I’ve become a bit of an overzealous project completer these days. Likely this is due to the fact that I feel the need to overcome the procrastinations and repeated dead-ends and failures of the past. No matter what is causing it, I’m really enjoying the raised eyebrows and funny looks that embarking—and achieving—a diverse set of projects brings to my line of sight.
I’m not complaining. as a marketing professor, I have absolutely no business embarking on the strange and diverse array of projects that I’ve selected. At 35 years old and established within the business technology and marketing fields, what do I have any business doing creating my first musical album? Why should I be spending time with digital canvas and painting tools? And getting into software to help make video games in a genre in which I’ve never been particularly interested (I think I have a new perspective to add, however)? No, that certainly can’t be for me. But it is!
Now, mind you, I’m not going overboard with these pursuits. I don’t think that I’m going to change entire disciplines or fields and become an artist or drop out of society or something that would be silly given my personality. Instead, I’m trying to reduce my stress, broaden my horizons, and be even more efficient at my core proficiencies. Yes, efficiencies of proficiencies. Who knew that I could make artistic pursuits boring in the long run?
What I’ve found is that I feel like more of a complete person because of these projects, and I sense that I’m better at my job as a result. I feel like the world is both larger and smaller at the same time. I see more opportunity in front of me, and less failure behind me. Or rather, failure is re-imagined as more constructive experiences such as learning.
I really recommend that you, the astute business person, take time to check out. My version of checking out is not just to go home at night, and not a mere recommendation for vacation. I suggest that you take a serious amount of time to think about various projects you can incorporate into your work week that—while seemingly completely unrelated to your required tasks—actually help you improve your performance where it matters the most.
- Try artistic pursuits if you burn out from repetition easily
- Try building technical knowledge if you feel underemployed
- Try starting your own venture, project, or team if you feel a lack of influence
Let’s stop thinking of mildly unrelated tasks at work as goofing off. Instead, let’s create a new understanding that work hobbies are productive and cost effective.