Get a Hobby!

A new study shows that having a creative pursuit—a hobby—can dramatically improve your productivity at work. Researchers for the study surveyed 350 workers from various professions, asking which workers engaged in creative activities during their free time. The workers were then rated on their job performance.

Spoiler alert: the people who have hobbies performed better than those who don’t.

The study found that people with hobbies were more likely to come up with creative solutions to problems at work and were more likely to help their co-workers solve problems. It also found that having a creative pursuit outside of work helps workers to recover from work-related stress, which in turn helps them come back to work fresh, ready for another day.

It’s not about simply taking a break from work, but rather taking a break in order to do something else that’s creative or challenging. Most people want to be productive and busy—they don’t want to just sit around, staring at a TV screen. In fact, it’s this need to be productive that often has people spending too much time at their jobs in the first place. Having a hobby still requires you to think and problem solve, but since your livelihood doesn’t depend on it, the stakes are low. A hobby might create some stress for you, but it’ll probably be positive, not negative, stress. (If not, you should probably look for a new hobby.)

Other studies have shown that people with hobbies tend to be healthier and less prone to depression. It makes sense. Having something to be passionate and excited about can certainly make you happy.

People tend to be more productive when they’re happy, and a lot of companies know this. That’s why they provide so many perks designed to keep employees around: snacks in the kitchen, casual work environment, company picnics.

In order to encourage their workers to stay physically healthy, a lot of companies offer wellness programs or reimbursement for gym memberships. But maybe it’s time they invest in their employees’ mental health as well. Free donuts are great. Wearing jeans to work is great. But I’m thinking bigger here. I’m thinking let’s all go into work tomorrow and tell our bosses we want them to pay for drum lessons.


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