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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

5 Creative Hobbies That'll Actually Make You Better at Your Day Job

Great news for anyone out there who doesn’t like to work nonstop! According to a Time Magazine title, “being creative outside of work makes you better at your job.” While you’ve probably never thought that your painting, drawing, or other artistic hobbies hindered your job performance, you had no idea that they could actually help it. (You can insert a fist pump here.)

If you’re ready to get a head start on enjoying yourself—ahem, we mean, “improving your work ethic” outside of the office—here are five creative hobbies that’ll make you even better at your job.

1. Painting

Photo courtesy of Bigger Than the Three of Us.

Even if you’re not a natural born painter, you might want to grab a brush and give it a try. Painting allows you to tap into deeper thoughts and feelings that you may have be unaware of—or even shutting out—throughout your busy workday. Especially if you’ve been pondering a tough work problem, taking a 30-minute break to indulge your creative side can open up your mind to more solutions and ideas. Start small with this five minute first-timer’s painting project. Or, start with a less-messy approach by picking up a coloring book.

2. Gardening

Photo courtesy of Oh My! Creative.

Gardening is not as easy as it looks. (Which, side note, is incredibly unfair to myself, and to all the plants I’ve killed throughout the years.) Caring for a living thing every day and ensuring that it grows strong and healthy teaches you incredible patience and persistence. As anyone who’s ever tried it knows—growing a thriving garden (or even just one houseplant) can’t be rushed or forced. And that same logic applies to your job. Sometimes seeing a task through to completion is about having patience and persistence as much as it’s about being ready to go full-force to complete it.

3. Crafting

Photo courtesy of Zest It Up.

If you’ve ever decided to make your own moisturizer or DIY a set of coffee cups, you know that crafting usually comes with instructions. Taking a shortcut or substituting products can completely ruin your final outcome and leave you with a frustrating mess. Following directions from higher-ups at work can sometimes feel like a challenge, or worse, a mistake. You know a faster, better way (or, at least, you think you do). Before you get frustrated, remember these are experienced people. Once you’ve had enough background in this project, you may be able to discuss improvising or adjusting, but for now, follow the steps provided and you’ll get the best outcome.

4. Knitting

Photo courtesy of Zest It Up.

OK, it sounds like an outdated activity to pick up—but the small, repetitive motions of knitting can naturally calm your mind and help release any pent-up tensions. Not only does this leave you in a great headspace to think, imagine, and brainstorm, but it’s a super effective way to cool down after a busy day. And that means you can return to the office in the morning with renewed energy and vigor. Plus, if you get good at it, you can create pieces to cozify your cubicle or knit yourself a scarf to nonchalantly show off to your co-workers.

5. Decorating

Photo courtesy of Tidbits & Twine.

People who have an eye for decorating can see a space from every different angle and corner, which gives them the keen ability to look at a problem from all sides. Being able to view projects this way gives you the freedom to see what adjustments might be beneficial, and then, how to go about making that change. As long as you’re still open to hearing suggestions and ideas from your co-workers, seeing the many different paths of potential for your project makes you a valuable asset to your team. So yes, you read that right, keep on pinning away!

And bonus: Besides being a great way to use your fun, relaxing downtime to actually improve the work you do during office hours, these career-boosting hobbies are great to bring up in interviews when you get the dreaded, “So, what do you do for fun?” question.

Photo of colored pencils courtesy of Shutterstock.