Those of us in marketing know it’s an interesting, fast-paced, challenging, exciting, and usually fun industry to work in. It gives us the chance to learn a very wide and eclectic variety of things, solve tough problems, influence business and culture, and express our creativity in all sorts of ways. It also gives us the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a diverse assortment of smart, funny, interesting people.
But no matter how much our marketing jobs provide us with a satisfying daily dose of creativity, challenge, and growth, it can’t do it all. It’s one thing to create or problem-solve for a client. It’s quite another to do it for yourself. Whether it’s cooking, or knitting, or painting, or novel writing, it’s important to have a creative hobby on the side. Doesn’t matter if you’re a designer or an account exec or a media planner or a CMO. We all need a way to express our creativity outside of the office. Here are a few reasons why.
- It gives you the freedom to fail big. A creative hobby let’s you try new things and make lots of big ugly mistakes. You just can’t do that at work where there’s a lot more at stake—and when you’re being paid to produce something of value each day. But on your own time, you can explore whatever you want and fail miserably in a safe, non-judgmental way. Trying new things stretches your limits and makes you more comfortable taking risks. It helps you get in touch with your creativity on your terms, without restrictions, criticism, or rules. That kind of freedom is more than just fun. By exploring and revealing parts of yourself you may not have known existed, you can enrich your life in countless ways.
- It can make you better at your job. A hobby can help you practice and refine skills that enhance your job in new ways. A marketing manager who paints on the side can fine-tune his eye for evaluating creative work. An account exec who writes short stories can improve her email communication skills. A CMO who does local theater can learn to make more effective presentations. By working our creative muscles, they get stronger, making us better problem solvers and idea generators. Creative hobbies also help us recharge and relax while distracting us from our endless To-Do lists. They refill our creative wells and expand our perspectives, giving us more to draw from when we’re faced with tough challenges. All of these things help us perform better at our day jobs.
- 3. It will improve your quality of life. There’s no doubt about it. Playing piano, writing screenplays, and sculpting clay will make you a more well-rounded and interesting person. By pushing yourself in new ways and developing new skills, you’ll enjoy a perpetual source of joy, challenge, and personal satisfaction that makes life more fun and meaningful. It can also help you make new friends and connect you with others who share your interests.
Yes, creative hobbies take time that’s often hard to find. We marketers put in a lot of hours. We have to think hard on the job and so we don’t always have enough working brain cells left at the end of the day to be creative. But you know how exercise gives you more energy instead of less? It’s like that with creative hobbies. The rewards far exceed the effort.