There are many reasons why making time for personal projects should be high on our lists. But while creative personal projects and hobbies are good for mental health, productivity, and happiness, it’s not always easy to find the time for them in our daily lives.

Take time for personal projects- Photo Credit- Aaron Burden- Unsplash
Take time for personal projects- Photo Credit- Aaron Burden- Unsplash

Between work, socializing, and much necessary time to unplug and rest, adding a time-consuming personal project can be tricky and overwhelming. Yet, personal projects are usually things we’re emotionally invested in and failing to keep up with them can impact our self-confidence.

Creative projects can be relaxing and rewarding and making time for them can become an important part of self-care. Not only do they help make us happier and more confident, but they can also have an impact on our productivity and the quality of our work. So maybe it’s about time to ask yourself if you’re making time for personal projects and, if not, finally learn that language, finish that novel, or take that painting or pottery class.

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Why Is Making Time for Our Personal Projects Important?

There’s more to hobbies and personal projects than just occupying our time with something. These activities that we usually choose out of passion can play a big part in building confidence and self-esteem. You don’t really need to create a multi-million-dollar app or write a literary masterpiece to get your time’s worth when it comes to personal projects and creative hobbies. Just putting time into interests that aren’t work-related can help you be happier, healthier, and more productive.

According to a study measuring the effect of creative hobbies in 400 employees by Dr. Kevin Eschleman, San Francisco State psychology professor, companies could benefit from encouraging employees to take up on creative personal projects to recover from the toll work can take. Eschelman and his team found that “creative activities are likely to provide valuable experiences of mastery and control but may also provide employees experiences of discovery that uniquely influence performance-related outcomes.”

Creative endeavors are key ingredient in recovery from work and according to the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, different factors must be considered when it comes to recovery and leisure, or lack thereof. “From a psychological perspective, it would be better if people engaged in activities in which they sought challenges and tried to match them with their skills. Evidently this also applies to work: Optimal experiences correlate positively with mental health.”

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Personal Projects are not a luxury- Photo Credit- Pablo Escobar-Unsplash
Personal Projects are not a luxury- Photo Credit- Pablo Escobar-Unsplash

Three Things to Consider 

1Create A Schedule and Stick to It: Take a good look at your day and find at least half an hour you can dedicate fully, without interruptions, to your personal projects. Find whatever works best for you, for some people, it’s waking up earlier and dedicating the first few hours of the day to something you are passionate about. That may not be true about you though, so audit your time and figure out when you’re feeling most inspired or are less likely to be interrupted. Once you define it, make your personal project time non-negotiable and set yourself goals. This will help you make a habit out of it and be more consistent.

2Don’t Be Afraid of a Challenge: Finding a meaningful activity is important when it comes to personal projects and hobbies. Since you are not economically reliant on your personal projects, you can take risks and try new things without having to stick to what you know or what you are good at. And while it’s important to treat your personal projects with the same seriousness you’d treat a work endeavor with, you should also give yourself the opportunity to leave the projects you no longer find fulfilling behind.

3Love What You Do: Personal projects and hobbies should not feel like a chore. Sure, getting to them will be easier some days than others, but these projects should be something you love. This will make it easier for you to keep coming back to them, since ideally these will be things you’re emotionally and creatively invested in. Things you really want to do out of love. You can choose anything that interests you or you want to know more about, but make sure you’re enjoying it, even if it’s a challenging choice.

Aline Cerdan Verástegui

Aline Cerdan Verástegui

Mexico City-born freelance writer, translator, ghostwriter, editor and Red Shoe Movement contributor with a love of live music and graphic novels. Has collaborated with Yahoo!, Blouin Artinfo, Yahoo! en Español, Savvy Heels, Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) among others.

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