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Don’t Drop That Hobby — It Could Make You More Productive

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.34.16 PMHobbies can be a double-edged sword. You’re always trying to carve out more time for them but then when you actually do them — you feel like you should be doing something else to stay productive. What’s the fun in that?

Well here’s some good news. Did you know that your favorite distraction could actually be boosting your productivity? It’s true – here’s a list of some popular hobbies that will build up your mind and muscles to help you get things done!

List-making: Yes! List making is a hobby. Organizing everything into lists is a great way to get all of your thoughts out. This will also prepare you for things you want to get done. As I mentioned in my book, “Listful Thinking” many celebrities reached their level of success by making lists. A few of these people include Richard Branson, Octavia Spencer, Bobby Flay, Heidi Klum, and Sandra Bullock!

Exercising: There are countless ways to get your body moving. Recently, a friend of mine was talking about how she wanted to start being healthy, but she didn’t know where to start. Starting small is the way to go, before you can move onto anything else.

If you live in a big city like I do, you’re already getting a ton of walking in! Some of my other personal favorites include hiking, swimming, and dancing. Physical activity releases endorphins in your brain which gives you that feel-good sensation.

Writing: Write, type, record– anything! Get your thoughts out of your head and express yourself for at least 10 minutes a day. Turn it into a book or just throw it away. Writing in your spare time is a perfect place to channel your energy. This will get your creative juices flowing. I’ve found that once you make a habit of something – even just writing an idea down once a day- it will become so much easier to do on demand.

Art: Whether it’s painting a picture, doodling on your notebook or sculpting some play-doh, creating something is one of the best ways to calm your mind. This is one of those hobbies that are great for thinking outside of the box and getting in touch with your creative side. *

Listening to music: Music can increase your productivity in two different ways. If you’re trying to clear your head, put together a relaxing playlist. If you’re trying to get motivated, knock out your to-do’s with an inspirational playlist.

Puzzles: Challenge your mind with a puzzle. This will put your brain to work and help you improve your problem solving skills. People who solve puzzles are more likely to creatively assess problems in their lives.

Meditation/Yoga: This is perfect for you if you are overstressed and desperately need a release. Practicing meditation and yoga will put your focus back in check, calm your nerves and clear your mind. It’s also important to pay attention when you’re doing one pose at a time. This is great practice for when you’re working on only one task at a time.

Reading: Reading is a great pastime to open yourself to new ideas and take you to new places. So pick up a new book or listen to a podcast! Read something you wouldn’t typically read and try out authors you’ve never heard of. This is the best way to sharpen your mind and learn new things. This will help you think quicker on your feet. Something we could all do when trying to be more efficient.

How does your hobby make you more productive?

Crafty Book Uses Lists to Learn about You

Declaration of You

I’m not a particularly crafty person, but enjoyed the creative, artistic aspects of The Declaration of You, written by creativity experts and fellow bloggers Jessica Swift and Michelle Ward.

As the title claims, this book is all about embracing every aspect of your personality and openly acknowledging all your positive attributes. The best part is, this book uses lists to help get you there!

The Declaration of You is divided into 8 different sections, each devoted to a differently-themed declaration. As the authors explain the importance of each declaration, they prompt their readers to develop lists about themselves, such as “Things I Might Want to Try.”

True to their creative ways, Jessica and Michelle include a craft project in each of the sections, but don’t get scared off! These projects are simple and fun. The first project is even a vision board — much like the one I make every New Year.

Through crafts and lists alike, The Declaration of You encourages its readers to begin some self-reflection and discover new aspects of themselves. If you want to hear more, check out their website and begin your declaration. Who knows what you might find?

Machine Recreates Endless To-Do Lists

Courtesy: Chris Eckert

Think your to-do list is never ending? There is a machine out there that frantically writes endless to-do lists! California artist Chris Eckert modeled it after his own to-do lists. He said on his website that he runs from, “one urgent task to the next and…new tasks are added faster than I can check completed items. My list grows longer and faster the harder I work.” Sound familiar?

His out-of-control list was his inspiration for this mechanical sculpture called “ToDo.” The items on the list that the machine jots down include chores from Eckert’s actual to-do list like, “gift for Troy” and “buy milk.”

Courtesy: Chris Eckert

Each appears as a ballpoint pen rolls over cash register receipt-like paper. It is programmed to write in Eckert’s actual handwriting too. The order of the chores is chosen at random and the same list will never repeat. Pretty genius, huh? Although a lot of us have recurring items on our own to-do lists.

The constantly running to-do list fills inch after inch of paper and eventually ends up in piles on the floor. I think we can all relate to this – with our stacks of papers and desks filled with Post-It notes!

It will be on display as part of the Annual Art Exhibition and Auction for the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art from September 24th through October 22nd 2011, but you can get a sneak peek by clicking on the video below.