Professional Development

Hobbies outside of work are the keys to your professional success

Written by Peter Jones

“Work-life balance” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, and for good reason—you don’t want to work too hard, but you want to work hard enough to make a good living and gain a sense of fulfillment. When people talk about this ideal balance, the “life” part usually refers to the health benefits of work-life balance (eating well, sleeping enough, spending time with friends and family). But what about doing something for yourself out of pure enjoyment?

Your physical and psychological health are every bit as important to your long-term success as the status of your career, and hobbies can be an incredibly valuable part of your development—often personally and professionally. Here are a few reasons why it’s good to find a hobby and devote yourself to it.

You get more out of life.

When you devote yourself to an activity that brings you joy, you get more creativity, more confidence, and more ways to expand and express your passion. All of the work you do in developing your hobby translates directly (or indirectly) into your work. The bottom line is, as you build these things in one area of your life, they don’t just sit there at the craft table or on the ski lift—they infuse the other arenas of your life.

You can treat them as solo “me” time.

Taking care of yourself physically and spending time with your family are important, but they can start to feel like chores or stressors of their own. Hobbies, by contrast, are only for you. And they serve as an immediate battery recharge station, a place where you can go to let your hair (and blood pressure) down a bit.

Or, you can use them to connect with like-minded people.

Most hobbies tend to involve bumping into other enthusiasts of the same activity or project now and then. Or, if it’s your jam, you can seek out a group where you all can hobby together. Relish in this new bit of networking and connecting. You never know the connections you might make or the doors that might open to you.

Learning makes you sharper in all areas of your life.

It’s so important in a life and a career to keep learning. A hobby keeps you aware, inquisitive, and on the cutting edge of one more aspect of your life. Exploring a passion in-depth also helps you to gain a better understanding of yourself—how you function, what you like and dislike, and what is most important to you.

You become more interesting.

Having a hobby—something that matters to you beyond the grind of home and work—makes you more interesting to the people you meet. It broadens your identity beyond your home life and your job title. It can help people get a better sense of you, which will help them connect to you more easily.

You gain new perspective.

When you’re flagging or you feel in a rut, sometimes the best thing to do is get out of it. If you’re lucky enough to have a hobby you love, you can go to your hobby/happy place, throw yourself into it, and see if it helps you look at a situation with new eyes. Use your chosen activity to give you the calm and rest to step back and examine and improve all aspects of your life.

About the author

Peter Jones