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How to enrich your life and improve your investment experience

Stop being distracted by the endless media noise and spend your spare gadget time on something more productive!

I recently ran out of battery on my mobile phone and was left waiting for my friend in a bar for 15 minutes. Shock, horror! I had no idea what to do with myself. Eventually my nerves settled and a great by-product of not having a distraction manifested itself, I spent some time alone with my brain. More specifically, I reflected on how dependent we are on our gadgets these days and, despite what we may think, how much time we spend procrastinating on these devices.

As any regular reader of this blog will know following the financial pages is the root of many, if not most, investment evils. This can include overtrading, market timing (often at the worst time) and failing to rebalance at the most opportune time. Despite knowing this fact many still find themselves reading the latest update on Bloomberg or CNBC more  frequently than is possibly good for them.

So how can we spend time on our phones, tablets and laptops more productively? Here are some ideas and I welcome other suggestions:

–          Learn a language (I recently discovered the (free) app DuoLingo, it’s great and each ‘course’ is about 10-20 minutes making it easy to use on the go).

–          Read a book

–          Watch a presentation on TED.com

–          Call a friend, or

–          Just turn the whole thing off and enjoy a rare moment of distraction free reflection.

Top tip: If you are feeling finance news withdrawal symptoms here’s an interesting exercise: Go to the library and open the financial pages of an old newspaper, this should give you some perspective on how little times have changed. Alternatively you could try the excellent book ‘Money Game’ from 1968 by ‘Adam Smith’, which should have the same effect.


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