Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. After working at least 40 hours per week, you still have bills to pay, friends to keep up with and personal matters to attend to. But, if you can find a couple of hours here and there to dedicate to something you’re passionate about, you can improve your personal life as well as your career.
Here are five reasons that you should get a hobby:
1. It Keeps You on Schedule
Our lives are already busy, so why not organize your time? People perform best when they have a plan and sticking to a routine can increase discipline, reduce wasted time and encourage a healthy sleeping schedule.
When you have a hobby that makes you happy, you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you have time to indulge. If you intentionally reserve a few hours a week for your hobby of choice, then you’re already halfway to figuring out a routine. The next time you dedicate your evening to your passion, take some time to plan out when you’ll have dinner, relax and eventually land in bed to rest up for the next day. When you find a schedule that you like, stick to it. Before you know it, you’ll fall into a routine that works for you.
2. It Enriches Your Career
You might think that your hobby is completely separate from your day job, but that’s not necessarily true. Research shows that people with hobbies, especially hobbies that are creative in nature, perform better at work. While we can’t figure out why this is the case, we do know that investing in a passion can help you unlock skills and knowledge that are applicable to all aspects of life.
For instance, an artistic hobby can trigger your creative side and prompt you to come up with original ideas in the workplace. On the other hand, an active hobby could increase discipline so that you can focus your mind and body when you’re having an off day at the office.
Your hobby can also expand your career options. Finding a way to get paid for something you’re passionate about allows you to feel less constricted by your major and career experience. Some people, millennials in particular, are turning their hobbies into a day job or side hustle.
3. It’s Cathartic
We all have bad days, whether due to a missed deadline at work or an argument with a colleague. If you spend your spare time at home watching Netflix, you’re giving your mind a lot of time to wander and harp on the bad things in life. Instead of bumming it on the couch at night, dedicate your time to something that interests you.
Your hobby of choice can serve as both a distraction and a means of releasing negative energy. When you participate in a hobby, you are forced to focus on the task at hand and let the rest of your thoughts go. If you’re overwhelmed with negative emotion, all is not lost. You can always choose to focus that energy into performing well at your hobby of choice.
The stress releasing factors aside, studies show that hobbies make people happy and increase feelings of well-being. In a world as hectic as ours, it’s important to have as many outlets and sources of happiness as possible.
4. It Provides Networking Opportunities
If you’re anything like me, you hate the performative aspect of networking. Some people thrive in business-like environments while others prefer creating organic connections and allowing their networks to grow naturally. If you have a hobby requires interacting with others, like soccer or gaming, you’re making new connections and increasing opportunities for networking. Once you’ve built a little community outside of the office, you can ask your new friends if your careers and business aspirations align.
If you have a hobby that is usually performed alone like painting or running, that doesn’t mean that your networking opportunities are shot. With social media, you can find interest groups in any city that are centered around your hobby. Websites like Meetup.com and Facebook are great resources for people who want to meet others with similar interests.
5. It Gives You Purpose
It’s easy to become obsessed with your work performance. Most of us spend one-third of our time in the office causing us to obsess over our careers and to become easily disappointed when we underperform. But, putting too much stock in your professional life can be unhealthy and draining, especially when things aren’t going according to plan.
Just like in any other aspect of life, balance is key. If you find yourself consistently thinking about work after hours, you’ll want to consider having aspirations that are unrelated to work. Having a hobby allows you to set goals outside of the office. Instead of continuing to worry about perfecting a project after work hours, you can get excited about scoring a run for your kickball team or knitting a better winter scarf this time around.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you to invest in a hobby that you love! In the next post, I’ll talk about my hobby and how it’s made me a more well-rounded and happier person both in the office and beyond.
This post is part of GovLoop’s millennial blog series, First 5