In today’s digitally connected society, where smartphone usage and on-demand entertainment tends to dominate life outside of work and socialising, the popularity of traditional hobbies are seemingly in decline.

This was highlighted in article by Dan Scotti for Elite Daily, who cited research that revealed 25 per cent of people claim television is their favourite pastime.

However, having a hands-on hobby that requires physical exertion or mental stimulation can result in some interesting and advantageous side effects, such as improving your motivation. Here’s how:

Hobbies = Enjoyment, Enjoyment = Motivation

A great deal of evidence into the subject shows that when we spend time on things we enjoy, such as hobbies and pastimes, it encourages creative thinking. This is something Wharton professor and TED speaker Adam Grant explains in a brief on the American Psychological Association website:

“For more than three decades, psychologists have studied intrinsic motivation as a driver of creativity. The core assumption is that when employees enjoy the work itself, they process information flexibly, experience positive affect, and become willing to take risks and persist in efforts to develop and refine ideas.”

So, when it comes to being motivated to pursue a hobby or interest, enjoyment is one key aspect. However, the escapism that a hobby provides can benefit your life in various other ways too.

“The time you spend on a hobby definitely has the potential to enrich you as a person (which is rewarding in itself),” says Amy Vetter, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, CPA. “It can help you become a better boss, manager or employee. It can help you solve business problems or come up with new innovative ideas because you gave your brain a reprieve from the office to process.”

Making the Case for Hobbies in a Wider Context

It isn’t just Vetter that notes the benefit of hobbies in a wider context. Kevin Eschleman, assistant psychology professor at San Francisco State University, says that the more you’re engaged in an extracurricular hobby, the better you’ll do at work.

In fact, Eschleman’s research concluded that performance and productivity could improve by as much as 30 per cent. The study typically looked at those with creative hobbies who talked passionately about their activities outside of work.

“They usually describe it as lush, as a deep experience that provides a lot of things for them,” said Eschleman. “But they also talk about this idea of self-expression and an opportunity to really discover something about themselves, and that isn’t always captured with the current recovery experience models.”

The study also had some key takeaways for businesses to encourage creative thinking in the workplace such as cook-offs, cross-discipline education opportunities, and costume contests during holidays.

Popular Hobbies that Could Improve your Motivation

There really is no limit to the kind of hobbies one could pursue in order to improve their own motivation, creative thinking, and personal performance. However, some popular options include:

  • Artwork – painting, sculpture etc.
  • Creative writing – short stories, poems etc.
  • Woodwork and construction (ideally in a prefabricated workshop for safety reasons)
  • Home renovations – painting, decorating etc.
  • Volunteering – social and charity work
  • Music – learning to play an instrument


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