How to Think Smart About Your Downtime
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What we do in our downtime matters. For example, sports-related hobbies are beneficial for recharging because they require active engagement and distract the mind from work-related issues.
We all know that a constant connection to your work makes it harder to switch off after a day of work. We have to set time aside to recharge properly.
Both perspectives of work psychology - one based on balance and recovery, the other on enrichment - are correct, depending on how you view a particular hobby. Consider if you take the hobby seriously or not.
A serious approach would be where you actively identify yourself with the activity - for example, you describe yourself as a climber rather than climbing as something you do.
Enrichment Theory offers a perspective from work psychology and points out that the skills and experiences we build in our free time can complement our work performance.
It suggests that you find a hobby that touches on your job in some way. If you want to use your leadership skills, play the role of team captain for your local soccer team.
One approach for recharging leads to balance and recovery. It suggests you use your downtime for something unrelated to your job that will refresh you. Think about it in terms of detachment, relaxation, autonomy, mastery, meaning, and affiliation.
You first have to understand which of your needs are least satisfied by your work, then choose hobbies which fulfill these needs. If your work does not offer enough social interaction, pick a social pastime. If your job is not challenging, choose a hobby where you can learn new skills.
For serious hobbies similar to your work, research found that if you spend too much time on them, you're effectively spreading yourself too thin, and it could dent your confidence at work.
But, taking a casual approach to a hobby that is similar to your work may benefit from the overlap.
A hobby that is taken seriously is not a problem is it is sufficiently different from work.
Spending more time on a serious hobby that is different from work is beneficial as it leads to feelings of greater professional confidence.
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