Why You Need a Hobby, Not Another Personal Project

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I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about personal projects, tips for managing them and ideas for getting started. While I think every professional can benefit from having one or two personal projects in the works, and I typically do myself, I also think personal projects can contribute to work-related stress, over scheduling and eventually burnout. Sure, you have a lot to gain by working on projects that directly benefit you and your business. But in reality, personal projects are just more work. It may be work you enjoy and may eventually contribute to your long-term earning potential, but it’s work.

Do I really need a hobby?

Personal projects are typically fit in around paying client work. If you’re already busy to begin with, you may find that you’re working on your personal projects when you really should be taking a break. Again, this can push you one step closer to burning out. I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t have time for a hobby; a hobby is a waste of time; my free time is best spent on more productive activities.” But guess what? Those thoughts can be a sign that a hobby is exactly what you need. A mix of personal projects and absolutely-not-work-related hobbies can be one of the most effective ways to balance the stress of your daily workload. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way.

What will a hobby actually do for me?

Not convinced a hobby will do anything positive for you? Here are some of the benefits from picking up a hobby:
  • It’s a break from the work pressures and always-on mentality.
  • A hobby can boost your self-esteem, energy and creativity.
  • It’s a structured way to take time off from work (structure that people like me need!).
  • You can learn something about yourself outside of who you are as a professional.
  • A hobby can inspire you in ways you would not have anticipated.
  • It’s time that can reset your perspective on work when you get back to the grind.

How do I choose a hobby?

To ensure your hobby is a hobby and not moving into personal project territory, make sure it passes each of these tests:
  • This is something I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to doing.
  • I have no commitment to doing this hobby at a certain time, in a certain way.
  • The goal isn’t to make money or further my business/career.
  • This hobby typically makes me feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
  • I am often surprised by how quickly time goes when I am focusing on my hobby.
One hard lesson I’ve learned is that a good hobby doesn’t have to be intense; it doesn’t have to be something you do that produces a measurable, physical end result. In fact, sometimes the best hobbies are those that allow you to adopt a more passive approach — watching TV, reading, arts and crafts time with your kids, taking walks. Do you have a hobby? How does it help you find balance in your work? Image credit: dinoberto

Frequently Asked Questions about Hobbies and DIY Projects

Why is having a hobby important for my personal development?

Having a hobby is crucial for personal development as it allows you to explore your interests outside of your professional life. It provides an opportunity to learn new skills, express creativity, and build self-confidence. Hobbies can also serve as a stress reliever, providing a break from the daily grind and offering a sense of accomplishment when you see your progress or complete a project.

How can I choose the right hobby for me?

Choosing the right hobby depends on your personal interests, time availability, and resources. Consider what you enjoy doing in your spare time, what skills you’d like to learn or improve, and what fits within your budget. It’s also important to consider the level of commitment required for the hobby. Some hobbies can be done sporadically, while others require regular practice.

Can hobbies help improve my professional skills?

Yes, hobbies can significantly contribute to enhancing your professional skills. For instance, hobbies that involve teamwork can improve your communication and collaboration skills. Creative hobbies can enhance problem-solving abilities and innovative thinking. Hobbies can also help in developing patience, perseverance, and time management skills.

What are some popular DIY hobbies I can start with?

There are numerous DIY hobbies you can start with, depending on your interest. Some popular ones include gardening, painting, knitting, woodworking, baking, and jewelry making. These hobbies not only provide a creative outlet but also result in tangible products that you can use, gift, or even sell.

How can I find resources to help me get started with a new hobby?

There are plenty of resources available online to help you get started with a new hobby. Websites like Pinterest offer a plethora of DIY project ideas and step-by-step guides. YouTube is another great resource for video tutorials. You can also check out hobby-specific websites or join online communities and forums for advice and support.

Can I turn my hobby into a source of income?

Absolutely! Many people turn their hobbies into a source of income by selling their creations or offering their services. Websites like Etsy are perfect for selling handmade items, while platforms like Udemy allow you to share your knowledge through online courses.

How much time should I dedicate to my hobby?

The amount of time you should dedicate to your hobby depends on your personal schedule and the nature of the hobby. Some hobbies require more time commitment than others. However, it’s important to balance your hobby time with other responsibilities to avoid burnout.

Can hobbies help in improving mental health?

Yes, hobbies can play a significant role in improving mental health. Engaging in activities you enjoy can reduce stress, lower the risk of depression, and enhance your mood. Hobbies provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which can boost your self-esteem and overall happiness.

Are there any low-cost hobbies I can pursue?

Yes, there are many low-cost hobbies you can pursue. These include activities like hiking, reading, writing, drawing, or learning a new language online. The cost of a hobby often depends on how much you’re willing to invest in materials and equipment.

How can I stay motivated to continue with my hobby?

Staying motivated can sometimes be challenging, especially when you’re learning a new skill. Setting small, achievable goals, celebrating your progress, and sharing your work with others can help maintain motivation. Remember, the primary purpose of a hobby is to enjoy yourself, so don’t put too much pressure on perfection.

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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