Keeping a healthy balance between work and the things you do during free time is certainly important, but there are several activities you can try during your downtime that benefit your career simultaneously.
Becoming bilingual can help you gain a better perspective about people who live in other parts of the world and their culture. What’s more, being able to communicate, even on a basic level, can help you feel more at ease when taking a trip to a destination where residents speak a language other than your own. Check your local library or community center for free or low-cost language courses. There are also phone apps that can help you learn the basics, such as Duolingo or Babbel.
Gaining fluency in another language could also help you earn more at work. Statistics say people who know more than one language earn from five to 20 percent more per hour compared to workers who are not bilingual. What’s more, knowing more than one language can also open up new career opportunities within your industry.
TED Talks are speeches given by influential people to share ideas (that are 18 minutes or less in length). They cover a wide variety of topics, but the focus is on technology, entertainment and design, hence the acronym TED. Consider finding a few interesting options and listening to them while you do things around the house, such as make dinner or playing with your children or pet.
You can choose from over 2,200 talks with subjects ranging from how barbershops play an important role in men’s health to why it’s sometimes a good thing to celebrate failures. Even if you don’t pick one that directly relates to your line of work, you’ll gain some insight that you can apply to both your life and your career. The people who give TED Talks are renowned for making their points in memorable ways and some of the discussions you hear could change your life.
Team sports are an integral part of many people’s childhoods, but they tend to become less important as we get older. If you’re trying to find a hobby that helps your career, don’t overlook team sports that cater to adults. If you spent a lot of time on playing fields as a kid, getting involved in a team sport could allow you to awaken skills you haven’t used for decades.
Playing sports as part of a team requires working with others toward a single goal, while strategizing with and supporting other participants. No matter what kind of work you do, interacting with others is probably a necessity from time to time, so the strategies you practice with your teammates could also benefit the relationships you have with your coworkers.
Volunteering for a meaningful cause allows you to feel good about the way you’re spending your free time. It can also give you fresh perspectives on how to solve problems, ponder ideas and interact with new people, all of which make you more of an asset to your workplace.
Volunteering can also be useful if you’re eyeing a new career path. Some volunteer positions lead to paid work, or at least help you discover something you’re passionate about.
Music can boost mood, improve concentration and make people feel more motivated. Simply listening to tunes is beneficial, but playing an instrument offers more benefits.
Scans of musicians’ brains show that the areas responsible for auditory processing and motor control are larger than in people who don’t play music. Also, music-practicing individuals are less likely to experience chronic stress than their non-musician peers. Playing music reduces production of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. When a person’s body has too much cortisol, he or she may experience learning difficulties and have an elevated risk of heart disease.
Deciding to play an instrument could bring many benefits to your life when you’re hard at work or relaxing. It could give you the chance to experience joy and satisfaction from learning to play your favorite songs instead of only enjoying the recordings.
Enjoy fruitful free time by choosing activities wisely. Besides helping you unwind when you’re off the clock, these particular activities could also turn you into a more marketable employee.
Kayla Matthews is a personal development enthusiast and productivity blogger. In addition to writing for the Noomii, Kayla also writes for The Daily Muse, The Chicago Tribune and The Huffington Post.