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Lifestyle: The case for hobbies

15 May 2018

Some clients recently told me that apart from their farm and their family they didn’t have any hobbies. I felt I had to ask them again to see if I had misunderstood, but no, I hadn’t.

I made a mental note to see if I could help them develop some over the course of our relationship, especially since they are only a few years away from moving off the farm.

Recently (10 May 2018) the New York Times did an article on the case for having a hobby and I have paraphrased it here for you

For some of us, the expectations of work and family have made hobbies a thing of the past. Worse still, some hobbies have morphed into money-making ventures, which means it is no longer a hobby.

Studies have shown that having a hobby can make you more productive at work, but hobbies can also remind you that work isn’t everything! It is hard for some of us to get out of thinking that work is the sole reason for our existence.

The irony of this is that hobbies do make us more productive, in a way. A 2009 study showed that more time spent on leisure activities was correlated with lower blood pressure, lower levels of depression and stress, and overall better psychological and physical functioning. Hobbies can also jump-start your creativity, or allow your mind to wander and look at problems from a new angle.

Leisure time spent doing what we want to do is aspirational and when it does come about, it is a pleasure we shouldn’t feel guilty about.

So, what would it take for us to drop the guilt and take up a project purely for fun? Most people don’t realize the value in their leisure time until they force themselves to take it, and then they can’t get enough of it.

“You have to begin experiencing this kind of time, and once you see what it does for you and how valuable it is, you’re going to want more of it,” Ms. Schulte said. “And you will actually make the decision to create space for it.”

The easiest hobby has to be reading, followed by gardening, walking, fishing, music, travelling, sewing, sport, Church activities, cycling, cooking, camping, skiing, car restoration, animals, writing, boating, painting, drawing, dancing, theatre, movies, DIY, workshop, beach, volunteer work.

The list could go on forever. I indulge in about 13 of the list above. I am sure my clients I referred to above would claim one or two off the list if I had given them time to dwell on it a bit longer.

My 10-year old daughter lists Minecraft and Lego as her two main hobbies and there is pressure on me to take up one of them “to connect with the younger generation”. I guess I will just have to give up one of my 13 hobbies to fit Lego in.

My mentor, Carl Richards, had a great take on the value of hobbies this week. He posted a short video of himself in a kayak filming his explanation of what it takes to produce great work as a knowledge worker. He put it this way, “Large amounts of unstructured leisure time are required not as a reward for great work, but as a pre-requisite.” He had 55,000 hits last time I looked.

Keep asking great questions …

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