By Thomas Griffin, co-founder and president of OptinMonster
While there’s nothing wrong with catching up on your favorite TV shows to unwind from a long day, consider using that free time for a creative hobby instead. Having a hobby will make you more interesting, build your confidence and reduce stress and it can even boost your career.
According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, having a creative hobby is associated with positive performance-related outcomes like job creativity and extra-role behaviors.
So, if you want to recharge after work and improve your job performance at the same time, pick up a cool hobby. Check out these five creative hobbies you could try this year.
1. Learn photography.
If you want to ignite your creativity this year, consider learning photography. By taking up photography you can learn a new, useful skill, and you can document all the important moments in your life at the same time. Look for local photography classes that will teach you all the basics to get started.
Plus, you don’t even need an expensive camera in order to become a talented photographer. There are a ton of free online courses that will teach you how to take stunning photos with your smartphone if you don’t have a digital camera at your disposal.
Learning photography can help you boost your creativity at work and learn to look at things in a whole new way.
2. Develop a ‘green thumb.’
Gardening has so many amazing benefits. According to a study published on ScienceDirect, gardening is linked with increases in quality of life, a sense of community and reductions in mood disturbance. So, if you’re prone to getting frustrated at work, gardening might be able to help you change your outlook.
For those without an outdoor space to garden, there are indoor gardening kits on the market for growing greens, herbs and vegetables. Many of these indoor gardening kits are compact so that even people with the tiniest apartments can easily develop a green thumb.
3. Start a blog.
Starting a blog is a fun way to share your thoughts and advice with others. For instance, if you’re a bookkeeper who is passionate about family budgeting, you could start a blog to share your budgeting tips with other parents. Blogging can even help you make a little extra money on the side if you monetize your blog with affiliate marketing, Google AdSense and sponsored posts.
With a blog, you can build your personal brand and improve your online presence. And of course, blogging is a great way to improve your writing skills, which could be an asset to your career.
4. Join a book club.
If you want to expand your knowledge by reading and meeting new people this year, consider joining a book club. By joining a book club, you can connect with like-minded people, learn new things and have discussions on important topics. Because a book club is a group activity, you can also improve your networking skills, which will help you at industry events and meetings.
An added bonus: Reading can even help you live longer. A study by Yale researchers found that those who read books for 30 minutes daily lived an average of 23 months longer than nonreaders or magazine readers.
5. Start a podcast.
If talking is one of your talents and you’re interested in sharing your thoughts with others, try starting a podcast. You can start a podcast on any topic you want -- whether it’s spirituality, news, TV, movies or true crime. You could even create a podcast talking about all the new hobbies you’re trying in 2020!
Starting a podcast can help you become more comfortable sharing your ideas with others, and it can help you with your public speaking skills as well. Even though you may record your podcast in a room all by yourself, talking about your favorite topics and putting them out into the world will help you build your confidence.
If you try one of these hobbies and you find it’s not for you, don’t worry -- there are a ton of other creative hobbies you can try, such as painting, learning a new language, restoring furniture and so on. You’ll never know if you’ll like something until you try it. So, boost your career and your mood by finding the perfect creative hobby for you.
Thomas Griffin is co-founder and president of OptinMonster. He is an entrepreneur, investor and software expert, helping you be a better leader in your organization.