Multiple positives — activities that benefit you in multiple ways — are a powerful productivity tool. These activities maximize your time by combining necessities like education, exercise, money making, and fun into a single, super productive action. The more multiple positives you use, the easier it is to get everything you want done without feeling stressed. They also free up loads of time and create a pleasant feeling of satisfaction and efficiency.
Finding your personal multiple positives can be challenging. Nothing works for everyone, so it’s important to figure out what’s compatible with your lifestyle and continuously optimize. Based on the feedback from my post about return on investment, personal experience, and hours of research, here are the top 11 multiple positives that productive people use to make the most of their time. I hope you find something inspiring, I know I have.
Enjoyable and Educational Exercise
We start finding reasons not to exercise when it becomes a tedious chore. Making exercise a pleasant experience encourages us to use our bodies more often and satisfies our recreational desires. Here are some examples of how to make exercise a multiple positive.
- Take it Outside – Getting out of that musty gym and enjoying the great outdoors creates a completely different experience. Instead of counting seconds on the treadmill, walk, run, or bike around your neighborhood. If you’re ambitious you can even head to a local park for some interesting scenery. Try gardening and yard work for the extra benefit of getting things done around the house.
- Make it Social – Exercise can also be quality time with friends and family. Instead of making the gym a lonesome affair, find a partner. Having someone to socialize with makes the time pass faster and gives you a chance to develop personal relationships. After dinner walks let you get some fresh air, work out your legs, and have a conversation. Another good example is coaching youth sports which also contributes to the community.
- Make it a Game – Nothing makes the time fly by like friendly competition. My personal favorite is pickup basketball, but any sport could be an example. Tennis, golf, fishing, or even a casual game of frisbee can make exercise less work and more play.
- Get Smarter - A great way to add still another positive is making exercise educational. Listening to books on tape or podcasts while walking, running, or using the treadmill, takes your mind off the work while your learn about a subject you’d never be able to squeeze in otherwise.
Hobbies that Make Money
Hobbies are a great way to relax and develop skills, but finding ones that generate revenue will take your productivity to another level. It may not be much, but getting paid to do what you love is priceless. Over time those income streams can amount to a substantial sum. After all, it’s all gravy.
- Web Site or Blog – If you’re passionate about a subject, technically savvy, and enjoy sharing information, starting a website or blog could be a great idea. It’s definitely reasonable to bring in a few hundred dollars a month. The longer you keep at it, the more your income will grow. Blogging also allows you to improve your writing ability, build your personal brand, and network with people all over the world.
- Photography – This is another great hobby that can enrich your life and lead to freelance income. It’s also a way to improve your visual skills and capture lasting images of family and friends. Who knows, if you get good enough to do the occasional wedding, those expensive lenses could pay for themselves.
- Anything that Develops a Useful Skill – The number of hobbies that can potentially make money is enormous. This useful post is devoted entirely to the subject, so I won’t rehash it here, but profitable hobbies don’t even need to be direct money makers. Anything that develops a skill that helps you professionally will make you money in the long run. Semi-work-related hobbies are great way to focus on the aspects of work that you really enjoy and are crucial to landing the next great job.
Make the Most of Your Commute
The commute is a part of the day most people dread. We usually spend it stuck in traffic, miserable and unable to do anything productive. Finding a way make your commute useful and enjoyable can vastly increase productivity and eliminate stress.
- Learn a Language – This is my personal favorite. I love learning languages, so listening to the Pimsleur language programs on my way home from work allows me to fit lessons into otherwise useless time. Learning a language makes the drive go faster and has helped improve my thinking and writing ability and develop a little bit of much needed culture.
- Books on Tape – Have a ton of books you want to read, but never seem to find the time? A great way to fit them in and ease your commute is listening to audio books or podcasts. You can absorb useful information from a soothing narrator instead of banging your head against the steering wheel. One reader takes this to the next level by listening to books on tape while walking to work — combining exercise, enjoyment, education, and commute into one remarkable multiple positive.
- Bike to Work – This is another popular one. Biking to work is great exercise, saves money on gas, makes you more alert, and is even good for the environment. It doesn’t get much more productive than that.
The Joy of Cooking
We’re often tempted to eat out because of convenience, but it’s generally more expensive and less healthy than cooking at home. I’ve found that by eating frozen vegetables and cooking on a Foreman grill, I eat for half the money and in half the time it would take to order delivery. Making cooking a social event is a great way to relax and spend time with friends. It’s a skill that will save you money and impress people for the rest of your life.
The few examples provided here are only the tip of the iceberg. With a bit of creative thinking you can easily find activities that fulfill multiple needs. The better you get at this, the more productivity and enjoyment you’ll be able to fit into your hectic schedule. It’s not about cramming more productivity into every spare moment, it’s about making the most of a precious resource.