Separating our leisure time and our professional time can often mean either indulging in hobbies that negatively affect our work performance or being unable to enjoy an activity without it being dictated by our workaholic nature. Everyone knows that down-time from work is absolutely vital to continuing productivity and personal happiness, but advancing in our careers often means carrying the concerns of  work on our backs almost 24/7. Well, rest assured, there are a few recreational activities out there that you can enjoy guilt-free, because they actually help to make you a better employee, all while you’re laughing or getting fit or seeing the world


The mind is a muscle, and reading is its barbell. Nothing is more important to being an effective employee than having and maintaining sharp mental faculties, and reading is the shortest path to that maintenance. Not only does reading keep your mind sharp and agile, but it also improves your vocabulary, grammar and communication skills by consistently exposing you to language and the different ways that language functions. So keep the pages turning, and watch your performance at work creep on up


Journaling at the end of each work day is one of the best ways to express your deepest work concerns, fears and triumphs without offending or alienating anyone in the process. Spending just five minutes in the evening making lists or bullet points of what you feel you succeeded at during the work day and what you would like to improve can concentrate your motivations and help you materialize any underlying issues you may have with your work performance. A personal outlet for your frustrations and concerns can do wonders for your perspective when you head back to the office in the morning


Anyone who has problems following directions and reading carefully knows what a disaster cooking can be; therein lies the exact way that cooking often can do a dramatic service to your work life. Not only trying out recipes and creating meals on a regular basis teach you to follow directions carefully but it also teaches you to be patient, especially when you’re hungry and eating the food before it’s done is super tempting. But like undercooked food, impatience in the workplace can often lead to a bad taste in your mouth and less-than-desirable results.


Exercising regularly requires a discipline and self-motivation that can only do fabulous things for your on-the-clock hours. The same drive to get you out in the cold every morning for that mile long jog is the same drive that gets you to work, meetings and professional functions on time and with a smile on your face. The idea that not at all rewards can or should be instantaneous is a wonderful lesson that translates from exercise to work and back. Not to mention the physical bonuses of staying fit: exercise will help you be less tired, have more energy and generally feel better throughout your day which translate to a bump in your work performance. Who knew


Chances are that in the places where you’ve worked in the past, you could discriminate between a well-traveled co-worker and a not-so-well-traveled co-worker. That’s because people who travel are generally more flexible and easier to get along with than people who have rarely traveled out of their domicile. Travel requires a level of malleability and tolerance that can only be rivaled by what is needed in a close-quarters working environment, not to mention that well-traveled people often have better stories and are generally more interesting which is always a welcome wrench in the workplace monotony gearhead.


Image Credit: © Macsuga | Dreamstime Stock Photos &Stock Free Images