When it comes to finding new ways to boost your professional life, many times, the best approach is to first look at what you are doing with your personal time. In fact, with the right creative hobby, you may find new ways to bring more professional creativity into your career. Whether its writing, drawing, taking photographs or anything in between, this creative hobby not only gives you a reprieve from some of the demands of your career, but this creativity can actually filter into your career and help make you better at your job, and here’s how.

It Can Help Train Your Brain

When you are taking time outside of work to indulge in a creative hobby, it can actually start training your brain to think more creatively in other areas of your life. This is like exercising new muscles in your brain. With your creative juices flowing, you will likely start embracing a more creative point of view with strategizing and collaborating in the office.

It Gives You New Experiences to Reference

Many times, the best way to be good at any job is to have experience to draw from. These experiences can give you insight on how to handle problems that may come your way. If your creative hobby is inherently different than the way that you spend your time at work, you may have a whole new set of challenges to use to help you. For example, you may have faced a challenge in your group dance class that challenged you to work with a difficult type of person on your team, and you can reference these unique experiences to approach your work situations more creatively.

It Can Make You More Productive

Google is famous for promoting an approach with their employees known as the 20% Rule. This rule means that employees can spend 20% of their time exploring side projects. The result is that 80% of their time at work, employees are actually more creative and more productive, as research suggests that side projects can actually boost work performance.

Choosing the Right Creative Hobby

In order for a creative hobby to really help your professional career, you need to make sure that you are doing the right type of creative side project. The first and most important thing is that it needs to differ from your work projects. Not everyone is going to be able to do the same type of creative projects.

Taking photos can be work for someone, but can be a hobby for others, just as writing, playing piano or making websites can be both work and hobbies. You need to find a hobby that is inherently different than your work you do.

This hobby shouldn’t be your livelihood, or even impact your livelihood. If you failed completely at your side hobby and never made a dime from it, then it shouldn’t matter. Your creative hobbies shouldn’t have any type of deadline or time pressure and it should be something that you really love and really want to do.

The final key is to make sure that you are doing this creative hobby regularly. It is the only way to make sure that you are really getting the benefits of making this part of your life and your daily routine. If you are only doing your habit sporadically, then it won’t really have the noticeable impact on your professional life that it could. So, if you have a creative hobby that interests you outside the office, make 2018 the year that you dedicate more time to this hobby. It won’t only bring you joy in your life but it can help take your professional endeavors to new levels.