Continued from yesterday
5. Leisure and Hobbies
I think for most people imagining themselves as productive machines, their idealized self isn’t actively engaging in lots of leisure. Again, though, self-knowledge is key. Some people spend far too much time on video games, but plenty of others work hard so they can enjoy an hour or two of gaming a day.
Generally speaking, if I totally avoid leisure activities I suffer mentally and emotionally. I need a certain amount of downtime to flourish, and If I don’t get it I find it is very difficult for me to be happy creating.
At the same time, I also think the consumption of art, which can include leisure activities like reading, is fundamental to keeping the creative well filled.
So, don’t make the mistake of trying to schedule out all fun from your day in hopes you will be more productive. Chances are you won’t make as much progress as you wish and you will get burned out that much faster.
Some people also have serious hobbies that occupy a central role in their lives. This can be something like playing Dungeons or Dragons, or golfing. To me, a hobby is different than a purposeful activity, because a hobby you do for personal enjoyment, whereas the creation of art is done for both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons related to completion and transmission of a product.
Nevertheless, some people take their Warhammer, or their Magic the Gathering, or their golf game very seriously.
My general caution regarding hobbies of this sort is that they tend to act as a proxy for life output, and thus make you feel like you are being productive when you are really just engaging in leisure.
It feels good to get Gladiator or Grand Marshall in World of Warcraft, but did the time spent reaching that pinnacle actually net you anything real and lasting? I could honestly say the same about your golf game, but we are trained to think of things like golf as being fundamentally different than video games, when the two activities, when judging outputs, aren’t much different.
In my opinion and experience, hobbies are something that should be put in significant check if you want to be making gains in your creative output. You can have one, but more than that is going suck up your time (and possibly your paycheck) in a big way.
Choose wisely what you do in your downtime, because putting limitations on leisure is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your output is consistent. Make time for your games – the amount of time you need to relax and enjoy the activity, but only spend the time you make.
Leisure is also one of the things that you have to let go of in a pinch, so be ready to let it go when a deadline looms. At the same time, it’s one of the things you should allow yourself under regular conditions.
I also make music: