Running your own business is challenging. It’s a never-ending commitment that’s time-consuming and exhausting. It’s also a total blast. The thrill (and sometimes relief) of landing a new contract, being recognized as an innovator by your peers, and finally feeling like you’ve made it can’t be matched.

How do you stay fresh over the years? Keeping afloat, dealing with staffing issues, staying ahead of the competition, and adjusting to constant change make entrepreneurship an environment where burnout and complacency come easily. The adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” means doing the same thing the same way because it’s always worked in the past, and it seems like too much work to change it. This philosophy can narrow our problem-solving skills, limit possibilities, and impact the effectiveness of our decisions when resistance to a needed change is involved.

An easy way to shake things up and benefit your business is to get a new hobby. If you’re questioning the sanity of this suggestion when trying to find the time to do anything unrelated to work seems impossible, then all the more reason to start.

One caveat here: pursuits such as hiking, skiing, and running are invaluable when it comes to maintaining physical well-being and a fantastic way to work off stress. Kudos if you’re already biking, skating, snowshoeing, or rock climbing! Now, consider adding a creative hobby to your arsenal of wellness practices.

Long recognized as a way to develop new neuron pathways, working with your hands has multiple benefits. The satisfaction of saying “I made this” is immense in an increasingly online, intangible, and momentary world. Slowing down to learn a new technique, practice it, and eventually build those skills into a tactile piece of work is a visible, touchable accomplishment.

Creative pursuits abound – choose something not directly connected to your business. Deciding to learn bookkeeping to save money isn’t a hobby. Instead, try photography, woodworking, breadmaking, blogging, eco-gardening, or one of a myriad of fibre arts. Beware the trap of thinking you can’t do something – this is especially prevalent when learning to paint or draw. Your goal is to express yourself, learn something new, and challenge yourself, not show a masterpiece in a gallery by next year. Stick figures are underrated! If you can’t fit in a course, turn to online resources. Thousands of free instructional videos and lessons are waiting for you. Plus, you can dip in and out as your time permits. Remember, you don’t necessarily need a big block of time to work on a creative project. Even a few minutes every day will eventually produce results. It’s a much more productive use of time than endless scrolling and zoning out.

The point is to try something different from your usual activities and take a break from your usual
thoughts. Working your brain in new ways helps develop perspective, improve decision-making skills, rediscover a zest for life, and expand your capacity – all transferrable attributes to your business.

Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.

Dale Carnegie