In a culture that rewards “hustle,” we seldom leave our laptops. Day in and day out, we are working on building our businesses or spending long days at work. While many of us have found ways to turn our passion into a paycheck, we’re multi-faceted beings who need passions outside of work and our businesses, too.
Simply put, it’s important for us from a holistic perspective. Focusing on a passion that has nothing to do with your 9-5 or what pays the bills can actually enhance your performance at work, make you happier, and make you more creative. It’s really important to remember that creating a business out of your passion doesn’t have to be your reality. Passions can be independent of your work!
Many feel guilt when they allocate time to a passion rather than getting ready for work the next day or plotting a new business strategy. Whether it’s crocheting, cooking, rebuilding cars, painting, running or anything else, there are a number of undeniable benefits to feeding our passions.
Here are a few:
1. It Makes You Better At Your Job
Contrary to some lines of thinking, the way to be the best at your job is not to make your job into your entire life. In fact, San Francisco State University researched how having a creative passion outside of work could impact your performance at your job, and found some surprising results. They focused the study on Air Force pilots and professionals.
The study reported that those who focused on doing creative work for other passions outside of their job performed on average 15-30% better at their job, which is quite significant. These passions didn’t have to be side hustles or anything requiring talent or skill, either – many of them were easy, artistic hobbies, such as painting or knitting, which means you can start today.
2. Joy Leads To An Overall Productivity Boost
Many say that their sole intention behind having a creative passion is to do something that makes them happy. Happiness and joy have a larger impact on us than we think, and can also help us perform better at work through our productivity. Economists at the University of Warwick found that we actually work harder when we’re happier – in fact, workers who are happy are 12% more productive.
It’s important to take care of yourself, and know that the joy found in these creative passions really can amp your ability to get more done at work.
3. A Greater Sense Of Freedom And Autonomy
Finally, the day-to-day of doing the same job – even if you love it – can have the effect of starting to make you feel as though you’re just on a hamster wheel. A recent report by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology noted that the top contributor to a sense of happiness is autonomy. In other words, a sense of ownership over our lives, and a feeling that we’re in control of what we do. I was recently speaking with Dr. Jonathan Kung, who is a full time doctor. However, he loves fashion and attending fashion shows outside of work, and said that devoting time to these passions helps him feel a sense of autonomy over his life.
“It’s all about living life on your own terms,” Dr. Kung said to me. “Making time for my passions reminds me that I’m more than a doctor.”
So, next time you feel the itch to pick up your guitar, attend that pottery class, write a short story, or paint a picture, go for it. Your work will thank you.