Daisy Huang, is part of OMD Sydney’s Strategy Division.
Look, I’ll be honest, I’m going to preface this article with a warning that you probably aren’t going to learn about upcoming trends and cool marketing things. What you WILL learn though, is hopefully something that will give you a new perspective on non-work-work. And that I use a lot of brackets. If this sounds at all intriguing, keep reading.
What I want to talk about are hobbies, and hopefully give you a keyhole look into how hobbies can actually be catalysts to making ourselves better at our jobs. You may have even heard the saying, that which does not kill us, makes us stronger – and yes, a classic, a cliché, a-nnoying to hear thrown in yet another convoluted inspirational chat in a distasteful attempt to sound more tasteful – but, maybe you haven’t thought about it in the context of work performance and growth. The reason why I’ve chosen this Nietzsche quote, is that I know you’re all thinking – HOBBIES, YOU MEAN LIKE… DRINKING? (Kept PG for SFW purposes). No, I don’t mean drinking – although you could argue drinking in media = networking = better, but let’s not go down that route. Your non-self-damaging hobbies, that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
I’m an advocate for switching off from work when not working (guys, get on the crossword at lunch train). In my time working, I’ve met an assortment of people with an assortment of hobbies (that’s two assortments, so it must be a lot) who might not have realised how having fun switching off is actually helping them switch on.
(accurate image of me)
Let’s take my very real friend Saidy, for example. She works in advertising. She likes writing. But what took young Saidy some time to realise is how writing was unintentionally helping her produce and present an idea better, giving it that extra edge and point of difference. In the world of media, where everything is a sell-in, pitching has more and more become the art of storytelling, and if you can get your pitch-ee (not a real word, but that’s okay – it’s a contemporary writing thing, Saidy told me) (it’s not and she didn’t) involved and engrossed in your story, you’re already partially there. Reel them in, give them a start, a problem, a solution, a nice neatly wrapped ending. Leave them with a satisfied smile on their face. But maybe stray away from the Hemingway “iceberg” attitude – that may not go down so well. In the same way, brand storytelling has increasingly become vital to engaging with customers, and with the likes of content marketing and social media opening up brands to a wealth of platforms to achieve this better, writing has and will continue to be vital in the world of marketing.
Next, let’s take person X who likes making music – the skills they get in mixing and overlaying sounds and tracks (probably not technically accurate terminology) might seem irrelevant, but in doing so they learn how to find and marry bits and pieces together in search of synergy to ultimately create one cohesive and better piece of work. They make things work. They know what sounds better together than on its own. Sounds like a stretch, I know. But hear me out…
Third example – sport. Here, you of course learn team work. Beyond that though, you also begin cultivating skills of identifying individual strengths to amplify, and weaknesses to build upon. This works in both a people sense in building and managing your team (don’t forget, upwards managing is a thing too!), and in producing work – knowing what bits to really bring out to work in your favour, and what bits to maybe go out and Google for a little longer.
Someone once told me that through immense struggles and mind blanks in a brief response, they went for a surf one morning and came out the other end with the idea of approaching the brief with the mindset of surfing through a barrel – you need to scope out the perfect wave (give time to finding that key insight), have confidence (in what you find), you need the right board (format to lay it all out), you need to hold tight (don’t lose sight of the main objective), and finally, you need to know just the right moment to eject (late enough to give them what they want, early enough not to bore them).
When you read, regardless of whether or not you’re reading industry relevant articles – and I actually encourage you to put this lens on things that are seemingly unrelated to work – you give yourself millions of glimpses into the extent of the creative world, paving way to the ever-growing need for great content (not to be confused with plentiful content), ideation and alternative ways of thinking.
Love yoga? You learn focus, positivity and the ability to de-stress – invaluable skills that support personal growth and the very base layer of great work (you).
Photography? Perspective. The importance of different angles, ways in and understanding how this can impact the end result, what you show people and how they see it.
The Golden Key to Strategy’ by Gary Gagliardi
I could go on, but unknowingly having these hobbies impact your performance and growth is only half the point. The second half (two halves make a whole, so I promise I’m almost done) is being able to knowingly have these impacts your performance and growth. So, next time you’re stuck, looking for inspiration, trying to nail a brief, or just straight up looking for a better time at work – think of what you love doing, maybe it’ll give you a different outlook. Or ask me, maybe I can help (hey, It’s Daisy by the way – don’t you hate looking for the writer or date of an article? Because you don’t know if it’ll be at the top, or bottom, left or right, or non-existent? Same).
And remember, this isn’t about bringing work into your fun time, it’s about bringing fun into your work time.