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7 Creative Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and More Productive

7 Creative Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter and More Productive

What good is a life that does not involve pleasure or fun?

Today’s corporate culture is primarily driven by productivity. The more productive you are, the more likely you are to earn respect, fame and appreciation in the workplace. Diminished productivity is linked to an increased amount of stress, which, in turn, may set you up for the onset of a number of stress-related conditions and diseases.

Pursuing a hobby is a great way to spend your extra time during the day. Hobbies help keep you away from the mental and physical effects of stress by filling your life with a new energy and happiness. They may not fetch you extra cash in your pocket, but they can certainly help improve confidence, learning, and experience.

Getting busy in a hobby or leisure activity brings a lot of fun, relaxation and happiness in life. It is believed that pursuing a hobby is not only a way to pass time or do something different from routine work, but also helps improve the overall quality of life. With this simple form of relaxation, you get an opportunity to meet new people and express creativity. Be it an indoor activity or an outdoor one, indulging in a hobby is a great way to get away from the daily hustle-bustle of normal routine.

Indoor Activities

Meditation

Meditation

    One of the most popular and the simplest ways to indulge in an indoor hobby is to practice the art of meditation. It not only helps pass the time and keep you healthy, but it also helps boost concentration and the immune system function. Additionally, meditation helps eliminate anxiety, depression, negative feelings and stress. All these benefits, in turn, help improve your overall productivity.

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    It is not necessary to devote a fixed amount of time every day for meditation. From five minutes to one hour, any amount of time is sufficient to help channel inner peace.

    You should make sure that you set yourself up in a calming environment before saying your Oms. You may turn on soft music, light candles and lay yourself down on a yoga mat to set the right mood for meditation. Once you are able to find the right environment and mood, meditation can definitely be fun.

    Become a gamer

    Become a Gamer

      No matter how much your parents or your partner may dislike you playing video games, this hobby might actually help relieve day-to-day stress. In addition, playing video games helps improve cognitive flexibility and decision-making in real time. The improved decision-making ability is not only restricted to games, but also shows at the workplace where you will be better equipped to handle the workflow and make quick decisions.

      In addition, the music that plays in the background when the game is on is quite progressive in nature. The sound corresponds to the rewards and achievement that you earn during the game. It is believed that having those sounds or songs play as you work helps improve the productivity by almost ten times.

      Embroidery

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      Embroidery

        Embroidery can be meditative in nature too. Believe it or not, there are people who find pleasure and happiness in embroidering everything they can, be it a flower or a quote. Embroidering is something that you can do on the go, while watching movies, or while watching your children.

        Embroidery is a relatively simple, affordable and enjoyable hobby to pursue. From T-shirt embroidery to embroidery for logo, there are multiple ways to decorate a piece of fabric using beads, thread, pearls, sequins and a needle. Embroidery brings out the best creativity in you, as you try your hand at giving your old clothes a new and unique look.

        All you need to start embroidering today is a small pair of scissors, an embroidery hoop, needles and floss. There are multiple online portals that offer tutorials on how to create patterns, designs and logos using thread and needle.

        Crafting

        Craft Work

          Ever heard of “best out of waste?” Yes, turning trash into something that is useful can be fun too! Crafting can be highly therapeutic in nature, as it helps fight anxiety, chronic pain and depression. More importantly, you do not need to go anywhere to do it.

          Sitting in the comfort of your home, you can decide to pick up needles and turn the trash in your home into a treasure that you can possess till eternity. It might be hard to believe, but you will find yourself getting addicted to this practice pretty soon.

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          Try finding objects and things that you do not use anymore and then ask yourself: Can I turn this into something useful? Find an appropriate DIY idea that you can apply to the object to turn it into something creative and useful.

          Outdoor Activities

          Hiking and trekking

          Hiking and trekking

            Taking up hiking or trekking as a hobby does not necessarily mean that you have to be a pro at climbing mountains. In fact, it is one of those weekend hobbies that you can incorporate into your routine according to the level of exertion that you can handle. Once you get used to the trail, you can gradually increase the difficulty level of the trek by changing the path.

            It is believed that hiking and trekking helps improve productivity. It not only exposes you to the natural beauty of the environment, but also frees your mind of all the worries and stress related to the day-to-day life. More importantly, it acts as a great exercise that helps maintain physical strength and stamina.

            Cycling

            cycling

              Another outdoor activity that you can choose to pursue as a hobby is cycling. Apart from the physical benefits, there are several incredible mental and psychological plus points associated with riding a bicycle.

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              Cycling is a great way to escape from a stressful environment by getting closer to nature. It is believed that bicycle riding helps improve memory by facilitating the build-up of new brain cells in the hippocampus region of the brain. In addition, cycling also helps make you more productive by boosting your energy level. Health experts believe that a quick cycling session in the afternoon may help significantly improve productivity in the evening.

              Additionally, cycling helps build creative thinking. From artists to musicians and writers, many who suffer from a mental block turn to cycling. The influx of fresh air helps improve problem-solving skills and creativity.

              Rock climbing

              Rock climbing

                Rock climbing is yet another way to ward off stress. It is not necessary to find real rocks and mountains to climb; you can go to indoor rock climbing centers that might not give stunning views, but are as beneficial as real rocks.

                Rock climbing is considered to be a full-body workout. This hobby doesn’t just let you maintain appropriate physical fitness levels and greater cognitive ability, but also has many emotional and psychological benefits associated with it.

                Rock climbing helps with goal-setting and acts as a great stress reliever. In addition, it helps improve confidence and perseverance. Climbing a mountain is something that you can flaunt for the rest of your life.

                Featured photo credit: Jonathan Mueller via flickr.com

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                Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                Con #4: Unique Distractions

                Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                Final Thoughts

                Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                More About Working From Home

                Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

                Reference

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