A hobby can be so much more than just a diversion from the daily grind. In fact, creative hobbies can positively boost your work performance, according to new research.
San Francisco State University psychologist Kevin Eschleman and his colleagues found that those who said they often spend their free time doing various creative activities scored 15 to 30 percent higher on performance rankings. This compares to those who said they weren't very creative outside of work, reported NPR.
The researchers surveyed about 340 employees from all different professions, and the participants reported how often they engage in creative activities like drawing and playing an instrument. Researchers also asked them to self-report their strength in several performance measures like devising creative solutions to problems at work and helping others on the job.
"We found that in general, the more you engage in creative activities, the better you'll do," Eschleman told NPR. The researchers also gave 90 U.S. Air Force captains the same evaluation, and then asked their co-workers and bosses to rate them on performance measures. The researchers said they obtained very similar results to the first study.
Eschleman suggested that perhaps pursuing creative hobbies creates a cycle of positive side effects.
"It's very possible that those who are performing better at their jobs also have more energy to pursue these creative activities," Eschleman told NPR. In turn, creative tasks might then provide employees with the positive energy they need to show up at work the next day and perform.
So how can you rally your employees to be more inventive outside of work? Well, first, the authors warn you should avoid approaching the situation with a heavy hand. But you can nudge your employees toward cultivating some creative habits by offering them memberships to art studios, creative writing classes, and music lessons, they suggest.