by Josh Millar
When we’re looking for ways to improve and grow in our careers, we often look to the ways we spend our time in the office. Interestingly, how we spend our time outside of the office can also play a role in our professional success. The hobbies and activities we engage in outside of work often have an impact on how we engage with our work. Playing a sport, taking an art class, watching tv, and getting outside all have different effects. What are some of the ways our out-of-work activities impact our professional success? Here are some of the most important:
When it comes to problem solving, creative thinking can be a major asset. One way to strengthen our creativity is to engage in hobbies that work that part of our brain. You don’t have to be a terrific artist to get in touch with your creative side. The key is working with a different part of your brain. This helps us find different perspectives and innovative solutions, in and out of work.
Hobbies contribute to our sense of self. They’re a chance to learn about ourselves and build self-esteem. In many ways, this is because they allow us to witness our progress. Maybe you see yourself improving at a sport, perhaps your artwork is evolving, maybe you’ve learned something completely new. Though all the work might be done outside of the office, the confidence we gain comes with us when we head back to work.
We need ways to de-stress and unwind after challenging days. This is a key strategy for preventing burnout. The activities we chose in our free time can help us do this. When you identify the hobbies that help you decompress and recharge, these are powerful tools. It might be as simple as taking a walk after a long day or maybe getting lost in a creative pursuit.
When we engage in activities that are new to us or in which there is ample room for growth, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn new things. We challenge our minds and keep things active. After years in the same job, your day-to-day might start to look fairly similar. Choosing a hobby that requires you to keep learning helps keep you in that open mindset. It allows you to bring that sense of curiosity to work and find new ways to grow in that environment as well.
The things we do in our off time can contribute to our professional success. If you currently have a favorite hobby, ask yourself if it’s offering you any benefits in your work life. If you have space to accommodate a new hobby, consider choosing with these things in mind. If there’s a specific area you’re wanting to strengthen at work, there’s often a hobby that can support your improvement. Anything from teamwork and networking to innovation and branding. How do your hobbies impact your professional life? I’d love to hear your thoughts.