If you are a busy professional, and someone brings up the subject of hobbies, you might reply with a derisive snort. Who has time for hobbies? It may seem that hobbies are a luxury only the leisure class or retired can afford, but if you give it some thought, there are a number of benefits to having a hobby, benefits that can boost your well being and your performance at work. Here are a few.
1. They can aid in planning your time.
If you had nothing else to do, you might end up looking over papers from work or answering emails until relatively late in the evening. But if you had a book club meeting to get to, or some other engagement, you might get the other work done more quickly.
Having a hobby forces you to make better use of your time.
2. Hobbies can help us get to peak performance.
This is what psychologists call flow, the state where you are completely immersed in what you are doing, when you lose track of time, even self-consciousness because you are so totally focused on what you are doing. You are much more likely to get into this state of flow with a hobby, something that you enjoy doing. And once you experience it, and see how you get into it, you may be able to apply the technique to projects at work.
3. You meet new people.
If you join a book club, or an astronomy club, you will meet people with similar interests, and strike up new friendships, which is good for mental and emotional health. You might also be able to do some networking as well.
4. They make you a better person
Taking up a new hobby gives you new experiences. You learn new things. It makes you a more well rounded person, even giving you more depth. It adds to what you know and do and gives you something to talk about at parties.
5. It relieves stress.
If you do something you really enjoy, you will usually find that the stress melts away as you dive into your hobby and become immersed in it.
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