Creativity to Productivity: how hobbies help at work

It’s no secret that having a creative outlet outside of work can make you happier and healthier. It helps relieve stress, provides social opportunities and takes your mind off the daily grind.

But having a hobby doesn’t just make you feel better; studies show it helps you cope better at work as well. Organisational psychologists have discovered that employees who are involved in creative activities outside of work experience 4 key benefits:

Mastery and control

Learning a new skill encourages a greater sense of mastery and control which leads to a better performance at work.

Creative problem solving

Although it might not directly relate to what you are doing at work, like all things, creativity takes practice. So if you practice being creative at home, studies show that you are more likely to be creative when performing in your work and to initiate a more imaginative way of problem-solving. In such a competitive working world, having the ability to think outside the box can be vital in helping you stand out from the crowd.

Effective recovery from work

Employees with after-hours hobbies are more effective in ‘recovering’ from a stressful working day. This is because they have a channel for self-expression and discovery. Creative activities allow us to mentally disengage from stressful work situations and this is vital in our recovery between work periods. Although you might go home for the night, if you don’t focus your mind on another activity, chances are you’re still mentally at the office and you’ll soon fatigue the systems you need to get your work done. This is especially true in an age of mobile phones and social media where our work can, quite literally, follow us home.

A better night’s sleep

Employees who engaged in creative activities reported less fatigue at the end of the evening and got a significantly better sleep than those who didn’t.

So with this in mind, perhaps now is the perfect time to spare some time for a creative endeavour. But which to choose?

  • Playing music boosts neuroplasticity
  • Chess improves strategic thinking
  • Knitting improves fine-motor skills
  • Reading slows cognitive decline

Whatever activity you choose, you are sure to be on your way to a happier and healthier way of life – which is good for you, your family and your work. As for me, I’ll be acting on this advice, literally. I’ve signed up for a screen-acting course as a way to explore my love of the performing arts and to gain some new life skills in the process. I might not make it to Hollywood, but at least I’ll get a good night’s sleep.