12 Productive Hobbies to Give You an Edge

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Do you think hobbies are nothing but a distraction, a mere waste of time? Well, you may be a dedicated professional, but having a good hobby can help you spend your free time more productively.

Later, we’ll list 12 productive hobbies you might want to try, including pastimes like reading and gardening and more unusual activities like cross-stitch and origami. First, though, let’s investigate how hobbies can benefit you, and what to look for in a productive one.

Let’s get into it.

How hobbies can benefit you

Having a hobby can benefit you in numerous ways. Here are a few of them.

  • It can help you cope with stress and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • It can help you enter a state of flow.
  • You will be able to structure your time better.
  • You can meet new people when you engage in a leisure activity.
  • A productive hobby can provide you with some additional income.
  • Having a hobby can be a good way for you to take a break.

What to look for in the perfect productive hobby

If you want to pursue a productive hobby, these are a few things you should think about.

  • Make sure you enjoy your hobby so that you’ll do it and keep it up.
  • Choose a hobby that will challenge you or make you think if you want to get the most out of the activity.
  •  Many productive hobbies involve taking pleasure in making something, which can be both a fun and practical use of your time.
  • If you choose a hobby that involves making something, you can also develop your creativity which can give you an edge in the workplace.

It’s time to discover some of the top hobbies out there if you want to become more productive.

Top productive hobbies

Here are some of the top options if you want to find a productive hobby to enjoy.

1. Cooking

Making cooking your hobby will not just result in having more delicious meals to enjoy and a chance to refine your skills in the kitchen, it will make you better at planning and focusing.

After all, you can’t afford to lose concentration when stirring a hot sauce or chopping vegetables with a sharp knife. You must plan well to ensure you don’t miss a vital stage of the recipe or forget an essential ingredient.

By improving your planning skills and ability to focus, you’ll likely become more productive.

2. Reading

Numerous studies indicate that reading is beneficial and can make you more productive, improve mental health, reduce stress, make you happier and boost cognitive function. So, build a reading habit and enjoy both fiction and non-fiction to see how it impacts you.

Reading is truly one of the most productive hobbies there is.

Open book on a wooden table beside a stack of books. The open book is in front of a cup of coffee on a saucer,  and a small potted plant.
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

3. Painting   

When you take up painting, you can immerse yourself in a world of creativity and give free rein to your imagination. This will help you distance yourself from your troubles for a while and de-stress. When you paint, you explore different perspectives and learn to trust your judgement, which can be useful in many areas of life. If you put in the time and effort and become truly proficient, acquiring this skill, and enjoying your hobby can evolve into a business and provide you with some additional income.

If you want to start painting but are unsure which medium to choose, check out this earlier post for some tips.

4. Exercising

Exercising is beneficial for both your physical and mental health, as experts continue to remind us. There are lots of exercises you can choose, whether it be running, cycling, swimming, or horse riding. Apart from giving you confidence and self-esteem, exercising has multiple upsides:

  • Decreases risk of heart disease.
  • Can help you lose weight and increase your fitness.
  • Helps you get better quality sleep, which can help you focus and work more effectively.

So, make exercising your hobby to derive some great health benefits from it, as well as loads of fun.

5. Writing

Writing is an incredibly useful skill that few take the trouble to refine. Being able to convey thoughts effectively on the page in a way that grabs a reader’s attention and keeps them interested is an underrated skill. Writing can be therapeutic and may even be a good way for you to earn a little more money if you really get into it.

6. Yoga

Yoga is a great way to block out distractions and improve your ability to concentrate. This means yoga can help you become more productive as well as make you feel good.

7. Photography

If you love taking photos, this could be a fantastic hobby for you. You may even be able to turn your new hobby into a profitable side hustle. You can take photos of anything you like, ranging from your beloved pets to seascapes and landscapes. There are various websites out there where you can then sell your photos to make some money.

You can start learning slowly and see where this creative hobby takes you and enjoy yourself while you do.

8. Gardening

Gardening has far more benefits than just giving you exercise. It can boost your creativity and make you more adept at managing projects. You may even be able to make a little money by selling some of the fruit and veg you grow at the market. Gardening is also a terrific way to deal with stress, stave off depression, and improve your observational skills. To top it all off, it can help you shake off a bad mood.

Check out these tips to get the best out of your garden if this sounds like the pastime for you!

9. Cross-stitching

Cross-stitching can give you something to focus your attention on and banish worry for a time. The activity can help you develop self-discipline and improve your hand-eye coordination. It’s also a versatile craft which means you’re not likely to get bored.

By learning to focus entirely on one thing, you’ll be able to work more efficiently and effectively than ever.

10. Playing a musical instrument

Start learning an instrument if you want to improve your hand-eye coordination, boost cognitive development, and become better at managing your time. You’ll also learn how to focus better and be able to express yourself in new and creative ways. This will help you hone your problem-solving skills, so you’ll be able to come up with creative solutions to problems you encounter in life and work.

If you’re unsure which instrument you’d like to start your musical adventure with, take a look at the 9 best musical instruments for beginners to play.

Girl playing the guitar outdoors.
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 11. Playing video games

Playing games — particularly video games — can seem like a colossal waste of time and something that can kill productivity. However, if you’re clever about it you can apply some of the elements of gameplay, like competition and point-scoring, to give you an edge in real life.

Multiplayer games can increase team productivity. When colleagues get to know each other through gaming, a sense of teamwork is fostered which helps create a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace. This means that you and your teammates are more likely to be productive.

On an individual level, playing video games can help you improve your ability to pay attention to something for extended periods of time, meaning you can concentrate on challenging tasks, stay in a state of flow for longer, and power through tasks.

12. Origami

Origami is one of the more unusual hobbies on this list, but folding paper to create something beautiful can be surprisingly fun.

You can improve your hand-eye coordination, memory, and problem-solving skills as well as develop your patience and ability to pay attention.

Having the ability to pay attention to something longer will help you stay away from distractions in the workplace, enabling you to be more productive.

Next, we’ll offer some advice on what to do if you don’t know how to make time in your day to pursue your newfound interest.

How to make time for your hobbies

You may have been reading this list thinking these hobbies sound fab but wondering how you can make time for any of these fun-sounding activities. Here are a couple of things you can do to find the time.

Use time blocking

Many of us use time blocking to help schedule our workdays and ensure we get stuff done. It is the practice of planning out your day and devoting chunks of time to given tasks. Why not apply the same strategy to organise your leisure time?

By setting aside time for your hobbies, you will make them a priority. Hobbies often take a little more effort to start than a low-friction activity like watching TV. By making the effort to add time for your hobby into your schedule, you will give yourself the little push you need to begin.

Involve your friends

If you don’t want to have to formally schedule your free time, there’s another way to make yourself start. Invite a friend to do the activity with you, so that you will be under slight social pressure to begin and will be less likely to forget about your new hobby in favour of binge-watching that new series on Netflix.

Wrapping up

There you go. We’ve covered the upsides of having a hobby, how you can make time for them and how you can find a particularly productive one that can help give you an edge in life and work.

All you have to do now is pick one you fancy and start having fun. If you have a hobby you find helps increase your productivity that we haven’t listed, let us know about it in the comments!

Published by Lizzie

Lizzie here. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor based in the UK. I'm also passionate about volunteering and hold a MA in History from the University of Warwick. I've written for a multitude of fantastic websites and companies, including a legal automation software company, a dog training site and more. Check out my reviews on Fiverr and Upwork for more info!

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