Not long ago, I was on the bus listening to my audio book “100 great businesses and the minds behind them”. The person sitting next to me, oblivious to the headphones in my ears, struck up a conversation with me. I politely responded to his questions, while still trying to listen to my audio book with only one headphone, until he asked me this simple question: “Do you have a hobby?”.

I wasn’t able to respond immediately with one of those mindless stock answers. I hit the pause button on my iPod and racked my brain to try and think of what hobby I had. Does running a business count as a hobby? To avoid the embarrassment of responding “you know what, I don’t think I actually have a hobby”, I mumbled “hiking”, knowing fully well my hiking boots have been gathering dust in my garage and haven’t been worn since my trek in Nepal two years ago.

That simple question asked on the bus stuck with me. Or more so, the fact that I don’t have a hobby stuck with me.

I had come to a startling realisation that I did nothing other than work. All my time was spend working, writing, reading, listening and researching all that I could about business. I had no down time. I spent no time on any activities just for fun. And that surprisingly really bothered me!

I started writing lists of potential hobbies. I would scribble something down and then cross it out again. I mean who am I going to speak Italian with anyway, I don’t know any Italians. Sky diving … seriously who in their right mind jumps OUT of a plane 3,000m from the ground? And I’m not sure the neighbours wouldn’t appreciate me trying to master playing the violin.

I was just about to give up on acquiring a hobby, that was until I entered a competition to win KitchenAid that was run by my local shopping centre and actually won.

Baking has become my new hobby.

For the first time in a very long time, I have an activity that I do just for the fun of it. I find it relaxing, it is a creative outlet for me and I love the pleasure that a little baked treat can bring someone and how they cannot stop at just one Madeleine, banana and Nutella muffin or ninja bread man (no it’s not a spelling mistake I really did make ninja bread men).

I never quite realised the importance of having time off from my business to do something purely for my own enjoyment.

These are the 10 benefits I have found from my newfound hobby:

  1. Clears your mind
  2. Helps you refocus
  3. Relaxation
  4. Feel energised and enthused
  5. Personal recharge/reboot
  6. Inspires creativity
  7. Mental restoration
  8. Regain perspective
  9. Time for reflection
  10. Increase in positive emotions

Do you have a hobby? What benefits do you get from having time out from your business?