Folks, investing doesn’t have to be rocket science.

Study after study has shown that boring, old dividend stocks tend to outperform in the long haul. Better yet, dividend payers have historically not only beaten the market, but done so with less risk. Why is this the case? Well for one, you can be more confident that dividend-paying companies are actually banking money.

That’s because distributions can only be paid out in cold, hard cash. This may sound simplistic, but many firms report accounting profits without actually generating any real cash flow.

The only problem with dividends is that many companies only pay you once per quarter. That might be OK for some. But for those of us who rely on dividends to pay the bills, balancing quarterly payouts with monthly expenses can be tricky.

However, there’s a way around this issue. By researching payout schedules, you can find a combination of stocks that deliver dividends in different months. That way, you can scatter your payments throughout the year.

The end result is a portfolio that generates monthly cash flow. To help get you started, I have picked three top dividend names that are organized in exactly this fashion. With this basket of stocks, you should be able to collect a dividend cheque every month of the year.

January, April, July, and October

If you’re looking to impress your colleagues around the water cooler, then the Royal Bank of Canada  (TSX:RY)(NYSE:RY) isn’t for you. But if you like good, old fashioned dividends, then you’ll like this stock just fine.

Canada’s largest bank is the definition of a boring company. What the firm lacks in excitement, it more than makes up for in profits. Consider that if you’d bought $10,000 worth of RBC shares 20 years ago and reinvested all of your dividends, your shares would be worth about $172,000 today.

Investors probably can’t count on those stellar returns to continue, but there’s more growth ahead. Driven by strength in wealth management and improving global capital markets, RBC’s earnings are poised to grow by more than 7% annually over the next five years—and the dividend will probably grow even faster.

February, May, August, and November

Few songs are as good as 1980’s classic Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins, and few dividend stocks are as good as Imperial Oil Limited  (TSX:IMO)(NYSE:IMO).

Imperial is a cash-gushing machine. Between 2004 and 2013, Imperial paid out nearly $13 billion in dividends and buybacks. That’s more than rivals SuncorCenovus, and Canadian Natural Resources combined.

There’s almost certainly more where that came from. With operations stretching from the Alberta oil sands, north to the Mackenzie Delta, and east to the Orphan Basin off the coast of Newfoundland, the company is sitting on top of 16 billion barrels of oil equivalent in resources. That should provide plenty of room for dividend hikes in the years ahead.

March, June, September, and December

The Canadian National Railway Company  (TSX:CNR)(NYSE:CNI) is your ultimate forever stock.

The firm’s network of track would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to replicate. Not to mention that no other method of shipping freight can compete with rail over long distances. That means CN can crank out profits year after year without the worry of new competitors eating into margins.

But how well does the stock hold up during recessions? Well, since going public in 1996, CN has increased its distribution nearly 15-fold. And during the financial crisis, the company managed to hike its dividend twice in both 2008 and 2009. If CN can make it through that, it can probably make it through anything.

Who else wants more dividend income?

Of course, these aren't the only stocks that crank out reliable income. They're just a few ideas to get you started. However, by identifying companies that stagger their payouts, you can collect a dividend cheque every month of the year. What could be better than that?

If you're looking for more income ideas, then check out my special FREE report: "3 Dividend Stocks to Buy and Hold Forever." These companies have paid dividends to shareholders for decades (and even centuries!). Click here now to get the full story!

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Fool contributor Robert Baillieul has no position in any stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Canadian National Railway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Canadian National Railway. Canadian National Railway is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.