Hobbies are unpaid activities that you do during your leisure time, so what does it have to do with your work and your career?
To set the stage, we are considering healthy hobbies – sports, creative activities like painting, playing music and sculpting, cooking, volunteering on social projects and others. Scrolling on social media or watching Netflix will not bring you all of the benefits described.
If you are still thinking about the question above, I’ll give you three reasons why hobbies will benefit your career and your life. I encourage you to come up with your ideas on why you should invest more in your current hobbies or start new ones.
1. Decompress from your day to day routine
To keep your productivity and engagement high at work, you need to relax and decompress during your work week, weekends, and vacations. When you have hobbies that you are passionate about, you’ll look forward to them instead of putting some extra hours on work just because you don’t have anything better to do. Increasing your work hours can become a habit before you notice it when working remotely, and hobbies are a great way to avoid it.
What if your favorite hobbies are not available right now because they require contact with people, traveling, or availability of businesses that may not be open?
I encourage you to try new things until you find new hobbies. I used to travel to national parks at least once a year, where I would be in touch with nature, go on hikes to find hidden beauties, take pictures with my camera instead of my phone to improve my photography skills.
I decided not to travel this year. And instead, I choose to spend more time close to nature where I live. I have added walks by the beach and hikes to parks to my daily routine and, some days, I take my camera with me. I have come to appreciate my own area more as I experience it with the same touristic enthusiasm that I have during my trips.
2. Develop new skills that can help you through your life
Playing soccer with your friends cultivates collaboration, preparing to run a marathon requires focus and persistence, a ceramic class can develop your creativity, patience, and even mindfulness. The list goes on. When recruiters ask about your hobbies in a job interview, they want to know what you are passionate about, how you would blend into the company’s culture and what skills you are developing outside of work.
When I started yoga some years ago, I needed a gateway to disconnect from work, ease my mind, and improve my endurance and flexibility. Through my journey, I have learned how to respect my body, be more grateful and patient. Those benefits have reflected on my career – I received feedback that I had become a better listener a few months after I started – and in my relationships with family and friends.
As hobbies like yoga become part of my routine, I like to introduce new ones to my life. Recently I started learning golf, and I have enjoyed practicing on the weekends. It’s a challenging and humbling sport that has developed my patience, and showed me over and over that when I control my mind, stay positive and focused on the target, my performance improves.
Needless to say that I am carrying these lessons to my professional life. As a perfectionist, I tend to require higher standards for myself than anybody else, and I can get caught up on negative thoughts when things don’t go the way I’ve planned. My golf practice has taught me to look at the positives in the situation and quickly move on, without overthinking.
3. Improve your work satisfaction and your happiness
Millennials and Gen Zs expect work to be aligned with purpose and tend to get dissatisfied and disengaged at work when their expectation is not met.
Without getting into the topic of finding or following your passion and aligning your career to it (there are other blog posts about it), I encourage you to think about your life holistically.
Imagine that you have a job in a well established company, you have had some opportunities to develop, and you like your co-workers. But you are still not happy. Either you don’t feel that your work has a direct impact on the customers or society, you don’t have opportunities to be creative, you are working too many hours or something else.
You always have the options to move to another company and change careers, but there is a chance that you still will not be fulfilled if you are not checking all the boxes of your imaginary perfect job. In some situations, you may not be willing to leave a good salary and stability to try something more impactful that will demand a change in lifestyle. (e.g.: leave a tech company to work for a non-profit).
What if you keep your imperfect job and you volunteer in your community, start a painting class, or other hobbies that will bring you fulfillment? You will probably feel better about your job if you don’t expect that it’s the only avenue to align your life with your purpose.
When I started this blog I was trying to improve my work-life balance. As I share my strategies with the other divas out there, I get more motivated to continue prioritizing balance regardless of how the environment changes. This is one of the hobbies that help me to improve my work satisfaction and day to day happiness.
Originally published on Ideas for Divas