We are all aware of the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, but that can mean a variety of things, and achieving any kind of balance in life is not as easy as it sounds. Pursuing a hobby outside of work, however, has proven benefits. In fact, research shows that people who spend time on hobbies or projects outside of the office are happier, work harder and are actually 12% more productive than those who don’t participate in an extracurricular activity.
Having an outside passion also shows your employer that you are a well-rounded person. Many employers encourage their employees to pursue interests outside of their careers for their overall physical and mental well-being.
Case in point, digital marketer David Mulqueen took his passion for winter sports and opened his own snowboard school on nights and weekends. He believes one benefits the other.
“I think it makes me a more well-rounded individual; you take so much passion and pride into your side hustle that it energizes you, and that energy flows over into your day job,” explains Mulqueen.
Second example: Toronto executive John Fielding has spent decades in the boardroom, but outside of work, he took his passion for horses and turned it into a hobby. Today, he is well-known and accomplished in Standardbred racing circles.
“I whole-heartedly agree: having a passion outside of your career helps you learn something new, which in turn challenges you to develop new thought processes and allows you to expand on your skill set,” John Fielding remarks.
Author Dani Shapiro can attest to this.
Shapiro says her music lessons are just as important as any writing workshops and prepared her for a career of working with words.
“The phrasing, the pauses, the crescendos, keeping time, the creating of shape, the coaxing out of a tonal quality. All of these are with me as I approach the page,” says Shapiro.
In addition to the benefits that outside interests have on your career, hobbies also encourage social interaction and networking. There’s someone else out there (most likely, multiple people) who shares the same passion. Consider joining a monthly book club or intramural sports team; whatever gets you out of the office and into the community.
There are also a range of health benefits for people who engage in physical leisure activities. For one, people who remain active outside of the office are less susceptible to fatigue, have lower blood pressure, and more mental clarity.
Focusing on a passion makes you more appealing to employers and shows clearly where your skills lie. Hobbies can actually enhance your ability to learn, making you a more well-rounded, productive employee – a win-win for all!