Today, “get a hobby” is usually a rude thing to say. It’s typically meant to signify that you’ve got too much time on your hands.
But as it turns out, it’s pretty good advice.
You should get a hobby. Committing time to an activity that makes you happy can do wonders for your life — not to mention your work performance. Hobbies are good for you.
Here are six signs that your hobby is paying off big time:
Writing for Psychology Today, Dr. Jaime Kurtz notes that hobbies force you to spend your time wisely.
“… Unscheduled, you might find yourself laboring over that work project or answering emails into the wee hours. Chances are, if you had choir practice or a book club meeting that night, you would get those tasks done much more quickly. So, hobbies can seem to create more time by encouraging efficiency.”
Try taking on a hobby to see if it boosts your time management skills. As the Harvard Business Review previously reported, conventional time management solutions have become increasingly less effective. Scheduling time for your hobby might be a surefire way of avoiding distractions both at work and after hours.
Your hobby balances you
We live in a busy world. So many people feel too busy to take on anything other than work and personal relationships. However, it’s good to balance your life. Hobbies provide you with pride independent of the ups-and-downs that define your career and your interactions with loved ones.
As early as 1676, English jurist Sir Matthew Hale wrote in “Contemplations Moral and Divine“: “Almost every person hath some hobby horse or other wherein he prides himself.”
Citing a Bain & Co. study of MBA students, The Boston Globe reported that work-life balance is an increasingly important issue to workers, despite the fact that businesses have been slow to catch on to the trend.
By taking on a hobby, you can begin to prioritize your own work-life balance and capture this sense of contentment.
It allows you to pursue your passion — realistically
The platitude “follow your dreams” is typically a lot of fluffy nonsense. Most of our “dreams” are pretty impractical. For most people, it’s far better to get a decent job doing something you really like and are good at than to set off on a quest to find your “calling.” Perfect is the enemy of good, and all that.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your other pursuits entirely. You can make time to sculpt, do stand up, or crochet after hours. If you fiercely guard that hobby time, you’ll find that you’re able to continue to pursue your passion in life, even if it’s not your main career. Who knows — you might eventually get so good at your side hustle that it will eventually become your full-time job!
Rather than becoming disillusioned with your full-time job because it’s not quite your one true passion, you’ll be able to continue pursuing your dream without going bankrupt and ruining your life.
It allows you to connect with others outside of work
It’s great to make friends at work. However, workplace relationships don’t necessarily blossom at every company — some offices are too toxic, competitive, or transitory to sustain lasting friendships.
Making friends through your hobby is different. You’re not just bonding over circumstances, you’re getting to know each other through a shared interest!
Charlotte Style, author of “Change Your Life with Positive Psychology,” writes: “Being actively engaged in pleasurable physical activity that offers challenges and social connection is an easy way to health and well being.”
This will boost your work life by putting less pressure on your office friendships and providing you with alternative social outlets to rely on.
It makes you less stressed
Some worry that taking on a hobby might add to the stress in their life. In fact, hobbies have the opposite effect — they relax you.
A San Francisco State University study discovered that employees who pursue creative hobbies are able to recover better from the demands of their job.
“Creative activity was found to have both indirect effects and direct effects on performance-related outcomes, but the effects varied by the type of performance-related outcome,” the study found. “The results indicate that organizations may benefit from encouraging employees to consider creative activities in their efforts to recover from work.”
Stress isn’t a trivial problem. It can have a major impact on your longterm workplace productivity — and your health in general. Gallup has found that stressed out employees are terrible for businesses: workers with high well being and low stress have 41% lower health-related costs than workers with high stress.