Finding hobbies that you like to do outside of work is an important part of keeping work-life balance and nurturing the interests you have that you don’t necessarily deal with in a normal job. In our busy lives where we sometimes feel that we have just enough energy to make it through the day, hobbies may seem like more of a treat when you have spare time, rather than a necessity for balancing what you have to do with what you love to do. Hobbies are the things that we choose to do, that we are good at or enjoy learning about, and play an important role in many aspects of our lives including stress relief, allowing us to connect with people who share the same interests, and engaging us in activities that we choose to be doing that are purposeful and important to us. They give us the ability to develop new skills while balancing out what we need to do on a daily or weekly basis with what we love to do.
Many people have a hard time making hobbies a priority because they seemingly do not have a direct impact on our career development or financial success, but studies have shown that participating in hobbies outside of work that you are passionate about can actually have a measurable impact on your performance at work. “Maintaining such hobbies can make individuals seem more appealing to potential employers, improve their mood, increase their confidence, reduce stress, provide networking opportunities and help them work better with others.”
There is a reason, after all, why so many employers ask about hobbies in an interview. They are looking to see if you are well-rounded and if you may have skills such as leadership, and the ability to set goals and see them through. “It’s assumed that if you engage in a diverse assortment of hobbies, you may be better equipped to manage a broader array of experiences and people on the job.”
When you challenge yourself to do something new that you enjoy, and then you continually build upon those skills, you develop a sense of mastery. By breaking up routine in our daily lives we are challenged in a positive way without the stress of a work related challenge. Skills that you build through your hobbies can transfer to all aspects of your life including work and may include skills like time management, patience, decision making, networking, grit, creativity and confidence. Since our hobbies reflect our personal tastes, values and interests, they can also be important clues to direct us towards meaningful and successful career choices.
We are able to find what we are passionate about by exploring many different things and finding something that speaks to us on a personal level. Taking a class is one of the best ways to explore a new interest and expose yourself to something new without any commitment, and it is a great way to network with people who share the same interests. The more you explore, the more your interest in something meaningful to you will come naturally. I encourage everyone to try something new this week. Maybe it is a new yoga class you have been wanting to try, or taking a fun painting class with wine, or even going for a run. You might just find your passion and you won’t know if you love it or hate it until you try!