Entrepreneurs don’t have a lot of free time. In fact, that might be the biggest understatement of the century! Between managing your team, putting out a great product, seeing that client needs are met and taking care of your family life, there’s often not a whole lot of time left over for the stuff you do “just for fun.”
However, having a hobby isn’t just enjoyable. It comes with added benefits for entrepreneurs. Research shows engaging in hobbies can make us even more effective bosses when we are at the office by helping us recover from stressful work conditions, perform better on the job and think more creatively.
If you’re like me, though, you have a hard time disconnecting from work just for the sake of disconnecting. If I’m going to dedicate time to a hobby, I want it to be something I truly enjoy and feel enriched by!
Because of this, I came up with a three-part formula for finding the perfect hobby to suit an entrepreneur. Think of the criteria below like a Venn diagram with three intersecting circles. An ideal hobby is where at least two of the three areas intersect. If you can find one that combines all three, you’ve hit the hobby jackpot!
So, you’re looking for at least two out of these three things:
1. It Keeps You Healthy
I’ve never been one of those people who looooves working out. Yes, I know it’s important, but if given the choice between going to a kickboxing class and vegging out on the couch, the ole’ couch is going to win every time.
That’s why I love to look for hobbies that have an element of healthy living built in. It doesn’t have to be pushing tires around a la Crossfit, either (though if that’s your thing, I admire you).
Here are few ideas where relaxation and healthy habits intersect:
- Bike riding
- Walking with your dog, spouse or friend
- Taking a cooking class
- Growing a vegetable garden
- Dance classes
Many of these ideas will also get you out into the great outdoors, which gets bonus points for promoting many mental health benefits.
2. It Facilitates Creativity
Some people are naturally more creative than others, but believe it or not, creativity is a trait you can improve through practice (if you’re interested, we talk about specific tactics for becoming more creative in this post).
When you do something creative in your spare time, it helps exercise your brain in ways that don’t always happen within the confines of the workday. The best part is that when you do return to work you’ll reap those creative benefits, finding more innovative solutions to problems and thinking outside the box about how to serve your customers better.
A great hobby will help you flex your creative muscle naturally. When there’s not a schedule or an important contract on the line, tapping into your creative side can be a whole lot of fun!
Here are some hobbies that might help you get in touch with your creative side:
- Creative writing
- Cake decorating
- Playing an instrument
Who knows—you might even discover a hidden creative passion you can turn into a new business venture.
3. It Connects You With Friends
It’s scientifically proven that people with strong social ties live longer than those without them. In one study of patients with cardiac issues, having meaningful social connections had an even greater association with an extended life span than taking a drug for their illness.
And, you’ve probably already figured out that success in business is heavily influenced not by what you know, but who you know! Therefore, having a hobby that connects you with others might even come with some built-in professional benefits as well.
In a world where “keeping up with friends” is done mostly through a screen, having a social hobby is a great way to get regular face time with the people who matter and to add new acquaintances to your social circle.
- Some hobbies that check this box are:
- Wine tasting
- Adult sports leagues like softball or volleyball
- Book club
- Improv class
- Volunteering for a cause
- Visiting museums
- Attending concerts
- Playing board games
- Learning a language
- Playing in a band
Two Out Of Three
Now comes the fun part—figuring out where your lists of potential hobbies intersect. Here are a few of mine:
Joining a sports league (keeps you healthy + connects you with friends)
Taking a ceramics class (connects you with friends + facilitates creativity)
Photographing nature trails (facilitates creativity + keeps you healthy)
For even more ideas of hobbies that are both fun and enriching, here are few great places to turn:
Meetup.com: A networking site for finding clubs and groups in your local area. You’ll find everything from kickball leagues to political activist groups.
WAKA: A nationwide network of adult sports teams. Kickball is the main focus, but most cities offer other sports like flag football and ultimate Frisbee, too.
VolunteerMatch: Matches you with non-profits in need of volunteers based on your geographical area and interests.
Home Depot Workshops: The home improvement giant offers free weekly classes on all kinds of topics, from building furniture to making Easter baskets.
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