Research shows that some of the most successful and productive employees are also the ones who have hobbies that help them relax and refresh their minds. Using your creative thinking in practical ways is important, and having a hobby is a great way to do so. Even if you do not have a specific task in mind, you can develop new skills and techniques by participating in a creative hobby.

Having a creative hobby can also improve your performance and problem-solving skills. A study at San Francisco State University found that people who engaged in creative activities scored higher on tests and were more likely to find innovative solutions to problems.

Here are eight hobbies that can make assistants more productive and enhance their performance.

  1. Puzzle games– Puzzles games have been linked to building problem-solving skills and contributing to an overall sense of well-being and happiness. Puzzles offer a challenge and promote cognitive development, which can make you think more critically and creatively. Games like Sudoku, Crosswords and Mahjong require deep concentration and patience, making them great hobbies for assistants to stay sharp on the job.
  1. Video games: Surprised? Video games like Tetris and Super Mario Brothers challenge players to decide in a limited amount of time and under pressure. Inadvertently, over time players hone the skill to decide quickly under pressure.
  1. Chess: While not everyone may have the time or patience to learn how to play chess, those who do quickly gain a sense of patience and focus that can help with daily tasks. Chess teaches you how to plan and think strategically. In chess, as in life, there are short-term rewards for planning and for taking risks.
  1. Reading: The benefits of reading are endless, from improved vocabulary to gaining a better understanding of self and others. Reading can also help your brain stay young. A study conducted at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta found that people who frequently read for pleasure have greater stimulation of their brains by new words and concepts. In addition, reading boosts empathy and emotional intelligence.
  1. Writing: One of the most important tasks for assistants is to write, besides their daily notes, memos, and emails. Writing is a great way to let everything go via journaling or writing out all your thoughts rather than keeping them tucked inside. It also helps you find clarity by externalizing thoughts.
  1. Cooking: Cooking helps you think through problems and decisions, especially for creative recipes or complicated dishes. It also requires you to do repetitive tasks quickly and carefully, similar to typing or other clerical work. Not only that, but research shows that cooking is good for your mental health because of the social aspect involved.
  1. Learning a new language: Learning a new language can help make you more perceptive of your surroundings. Knowing multiple languages can also increase brain power and intellectual flexibility. Plus, learning another language gives you an insight into cultural differences and how people think about the world.
  1. Art: Research conducted by the Department of Psychology at Harvard University found that students who studied music scored higher on verbal and reasoning tests than students majoring in other subjects. Similarly, a recent study revealed that studying art helped improve critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity skills. Whilst not everyone can be a Davinci or Monet, all it takes is some creativity and imagination to add a splash of colour into your work. Artistic hobbies help you relax and release tension in your mind. It can also be used as a stress reliever when waiting for the printer to finish printing out that 40-page report.

Aside from the obvious benefits of being a more creative person, having a hobby will improve your productivity. An assistant’s productivity is often greatly reduced by intellectual roadblocks. In contrast, a person who enjoys working on a hobby can become more creative. Having an enjoyable hobby will boost your self-esteem and improve your productivity levels.

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