Why Working on Hobbies Makes You Better at Your Job

Would you hire a wind surfer?  How about a furniture painter?  Would leadership promote someone who spends their weekends writing and reading poetry?  We often think hobbies and leisure time activities take us away from work.  But developing a rich life outside of work can make you more successful at work.

The truth is you don’t have a personal life and a work life; you have one life, your life. The skills you develop in one area bleed over into others.  If you want to be more successful at work, try spending some time in these three areas:

  1. Hobbies

If someone asks you “What do you do for fun?” are you the person who answers with “Ughhhh sleep?”

Burning the candle at both ends is a recipe for more than just burnout; it’s a recipe for dull uninspiring work.

Hobbies outside of work keep you interesting and interested.  Hobbies help you become more creative and strategic.  I get some of my best ideas when I’m walking, water skiing or chalk painting furniture.  If you don’t know what chalk painting is, you’re missing out.  Using different colored paints and techniques to transform old furniture into stunning modern pieces is one of my favorite hobbies.  Producing something beautiful with no constraints ignites my visual senses.  My clients benefit because I literally see things differently after spending a few hours creating a visual effect.

Give yourself space to pursue art, beauty, music, reading, cooking, or whatever strikes your fancy.  Spending a Saturday on YouTube Banjo lessons is time well spent because it resets your brain in a more creative way.

  1. Relationship development

Most jobs give you some type of training to do the job itself.  Great jobs provide ongoing development in leadership or business acumen.

But you don’t need to limit yourself to a business or organizational setting.  The more you broaden your self-development lens, the more likely you will be able to succeed in bigger roles.  When you study how to be a better parent, or romantic partner, you learn communication skills that help you everywhere. When you learn a spiritual practice, you’re calming your mind.  All these types of development activities make you a stronger, more powerful, more resilient person.  A person who can handle challenging situations with grace and skill.

  1. Healthy lifestyle

A person can only survive on Red Bull and Clif bars for so long.  Trust me, I know.  Look at the people who are at the top of their game. They radiate energy.  They walk into a room alive and vibrant.

You can’t do that when you’re exhausted and out of shape.  Do you need three snoozes to get out of bed?  Do you rely on an afternoon sugar rush to get through the day?  If you have to take the stairs, is it a minor inconvenience, or an insurmountable challenge?

If you’re waking up Monday morning, already tired and dreading the week, you need a reset.  You have one body, how you treat it and what you put into it affects everything else you do.

You don’t need to start each morning with a raw egg and five mile run.  If you can, great, but at least grant yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep, decent food, and time away from your desk.

Success at work isn’t just about the skills to do your current job.  It’s about developing your mind, body, and spirit so you can succeed in the next job.