Effective

I am happy that I started thinking about this because now it allows me to start to focus on different aspects of my money use.  I don’t want to focus on all of them.  When I was in debt, I focused on paying down my debt along with saving.  I had a pretty good rule when doing so.  Now that I look back, I am glad that I didn’t try to start investing because I think I would have been ineffective with it.  I could have jumped into the game without the appropriate research and been on the losing end.  That is not something that I want to do.

So, to become more effective with my money, I want to just focus on certain aspects of it.  Right now, I want to focus on saving money on my monthly bills.  I am working on switching my cell phone service to a prepaid phone plan, but I need to make the right choice for me.  Once I am done with reducing my monthly bills, then I want to focus on dividend investing.  I have been interested in it for some time, but just haven’t had the time to jump in.  After that, I will focus on making more money.  You can only save so much, so why not figure out some ways to make more money?

This is my current plan to make sure I am not falling victim to bad money multitasking.  I want to be efficient and effective with my money, not just keep pushing myself to do more.  Multitasking can be great if used appropriately, but we have to realize when we are doing it right.  Most of us multitask, but most of us probably aren’t efficient when doing so.  Let’s start being more efficient and maximize our time and money.

What do you think about the concept of money multitasking?  Do you do it?  Do you think you are using your money in the most efficient manner?

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About the Author Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress maintenance and support company, along with another blog, Eyes on the Dollar, which is another great personal finance blog.

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42 comments
Matt Becker says July 15

I have to be honest that I’m actually not very good at multi-tasking, as much as I try to do it. I’ve been trying to work on single-tasking recently and I find that I’m much more productive when I can actually do it. With regards to money, I think your point is a good one in that it probably makes sense to only focus on learning or improving one thing at a time. But with most things you can get to a point where they’re pretty automated, so that saving, investing, paying off debt, etc. all at the same time isn’t actually more work.

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    Grayson says July 18

    At least you admit it Matt. Most people think they are awesome at multi-tasking, but many are terrible. It takes a very talented person to be efficient when taking on so much.

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Derek | MoneyAhoy.com - Money Saving, Making Money, and Investment Ideas says July 15

Having too many irons in the fire can be detrimental. This is why I like investing in market index funds vs. trying to manage a ton of different stocks.

I made a whole post and video about it here if anyone is interested in checking it out: http://www.moneyahoy.com/investing-in-market-index-funds-is-best/

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    Grayson says July 18

    That does make it much easier. Money multitasking is not just about investing though, it is all about what you do with your money.

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DC @ Young Adult Money says July 15

I would say I am pretty good at multitasking my time, but I definitely have seen how efficient it is to sometimes just sit down, focus on one thing, and crank it out. Usually the quality is higher as well.

I would say I do money multitask a bit too much. There’s so many things I want to do – travel, pay down debt, upgrade things in the house, work on the rental unit….it can really stretch money a bit too thin. I’ll have to take your advice and find out what my priorities should be and focus on those instead of focusing on 10 different goals at once.

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    Grayson says July 18

    It is kind of eye opening when you just sit down and focus on one thing. You can get it done quickly and with precision. This is the same thing that you can do with money.

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Holly@ClubThrifty says July 15

My old job required a ton of multi-tasking. It was incredibly hard to juggle all of my different responsibilities and still do a decent job.
Now that I’m self-employed, I’ve found that I perform better when I really focus on one thing at a time.

As far as money goes, I’m pretty focused. However, I do need to invest more of what we save. I’m such a money hoarder but sometimes I forget to do anything with it and just sock it away for months at a time!

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    Grayson says July 18

    Nice work Holly. At least you know how it can affect you. Focusing your money on a few things is much easier than spreading it out.

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John S @ Frugal Rules says July 15

I can relate to the multi-tasking and do a lot of it myself. We have so many things going on at once I really have no choice but to do it. In regards to doing it with money, I tend to have pretty good focus, but I fail to set the time aside to manage our investments the way I should be doing. I’ve known that for a while and just need to block off some time to do it on a more regular basis.

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    Grayson says July 18

    I still do it, but have found that I am just not keeping up with my level of expectation. I don’t like that feeling.

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Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says July 15

I actually think I am spreading myself too thin at the moment. I thought I would have more time than I currently do with my son and all the side income projects that I have on the boil. Many of the things that I used to be able to get done are starting to fall through the cracks. One of the big ones is how regularly I manage my money. I cant even remember the last time I took a look at our weekly spend or the mortgage repayments 🙁

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    Grayson says July 18

    The baby takes a lot of time, doesn’t it Glen. I am finding the same issue. Before he came, I was able to complete so much and my blog and business were growing exponentially. Now it has settled considerably and I am trying to figure it all out.

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Greg@Thriftgenuity says July 15

I make sure that I focus on multi-tasking. Mainly because I tend to focus so much on paying down debt that I might forget about investment opportunities during the process. So, it is important for me to step back and see the long-term big picture so that I remember that taking advantage of good investments while paying down debt is a good way to go.

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    Grayson says July 18

    Great point Greg. I don’t think paying down debt and investing some is a bad idea. It is when you start adding in many other goals that you want to accomplish with your money. It can really distort your vision and goal.

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Laurie says July 15

I think lots of times we stretch ourselves too thin trying to get out of debt. Too much multi-tasking. We are working on this, though, trying to gain a little more perspective and think things out a little better.

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    Grayson says July 18

    Good luck with it Laurie. There are times when doing many things can be enticing, but you might not be helping yourself in the long run.

