Everyone needs a hobby, as the old saying goes. Hobbies help develop our tastes and our passions in life – they can be as diverse as gardening, cooking, writing, skydiving, stand up comedy and sewing to name but a few. However, very few hobbies are ever considered productive ones, unless you happen to belong to one of those rare few lucky people who manage to turn their hobby into a second job… or who manage to utilise the skills they built in their hobby in their work to become more productive, efficient, and happier.
So, if you’re looking to pick up a new hobby and develop some skills that will help you enhance your proficiency and productivity, then check out this list of twenty hobbies you could consider picking up, and their benefits.
Cooking is one of the most productive hobbies out there, and something everyone should consider trying their hand at. Cooking forces you to be in the moment, focusing entirely on the product and processes at hand. It also forces you to plan ahead. As a bonus, with practice you’ll get really good at preparing and making food in advance for the days ahead, meaning you’re being even more productive than you realised.
Hiking is one of those quintessential ‘weekend’ hobbies, for people with a passion for long treks and experiencing the beauty of nature. However, they can also have a beneficial effect upon your productivity, as hiking allows you to clear your mind of all worries and focus on the present, as well as providing you with exercise to improve physical fitness and stamina.
Painting may not seem like a particularly productive hobby, but it can lend some wonderful perspective on your life and can help unleash your creative side. Painting allows for you to tap into the thoughts, desires, and feelings swimming around in your head, and can help translate them into something physical. Your painting might even inspire you to be more productive in the workplace, so go ahead and pick up a paintbrush.
While few of us may be at the standard of sculptors such as Michelangelo or Rodin, sculpture, even in its most basic forms, can be a productive hobby and tool. Sculpture at its very nature behooves you to create with the materials you have, and to be mindful of what you’re creating, even if it takes many tiny steps at a time. Sculpture also gives you something at the very end of it – it might not be the kind of art or sculpture created by masters, but it’s still tangible, and it’s yours, and truly authentic because of that very fact.
One of the most productive hobbies to have is to write in your spare time. Writing is an incredibly powerful and important form of self-expression and it can help to channel your energies into something which you feel passionate about and in which you can pour your thoughts, dreams, and desires. Whether it’s writing articles, plays, radio scripts, or diary entries, writing helps unlock your creative side, and helps you be as productive and healthy as possible.
Running is the go-to relaxation-slash-exercise sport activity for a significant amount of the population. However, it also allows for productive benefits, and is one of the most productive hobbies out there. Running not only improves your fitness levels, it can help with any kind of mental block by teaching you how to push through those same kind of mental barriers and obstructions, that are causing you delay.
Dancing isn’t really considered to be a hugely important hobby in terms of productivity. However, when you examine the hard work and dedication that is undeniable in the art of dance, it starts to become more clear in terms of productive merit. Dancing forces you to learn routines obsessively, training your focus into a series of practised movements, and using that as a template for achieving productivity in the minutiae of your daily life is something well worth considering.
Yoga is one of the most productive hobbies you can fit into your schedule, as it allows you to close off all external thoughts and focus entirely on your bodily practice. You focus strongly and single-mindedly on improving your body and physical fitness, as well as emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and you’ll be well prepared and more productive for the future.
While cosplaying might not be a particularly mainstream hobby for most, it is nothing more than the celebration of the love and emotion for a particular character or media form (a television show, a film, etc). Cosplaying can be an extremely useful hobby and a way of allowing you to accurately express your creative side, particularly if you’re in a rigid or strenuous job; it can inspire you to work harder, and achieve higher, even drawing upon your fictional heroes as role models.
Reading is one of the world’s most popular pursuits and pasttimes, and with good reason. It is also an extremely productive hobby, as it can be done easily during your downtime and ’empty time’ in which you are doing nothing. Reading research and studies about productivity, can in turn make you learn new habits, behaviours, and patterns that will make you be more effective with your time. In short: reading can be productive by allowing you to read up on how to be productive.
11. Playing Video Games
Sure, playing video games might seem like a waste of time, but the roles and rules inherent within video games can actually make you more productive. Video games encourage focus, determination, trying again and again even if you fail the first time around, teamwork, and cooperation. These are all useful and admirable traits that will make anyone more driven and productive at work.
Is there anything more inherently relaxing, at least in theory, than gardening? Gardening is not only a pleasant and relaxing pastime, it’s also a fantastic way to boost your productivity. How? Gardening allows you to relax and unwind, conserving your energies for the frantic days ahead you might have, but it also teaches you about managing different projects (or in this case plants) all at the same time.
Knitting is a pastime considered to be something that the elderly and the niche of Hollywood celebrities are huge fans of, but knitters circle the world – and for good reason. Knitting is, aside from an enjoyable pastime and a way to craft a perfect gift for someone you love, a fantastic tool for enhancing productivity. It uses the same multi-tasking and planning skills that a modern day workplace will utilise, and it promises a physical, tangible end product to your endeavours. Let’s get those fingers going…
Woodwork is a surprisingly productive hobby, due to the fact that you have to focus hard on your singular vision of what you wish to build. Constructing something of your own out of wood – whether it’s a shelf, a spice rack, or even something more complex or beautiful – can be a wonderful boost to your self esteem, and building yourself the materials you need to help make your life easier, will, in turn, make you more productive and happier as a result.
15. Playing Poker
Playing poker may not seem like a particularly productive hobby, but it’s certainly one of the most challenging and mind-stretching card games to play. Poker allows your mind to both unwind, and practise its logical and strategic muscles, in a way that can help you make those important decisions and focus on those all-important goals on your workplace. Try digging out your old pack of cards and see if it works…
Treading the boards at your local dramatic venue might not seem like the sure-fire way to enhance your productivity muscles, but acting as a productive hobby is not to be sniffed at. Acting forces you to reawaken those memorisation abilities you might have previously otherwise forgotten, and awakens creative talents, such as improvisation and the ability to think on your feet in a crisis, making you calmer under pressure, and more productive and competent as a result.
17. Amateur Radio
Amateur radio isn’t a very popular pastime, otherwise everyone would have their own radio show or podcast on iTunes. However, aside from being a great way to express your opinions and develop some public speaking chops, amateur radio can be extremely productive. When writing, performing, editing, and producing amateur radio, you learn about working with deadlines, developing creative ideas and storylines, and how to do your best work in a sharp, creative burst of time – all talents and skills that will help you be at your productive best.
Bodybuilding might not seem like a particularly mainstream or productive hobby; after all, unless you’re a particularly enthusiastic gym bunny, you might have had little to no contact with the practice. However, bodybuilding focuses on building up core strength, control, self-discipline, and focusing on a key, singular vision – all key practices which could prove to be extremely relevant and transferable in terms of productivity in other areas of your life.
Swimming is relaxing, strengthing, and an extremely positive and healthy way of exercising, and it’s also a beneficial way of becoming more productive. Swimming can help channel any and all worries into something productive, clear the mind for more positive action and thoughts, and can make you feel more energised leaving the pool after a hearty workout. Swimming has been shown to have numerous physiological and psychological health benefits, so there’s no reason not to head to your local pool.
Okay, so maybe this last one isn’t what is technically considered to be a ‘hobby’, but it still has benefits when practiced regularly and will make you more productive if used correctly. Daydreaming awakens your creative side and allows you to explore ideas that you never even considered – even ideas that might just prove to be the solution you’ve been after. If daydreaming leads to napping, that’s even better – studies have shown that a quick 20 minute nap in the afternoon can help provide clarity, memory retention, and help make you even more focused and productive with your batteries recharged. Who said there weren’t benefits to daydreaming?
Featured photo credit: tim lowly via flickr.com