Don’t fall victim to what turned Jack Nicholson’s character into a violent maniac in The Shining: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Whether you’re working long hours at a paid job or exhausting yourself looking for a job, there’s more to life than just work, work, work. In fact, if you want to perform better on the job, finding fun and interesting activities outside of work may help more than staying late at the office. Spending time every week doing non-work activities that you enjoy can help you be more productive, creative, even relaxed when you show up on Monday morning.
Any (legal!) activity that you enjoy can give you tremendous benefits—all it takes is making a commitment not only to your mental health (so you don’t burn out at work) but to your career (so you can ‘shine’ at work, no pun intended). Do you like physical activities like hiking, skiing, swimming, yoga, handball, or dancing? How about less strenuous pursuits like photography, jewelry making, painting, or simply reading a new novel? By taking not only your body but your mind completely out of ‘work mode,’ you allow yourself to relax and refresh, which can give you more focus and energy when you return to work.
The key here is to make that commitment. Do what it takes to make the time: set an alarm on your smart phone or block off regular chunks of time on your calendar…and stick to them. Treat those calendar items just as you would any other appointment. Find a friend who wants to commit to the same schedule and meet on a regular schedule. Can’t get your schedules to sync up? Then set up a regular accountability phone call to check in on each other to be sure you’re meeting your commitment to yourself. Whatever works for you…do it right now, before another too-long week at work with no play drives you crazy!
About this Examiner: Kathryn Marion is the award-winning author of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE of Your First Year After College!, the most comprehensive resource for navigating the world of work and independent living after graduation, as well as host of the book’s companion resource site, www.GradsTakeCharge.com. The print edition of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE is available through Amazon and other online booksellers. The e-book edition is available through e-junkie.
Kathryn also coaches students, graduates, and career changers as well as consults with small businesses and aspiring authors.
Follow her other Examiner columns: College to Career and Job Search. And even more articles on SelfGrowth.com.