As professionals around the world feel increasingly pressed for time, they’re giving up on things that matter to them.
This is more significant than it may sound, because it isn’t just individuals who are missing out. When people don’t have time for hobbies, businesses pay a price. Hobbies can make workers substantially better at their jobs. I know this from personal experience. I’ve always loved playing the guitar and composing. As head of demand generation for Nextiva, I have enough on my plate to keep me busy around the clock.
When I crash, there’s always the temptation to do something sedentary and mindless.
But by spending time on music, I boost some of my most important workplace skills.
Creativity. I’m tasked with constantly looking for new ways to attract attention from potential buyers.
A creative hobby pulls you out of all that. Whether you’re a musician, artist, writer, or cook, you often start with a blank canvas in your mind. You simply think: What will I create that will evoke the emotion I’m going for?
It’s no surprise that by giving yourself this mental space, and focusing on feelings, you can reawaken your creativity. For the floodgates of creativity to open, both must be in play.
Perspective. One of the trickiest tasks in the creative process is thinking through how someone else would experience your idea. But in doing creative hobbies, people think that way all the time. A potter imagines how the recipient of a vase would respond to it. A mystery novelist considers whether an unsuspecting reader will be surprised by a plot twist.
When I take a break from work to go make music, I reconnect with that perspective. I keep thinking about how someone hearing my song for the first time might respond. I do all I can to see (or hear) the world through someone else’s eyes (or ears). Then, when I resume the work project, I take that mentality with me.
Confidence. It’s easy to lose creative confidence. But after an hour of shredding on the guitar, hitting notes perfectly, I’m feeling good. I can tell that my brain was craving that kind of satisfaction. And when I face that work project again, I bring the confidence with me.
It turns out people like me have been studied.
So to my fellow professionals, I highly recommend taking some time to keep up your creative hobby. It doesn’t have to be long. A study found that spending 45 minutes making art helps boost someone’s confidence and ability to complete tasks.
I also suggest you encourage your business to celebrate employees’ hobbies. Zappos puts employee artwork up on its walls and encourages people to decorate their desks in whatever ways they wish. Some businesses hold talent shows. Some CEOs spend time on their own hobbies, setting the right example.
And when you find a little time for a creative hobby break, make it guilt free. After all, when you do this, everyone stands to gain.