When work becomes all-consuming and joyless it becomes a negative addiction. While workaholics believe an obsessive dedication to their careers makes them ideal and effective employees, they actually work because they have nothing else to take its place. Their work has become a recurring obsession that ultimately fails to satisfy either them or their employers.
That’s definitely not the Plum Deluxe way to live! As for me, I prefer to subscribe to the old adage “everything in moderation.” Employers appreciate well-rounded employees as much as they do hard workers. Ask yourself what you would talk about with your boss if you had her over for dinner. If there isn’t a “you” outside of work you best fix that right quick. In other words, get a hobby!
The “If You Want it Done Right…” Worker
If you find it nearly impossible to delegate because you’re not sure anyone else can do a job as well as you, the best hobbies are the ones that demand attention to detail. Look into:
- Woodworking — Making cabinets, tables, chairs, and dressers with ornate carvings and finishes.
- Writing a memoir. Then editing it. And editing it again.
- Designing blueprints for your dream home. See above and consider also furnishing it yourself.
The “My Work is Never Finished” Worker
You pride yourself on having projects that seem to have no visible end. Consider:
- Running, swimming, body building.
- Any and every form of art.
- Teaching yourself to repair electronics. Gleefully rub your hands at the thought of hundreds of tiny screws and many small components.
The “Build a Better Mousetrap” Worker
You actively seek out completed work that could be improved upon. If it is something that has to be churned out regularly — think: monthly, quarterly, annually — all the better because you can learn from this cycle’s mistakes. Instead:
- Paint your home inside and out.
- Cultivate a vegetable garden.
- Restore an old or classic anything — vehicle, furniture, juke box.
The “Must be Doing Something” Worker
Different from your stereotypical workaholic, you have interests outside of work but suffer from boredom and lack of eustress. Why don’t you:
- Become an avid collector who researches, hunts, catalogues, and joins societies centered around the item(s) of interest.
- Kayaking, bicycling, or adult sports leagues.
- Take up astronomy.
Easing from Workaholic to Hobbyist
Despite falling into the category of leisure activities, hobbies require a commitment similar to a job — a trait that makes them the ideal way for a workaholic to develop facets of her life outside the career track. However, for someone who is accustomed to thinking constantly about her profession it can be hard to make room in her thought stream for outside occupations.
To make mental space to develop your new interest you must create space on your calendar. Assign a scheduled time for practicing a hobby. We’ve mentioned before that 20 minutes a week is enough to increase a person’s happiness, so start with that.
Next, practice engaging in your hobby and only your hobby at the allotted time. To experience the relief from tension hobbies promise, it is important not to multi-task so you can enter the optimum state of flow. Knitting and quilting are excellent hobbies in this respect.
Finally, enjoy your pastime in the environment optimal for you to recharge. Introverts can select solo activities that let them escape the bustle of an open workspace, while extroverts can enjoy a social hobby the offers relief from an isolated office job.
Perhaps the most important benefit hobbies can offer a workaholic is perspective. Taking time away from your current work projects, both physically and mentally, lets you come back to them with a clearer perspective, allowing you to gain more satisfaction from your work and turn out a better product. And that is a much more effective way to maximize your effectiveness in your career.
Need more convincing?
Plum Deluxe staffers are pretty savvy, but we don’t know everything. If you want more anecdotes and facts about the benefits of hobbies, check out these credible sources:
More hobbitual suggestions:
Photo Credits: Jonathunder, jacsonquerubin, Mary Andrews, vastateparksstaff, Angela, and Lily Monster.