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If You Don’t Have a Hobby, You May Be Hurting Your Business

If You Don’t Have a Hobby, You May Be Hurting Your Business

Whenever anyone used to ask me what I did “for fun,” I would just kind of stare blankly back at them. Certainly, I’ve done a lot of fun and exciting things in my life, such as when I went sky diving off the coast of California or scuba diving in Cozumel, but these had traditionally been more along the lines of one-time occurrences versus actual hobbies. The truth is that I didn’t have something that I regularly did that wasn’t work-related which, come to find out, was probably limiting my business success.

One Study’s Results

In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, a group of researchers looked at what effect non-work activities had on work-related performance. They did this by conducting two different studies. One involved 341 workers rating their own performance on the job, and the other piece of research involved 92 active duty U.S. Air Force captains who had co-workers and subordinates rate their work performance. The results?

Individuals who spent time doing enjoyable activities outside of work tended to have more creativity on the job. Researchers suggest that this positive effect is partly from the development of more skills and abilities while performing their activity of choice. Another contributing factor is likely that the individuals got to finally relax for a while, allowing them to return to work feeling refreshed and renewed.

What This Means In Real Life Terms

What this means in real life terms is that creative activities done outside of work can have a positive effect on your ability to be creative while conducting your day-to-day business tasks. Stated simply, having fun while off the clock can potentially help you solve problems and come up with creative solutions when on the clock.

This is important not only when it comes to your ability to achieve higher levels of work-related success, but it is also a great reason to help your employees understand this as well. After all, encouraging them to pursue their interests outside of work may just help them be more creative during paid time. This gives you greater access to their full potential, helping take you and your company to places you’ve never dreamt possible.

Some Hobbies to Consider

What types of hobbies could provide this type of positive, career-enhancing benefit for you and your staff? Here are some to consider:

  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Gardening or landscaping
  • Joining a sports league
  • Writing, such as penning a regular column in a newspaper or writing your own book
  • Acting in a local theater
  • Dancing, either solo or with a partner
  • Riding horses or showing animals
  • Woodworking or leather crafting
  • Painting or drawing
  • Reading
  • Archery, fishing, hunting, or some other outside sport
  • Flying planes or helicopters
  • Bicycling, hiking, surfing, or any other form of physical activity
  • Photography
  • Martial arts
  • Collecting something
  • Car racing
  • Golf
  • And the list goes on and on!

Before selecting the perfect hobby for you though, just make sure you…

Do Something You Enjoy

When coming up with some things you can do to enrich your non-work time, the most important thing to remember is to pick something you enjoy. Engaging in a hobby that doesn’t fulfill your soul isn’t going to help you. In fact, it may actually hurt you because you’ve now added something more to your to-do list, making it more of a chore than a pleasure.

Therefore, you need to truly have a passion for your hobby or it probably isn’t going to provide you the release you need to better channel your inner creativity. So, choose an option or two that you’ve always wanted to try and never did. Select something that makes you smile at the mere thought of it and it will likely make you a better businessperson if you do.

As for me, I am consciously working toward turning off the television at the end of my work day and doing something more productive in my off-time, such as reading or walking with my sister. Is it working?

Well, I certainly feel better mentally, which is helping me get more done in less time when writing for clients. I also am enjoying life a whole lot more too. So, yes, I guess it is. Apparently, I really should have gotten a hobby long ago.

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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.