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Jake @ Common Cents Wealth says July 15

I tend to be a multi-tasker like you. If I’m not doing more than one thing at a time I feel like I’m not being productive. That being said, it can be a downfall and create problems if you’re not careful. I know my wife and I are putting our money towards multiple different uses right now, but I don’t think we’re stretching it too thin at this point. That is something to keep in mind for the future though.

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Girl Meets Debt says July 15

Like you in the past, right now I am concentrating on paying off debt and saving. When that is finished I will start investing but I don’t want to overwhelm myself when debt fatigue is so hard to deal with on a daily basis. Ugh.

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    Grayson says July 18

    I think you have a good approach GMD and you are doing well with it right now. Keep it up!

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Brian @ Luke1428 says July 15

I’ve never thought of putting the term “multitasking” next to “money” but it makes sense. You are basically talking about focusing on one, maybe two, important money management areas at a time. To do more would create confusion. Seems to me this fits well the concept of the Baby Steps approach to personal finance. Work on one area at a time, putting most of the financial resources towards beating each step along the way. I like it!

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    Grayson says July 18

    Yes, you got my point right on Brian. Focus your money on one or two things and get it done.

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Andrew@LivingRichCheaply says July 15

I would like to think of myself as a great multi-tasker as I have a lot of things on my mind that I plan on doing. But in the end I think it’s better to focus on a small amount of tasks and accomplish them before moving on. I often have a list of money making and money saving ideas that never come to fruition because I lose focus.

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    Grayson says July 18

    I have been there Andrew. I think I am doing great, but when I look back, I realize that I didn’t do what I was efficiently. That irritates me.

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Rita P @ Digital Spikes says July 15

It is good to do multi tasking. Having complete focus on paying off debt is not way to go. One must also look for cash savings instead as well as small investments as well

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    Grayson says July 18

    Multitasking is only good to a point. If you pay down debt and save, I don’t really consider that a bad thing. It is when you want to add more tasks to accomplish with your money.

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Tanya @ The Heavy Purse says July 15

I’m not the world’s best multi-tasker. I like to say that I am, but I tend to get easily distracted or so absorbed in the task I’m currently doing that I forget about everything else. 🙂 I too am taking a hard look at my monthly bills and seeing where I can lower them. It’s easy to get in the habit of just paying bills but I have no doubt there is fat to be trimmed and money to be saved!

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    Grayson says July 18

    I am with you there Tanya. You can really get distracted easily when you take on too much at one time.

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Peter says July 15

I’m a huge advocate of mono-tasking. I tried and tried to believe that multitasking works because I naturally tend to go that way for some reason, but I can’t deny it anymore. It doesn’t work. However, when it comes to money, as long as process is automated rather that’s in saving, earning or investing, I don’t see any problem.

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    Grayson says July 18

    At least you know how well you run when you focus your skills and time. It can really make a big difference.

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Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility says July 15

I couldn’t agree more with your want to focus on only a few things at one time. Right now, I’m focused on paying down debt and saving money on bills and other payments. By focusing on just these two things, I can take the time to read, research, and decide on what areas we can change to either pay down debt faster or pay less for the services we receive. This kind of multi-tasking works for us too!

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    Grayson says July 18

    Glad you agree Lindsey. You can complete your goals quicker if you just focus your energy on it.

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Edward Antrobus says July 15

I multi-task with my money, but wish I was able to do less of it. I’d love to not have to save part of each paycheck to cover the four months of the year I’m not working.

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E.M. says July 15

You bring up a good point! I’m always multitasking at work as well, but when it gets to be too much, then I’m not putting enough emphasis on at least one area. There’s a certain threshold I have. That can definitely be applied to money. I’m currently trying to pay off student loans and save. I think I’ve reached a point where I’m comfortable with what I have saved, so I’m moving on to opening an IRA. Still making student loans a priority though!

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    Grayson says July 18

    I think it is good to have two goals and run with them. Once you complete one, then you can move to another. Running two things concurrently is not bad, but when you add more, that is when the wheels start to fall off.

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Canadian Budget Binder says July 15

Oh I’m multi-tasking for sure. I can’t help it because I want to make sure everything is running the way it should be and I’m not missing anything. One area where I am not putting all my focus is investing and I leave that to my advisor at the moment. That is an area I’d like to learn more about first. I think if I were to jump in and try to take that on in the midst of everything else It would be a disaster. I think we have to pick our battles wisely when it comes to money management but I’m not sure I could back away from one or the other.

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    Grayson says July 18

    I can understand your premise, but do you think you are doing everything as effectively as you would if you focused on maybe just two things?

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Martin says July 17

I can see the point of multitasking. Many times this can make me crazy and overstretch myself so i must stop, reduce some tasks to get back on track. Good point. Completely agree with it.

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    Grayson says July 18

    Thanks Martin. I agree that multitasking has it’s place, but you need to be able to refocus yourself if you get out of control.

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MakintheBacon says July 21

I’ve always been a multi-tasker. I think it is because I get bored quite easily and am always looking for something to do. You bring up a very good point with money and multi-tasking. I think I save and spend efficiently, but like a lot of people I really should focus more on investing. I have money invested in stocks and mutual funds, and I feel like I’ve made some good picks because my money is increasing somewhat. However, I really need to focus more on learning the analytical side of it and knowing what those values mean.

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thepotatohead says August 5

What usually ends of happenign with me is I’ll be able to focus pretty hardcore on a certain group of projects for like 2-4 weeks at a time. Then I want to do something else and those get put to the wayside. Not exactly the best strategy for money management. I’ve been trying to do the same approach as you with money and knock out different things one at a time. Much easier that way for me.

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