Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by Rebecca Cormier, regional sales director at Roadbotics. She has worked with govtech companies and for local government, with a passion for smart cities and civic engagement. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
What I’m Reading: Consider This, by Chuck Palahniuk, full of excellent advice on writing, learned throughout his career.
What I’m Listening to: Revisionist History podcast by Malcolm Gladwell
What I’m Watching: I just finished On Becoming a God in Central Florida and trying to decide what next?
Traditionally, January is the time of year filled with fresh starts, new goals, and a sense of excitement for what the future holds. This new year’s hopes, for many, are overcast with fears of instability brought on by Covid-19, such as the fear of losing a job, or of not finding a new one fast enough. Our jobs not only offer security but, given the amount of time we spend at them, they often become a large part of our identity. As a result, the loss of a job, or worry about that loss, is not just a loss of security, but for many, a loss of purpose, making it harder to have the confidence to find a new job. This insecurity can crowd our minds, causing depression, and anxiety, all of which affect our performance and have a negative effect on our longevity and health. While you can’t control all roadblocks that threaten your career, there is one thing you can do and encourage others to do, to make yourself more valuable in your job, and more marketable for the future: Get a hobby.
In this article, I explain four ways a hobby helps your current, and future career through boosting creativity, improving health, expanding skillsets, and preventing burnout. It is my goal to demonstrate that making time to step away from your job is every bit as important to your success and well-being as showing up to your job!
1. BOOST CREATIVITY
In The Harvard Business Review’s article, “Why You Should Work Less and Spend More Time on Hobbies“, Gaetano DiNardi asserts that the modern workplace needs innovators, however, “coming up with a fully original idea can be difficult when your mind is filled with targets, metrics, and deadlines”. A creative hobby pulls you out of this mindset, forcing you to focus on feelings instead of rational thoughts. DiNardi goes on to explain, “Neuroscientists have found that rational thought and emotions involve different parts of the brain. For the floodgates of creativity to open, both must be in play.” A study conducted by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology concluded that, in demanding work environments, “creative activity was found to have both indirect and direct effects of performance-related outcomes”. As counterintuitive as it sounds, your drive, focus, and productivity at your job will increase if you focus some of your time elsewhere.
2. IMPROVE HEALTH
Srini Pillay, M.D., explains in Psychology Today: How Hobbies impact your Head and Your Heart, those who enjoy hobbies are associated with lower blood pressure, smaller waist circumference, and a lower body mass index. People also feel better physically and are less likely to be depressed. Feeling better often leads to better sleep, which, in turn, leads to more focus and energy throughout the day. According to Marguerita Ward, a senior reporter with Business Insider, even low movement hobbies, like knitting, crafting, and guitar, are connected to better health.
3. EXPAND SKILLSETS
Time conducted a study of over 300 skilled workers partaking in hobbies ranging from writing to video games in 2014, with results showing an increase in work improvement. While this study was unable to pinpoint the exact reason for this improvement, it suggested, “it’s likely that people learn new skills through their other activities, and these skills may be applied to their daily work”. These skills contribute to confidence in the workplace and also help you avoid pigeonholing yourself to one set of qualifications, should you find yourself seeking a new career. Even the simplest of hobbies will help you learn faster and retain more information. In Fast Company: How Hobbies Improve Your Happiness and Productivity at Work, we learn that “doodling can improve memory by 29 percent. People who read books have more activity in the part of the brain associated with language and intelligence. And good news for workout fanatics: Cardiovascular exercise improves cognition and mental performance.”
4. PREVENT BURNOUT
Wellness coach, Elizabeth Scott, M.S., tells us in Very Well Mind: The Importance of Hobbies for Stress Relief, “Hobbies bring a sense of fun and freedom to life that can help to minimize the impact of chronic stress.” She goes on to explain that hobbies provide an outlet for stress and something to look forward to after a hard day (or week) at a stressful job. While facing fears, broadening your horizons, and taking risks have their own set of benefits, you do not have to do any of this to enjoy a hobby. Even a daily walk through nature can positively affect the way we think, our emotional levels, and our anxiety. Enjoying something creative or fun regularly will help you escape the demands of a stressful job, and after, view problems that once seemed unsolvable with a fresh perspective.
Combined, the above-listed benefits gained from hobbies work together to help you gain the confidence needed for a more successful career, a healthier lifestyle, and hopefully, a great 2021!
To learn what some of the most successful people in the United States do for hobbies, enjoy this video.