I often muse on when exactly I stopped wanting to do any hobby that involved making things. It was most likely not long after I went from Manic Trout being a “jobby” to a job. Whenever I start thinking about this, it leads to a bunch of deep thoughts. Today I’ve decided to write these down as I ponder this subject.
1. I could be assuming wrong, but I would think that most of us want to have hobbies which stimulate different areas of the brain than what we spend much time at work on. Which is why makers do not often want to make as a hobby and grad students choose to not read that much for pleasure.
2. As I make, market and design for my job, and most of the time alone, I enjoy reading, physical fitness and talking/eating with friends as my areas of hobbies. I’m basically craving in my downtime all the things I am not doing during the majority of my day.
3. This also explains that when I had a talk with myself in December about happiness, I also declared I was over tv in my free time…because when I am in production, I binge watch tv shows. It’s been put into the “work” column.
4. This led me to think about how hobbies are such a wonderful way to balance out your life. Although I work alone, I am still communicating via email and social media all day and have lunch meetings virtually and in person a good deal of the week. Which I think is why I crave so much reading time. It’s my way of shutting off the noise.
5. On the flip side, when I am being social in real life, I am so often one on one, that recently joining a kickboxing gym, a book club and a networking/dining club had filled something with the group dynamic that I didn’t realize was missing.
6. Focusing on all of this for the past 6 months has been fascinating. I now have started paying attention to friends of mine and their work/life/hobby dynamic to see how they fill in the gaps too.
7. In the book Drive by Daniel Pink, he writes about a study by Csikszentimhalyi about the importance of enjoyable (play and non instrumental to work activities) experiences in your day to life. With them, you have a greater chance of reaching the beautiful “flow” in your work which is essential to mastery. Not to mention, that without these activities, you will be sluggish, have headaches, difficulty concentrating and have thoughts that wander in circles without getting anywhere.
8. Since my big self talk, I still work a lot of 15+ hour days, but as always, I read before bed and try really hard to fit in some exercise in that day. If I’m on a big deadline, I make sure the next day for sure includes something physical for at least an hour. Days when I am not in the midst of a big launch or deadline, when I find myself wasting time on non productive work, like facebook. I leave the studio and use that time to read, go for a walk or even catch up on chores. By doing this I have reclaimed so much time and made it happy time. It balances out the long days really well.
9. I also try to make sure I allow myself a few hours during the weekends to avoid the studio. If I have a week where we have out of town guests, or I know I’ll be traveling, I make an exception if I need to catch up on work, but otherwise I have granted myself permission to enjoy the hobbies and have days off. It’s been incredibly helpful in my mental health, I wish I had sat myself down sooner for this talk.
10. For a long time I had it in my head that hobbies had to be these new activities that I was not really feeling…i.e: making things. When I finally allowed myself to define my enjoyment activities to the things I was already trying to squeeze in but not calling a hobby (reading, exercise, friends), it changed my perspective and I suddenly was making time to do them. Sometimes its all about perspective.