Google has a policy for their employees called the “80-percent rule.” They encourage their employees to spend 80 percent of their time working on Google business, then take the remaining 20 percent and pursue something that interests them. Why did they do this? Because it allows employees to have a creative outlet, which leads them to be more creative and productive during their 80 percent work.
Hobbies Allow Recovery from Work
People can get caught into what is called a “work-spend-work cycle.” They work to earn money, then they spend that money, then work to earn more money to spend. That cycle doesn’t allow time for the person to recover.
Creative hobbies allow a person to recover from their usual cycle of work. Spending down-time doing creative activities or hobbies will allow a person to head back to work more refreshed and with new creative ideas.
Executives are particularly susceptible to getting caught in this cycle. Owning or running a company takes a certain type of personality, one that often puts work over all else. Taking time away from work can help an executive gain perspective. Spending too much time staring at a problem, or the same problems, can lead to less productive solutions than a fresh outlook can bring.
Rules for Hobbies and Side Projects
Your side projects should differ from the things you do at work. Don’t set limits on yourself. Feel free to investigate or explore anything that strikes your fancy. However, make sure to set some rules for yourself.
- These are labors of love, not business projects. If they fail, there is nothing to lose. You are only going to get back what you put into them
- There is no hurry to complete them. Don’t set deadlines or put yourself under pressure to “get things done.” Take your time to experiment and explore. Do things completely differently from what you would normally do, to see if you get a more favorable outcome.
- Spend time on them because you want to. Do not create obligations for yourself. If you really want to do it, you will keep coming back for more.
Make Sure to Make Time
While you may not want to set a deadline for yourself, you should probably set a goal. Goals will keep you coming back and will also ensure that you will put time aside for your projects. You can always find ways to fill your time with work related activities so you may need to work at making sure to set aside time for your creative projects. Once you make a habit of doing it, it will come more easily.
Don’t Stick to One Thing
Finally, don’t feel obligated to see something through to the end. If you are not enjoying what you are doing, set it aside and try something different. That is the beauty of a hobby. Since you are only doing it for yourself, you control when you are done. By taking time to immerse yourself in something you really love, you may find yourself refreshed when it comes to your work life.