Read time: ±2:50 min.
Finding a creative outlet for your untapped talents and ideas could increase your productivity and help you gain new skills. It also offers escapism during particularly stressful periods of the pandemic. Learn more about the benefits of having a stimulating hobby and how to get started.
Escapism is when you engage in any activity that allows your mind to settle and pull you away from stress and negativity. Some kinds of escapism such as emotional eating and substance abuse are harmful, but there are healthy forms of creative release too.
These are usually in the form of projects such as painting, baking, writing and graphic design, which are beneficial beyond the mental release.
Here are 5 benefits of a creative project:
1. It widens your circle
Having a creative project could connect you to a new social network outside of your personal and professional circle. Widening your network has benefits such as helping you meet prospective mentors and improving your skill set by learning from others.
2. It sharpens your skill set
You’ll get a chance to develop new skills, which could mean you’re better equipped to take on new tasks at your current job or you’re better prepared for a new role at work.
3. It teaches you to be more efficient
As you don’t have every hour of the day to work, managing your creative project will teach you to get more quality work done in a shorter amount of time. This could help you learn to limit distractions, prioritise the important stuff and be more focused and efficient at work.
4. It boosts your mental health
According to MemorialCare, creative projects could boost your brain and mental health and help increase problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Being creative stimulates both the right and left sides of the brain. For instance, drawing could stimulate your hand-eye coordination, while dancing and playing an instrument could improve your memory.
5. It increases productivity
You decide your deadlines and direction, so you’ll need to employ your intrinsic motivation to keep going. Constantly keeping yourself motivated and being your own source of inspiration could result in higher levels of productivity, not only with your passion projects, but also in a professional capacity.
Good to know
Now that you know the benefits, you may be raring to go. However, check your company policies first. Some companies strictly advise against starting any profit-generating projects while you are in their employ. Make sure you read your contract, talk to your supervisor and check in with the HR manager to confirm you aren’t violating any company regulations.
Resources to get started:
- Podcast: Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert is an interview series during which the author speaks to guests who have mastered the creative process.
- App: Brainsparker is an app that provides daily prompts to ignite creativity.
- Free course: Skillshare helps you find new passions or sharpen existing skills.
- YouTube channel: TED Talks, also available as an app, are motivational talks from creatives, designed to inspire and motivate.
For more advice related to mental health, read these helpful articles:
For confidential assistance, contact Life EHS; SMS your name to 31581 and the Care Centre will call you back.
The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a legal professional. E&OE.
- Ferrante, A. (n.d.). 7 Ways Creativity Boosts Your Mental and Physical Health. [online] MemorialCare. Available at: https://www.memorialcare.org/blog/7-ways-creativity-boosts-your-mental-and-physical-health [Accessed 13 June 2021]
- Lighthouse. (n.d.). Why You Want Your Employees to Have Side Projects. [online] Available at: https://getlighthouse.com/blog/employees-side-projects-value/ [Accessed 13 June 2021]
- Tank, A. (2018). Keep Your Day Job But Everyone Needs a Side Project. [online] Entrepreneur South Africa. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/315209 [Accessed 13 June 2021]
- Lee, K. (2014). The Psychology of Side Projects: How Creative Projects Improve Our Performance at Everything. [online] Buffer Stories. Available at: https://stories.buffer.com/the-psychology-of-side-projects-how-creative-projects-improve-our-performance-at-everything-76d8a5172b12 [Accessed 13 June 2021]
- Gilkey, C. (2019). 5 Reasons Employee Side Projects Are a Surprisingly Good Thing. [online] Ladders. Available at: https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/side-projects-are-a-good-thing-for-employees [Accessed 13 June 2021]
- Bowman, A. (2018). Why Side Projects Are Important (and How You Can Get Started). [online] crowdspring. Available at: https://www.crowdspring.com/blog/power-of-side-projects-entrepreneurs-small-business/ [Accessed 13 June 2021]
- Johnson, E.B. (2020). How to Effectively Use Escapism in the Age of Social Distancing. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/lady-vivra/escapism-in-the-age-of-social-distancing-9b4f6bfb2b74 [Accessed 14 June 2021]