What do you do when you get home from work, or on your precious days off? If you breathe a sigh of relief and dive right into doing “nothing much of anything, really”, you may want to rethink your post-labor routine. After all, how we spend our free time can actually have a measured impact on our professional lives. Fast Company’s Jared Lindzon gives the scoop on four hobbies that can better our performance at work.
Spend Time Outside
We all need to exercise and when you incorporate it into your commute, you’re killing two birds with one stone. But it turns out that filling your lungs with fresh air comes with more benefits than one might think. Spending more time outside before work jumpstarts your mental faculties, and you’ll arrive at your desk sharper and more focused. You’re more engaged at the office when taking a more active route, and it’s easy to see why. Waking up, wolfing down a quick breakfast, and hopping into your car may be the standard route, but think about how groggy you still are. Imagine the traffic! Contrast that with getting up a wink earlier and walking a bit further to a different transit stop, or mounting a bike and cycling to work. You’ll actually give your body a chance to wake up while getting in some good exercise for the day.
Improvisation is a vastly underrated soft skill in the office. There will always be instances where things don’t go your way or when outside influences take the team off track. In these situations, it is imperative that you know how to deal with the unexpected. Settling into a hobby like improvisational comedy is good prep. It forces you to think on your feet and, more importantly, to collaborate on a higher level. You build upon what your teammates have already created in order to make something hilariously new. It’s also not easy, and you should expect to bomb. This expectation of failure (it will happen), makes you that much more confident and aware of your abilities, and is good situational practice for not getting hung up on your stumbles.
Play An Instrument
Engage with sound! If you don’t know how to play an instrument, actively listening and organizing music can be beneficial, too. But if you’re in a position to learn how to play, do it. Playing music is one of the most engaging activities the human brain is capable of, as it involves almost every region of your mind working in sync with one another. You’re reading, listening, anticipating, and physically moving. Like improvisational comedy, playing music also means that you’re going to screw up at times. And once you learn to not let that get to you, the experience becomes even that much better.
That’s right. Plugging into your virtual world does have real life benefits. Many games require skills that translate well into the office. For example, action games require rapid decision making (dodge! run! shoot!), while and adventure or puzzle game may include some serious bout of critical thinking. Even sports games exercise your mind; after all, you need to be paying attention on both offense and defense. If you’re playing online with other gamers, that’s all the better. Ever hear of a thing called “teamwork”? I heard employers love to see that in action.