Get Some Side Action in 2016

By Rob Johnson

01/20/16

I resolve to get more side action—creative side action. Get your mind out of the gutter. The only midnight rendezvous I’m planning is with some new creative side projects and hobbies away from the work I do for a living.

The benefits of creative side projects and hobbies are plentiful for those in any field. But I believe it to be especially beneficial for those in the creative industry. It allows a person to concentrate on something other than the day-to-day demands of the job and think in entirely different ways. This mental “recovery” from our daily work lives is key, according to psychologists, and as I stated in a previous blog, oftentimes we are blindsided by a brilliant work idea when we are thinking or doing something completely unrelated.

Research backs this up.

A recent study headed by San Francisco State psychology professor Dr. Kevin Eschleman found that people who have a creative hobby outside work may find it increases their work performance.

READ: Benefiting from Creative Activity: The positive relationships between creative activity, recovery experiences, and performance-related outcomes

The results showed that those who had a creative hobby or project were more likely to feel relaxed outside work and to feel greater control and a sense of mastery. In turn, those with a creative hobby were more likely to be helpful, creative, and perform better at work. Statistical analysis suggested that the better job performance was partly a result of a greater sense of mastery and control during off-time.

Said Eschleman: “The results indicate that organizations may benefit from encouraging employees to consider creative activities in their efforts to recover from work. Creative activities are likely to provide valuable experiences of mastery and control, but may also provide employees experiences of discovery that uniquely influence performance-related outcomes.”


The famous and now extinct 80/20 policy at Google was a shining example of this. As Google has grown it has been modified into a more strategic top-down innovation process but the principals of the original concept, allowing employees to spend 20 percent of their time on their own ideas, were a building block to some of Google’s most innovative and lucrative advances.

So as we venture into the new year, go ahead and start getting some on the side. Pick up that camera or paint brush, start that new creative writing blog or take that cooking class you’ve been lusting over. It might not only make you feel more personally fulfilled, but could also increase your productivity and idea generation at work.

Who knows, it may even lead to a new innovation for your company or a new career for yourself. Happy New Year!