Develop a Hobby for Productive Design

Develop a Hobby for Productive Design

Burnout happens to the best of us. Writers get blocks, so do designers and any other creative professionals.

What do you do when this happens to you? Do you just let it pass? Trudge through it and create mediocre work?

No! Get a Hobby

Sometimes you need to break away from your work. Break away from the computer for a day, gather your wits and learn something new.

Or, as our friends at Graphic Design Blender recently wrote – Create Something Amazing.

They aren’t the only ones. We’ve found various sources suggesting that quality leisure time is important for productivity and creativity.

But that doesn’t make sense…

Actually, it does.

Spending more time on yourself and less on work can really bring the 80/20 principle into focus, if nothing else.

When you rearrange time to accomodate your hobby, you will start to notice that your work can be managed in smaller blocks of time. By compressing your time, you streamline your work.

If you make a conscious note of this streamlining, you can apply it to future work blocks, as well. Especially when you don’t need a recharge.

Refreshment and Accomplishment

Exciting hobbies and quality down-time also make you feel more energized and refreshed when you actually DO tackle your work.

We recently tweeted a TED talk about happiness and productivity – go ahead and watch it.

For those of you who don’t want to watch it, here’s a nugget from Shawn Achor’s talk that holds weight with the concept of happy hobbyists being better workers:

90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the outside world, but by the way your brain processes the world. [...] 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels[...]

This is astounding. So why not develop a hobby that keeps you happy, refreshes you, makes you feel accomplished, and improves your chances of success?

Some Tips on Picking a Good Hobby

“Picking a Good Hobby” implies that there are “bad” hobbies. And there are – you probably shouldn’t be doing recreational drugs in your down-time if you want to be a good worker the next day.

But when we put destructive habits aside, some hobbies are still better than others. Here are a few tips to help you pick a decent hobby to keep you happy.

  1. Don’t let it be work-related. Work-related hobbies will just remind you of work. That’s dumb. If you’re going to have a hobby, make it at least moderately different than what you do on a daily basis for money. Graphic designers? Maybe you could sculpt in your down-time. It’s still art, but it’s away from the computer, and there’s a gap between professions.
  2. Pick a hobby you can feel accomplished about. That sense of accomplishment that you get when you complete something huge gives you energy and confidence. Pick a hobby that you can get that same feeling from. This is usually caused by creating something, but many people get excited and energized at the end of a good book.
  3. Budget some time. We already said that you should take a day when you’re feeling burned out from work, but you should schedule some regular time in your week to develop some skills related to your hobby, or spend a block of time each week working directly on your hobby.
  4. Budget your attention. No hobbies can be a bad thing. Too many hobbies can be equally detrimental. Try to focus on just one or two hobbies at a time. Otherwise you won’t be able to get that sense of accomplishment – you’ll just get frustrated that your skills aren’t developing fast enough.
  5. Pick something you’re passionate about. This is probably the most important one on the list. If your hobby is boring to you, or you don’t enjoy it – don’t do it. You won’t feel happy about doing something you don’t want to do. And who knows? You might be able to turn this hobby of yours into an income in the future. At least enjoy the work you do.

So what do you do?

Josh’s hobbies include reading fantasy novels and illustration. Allysia likes to hunt for recipes and read fanfics in her down-time. What about you? What are your favorite past-times? Let us know in the comments.