So much of the focus on work performance is based on practices, habits and ideas for within the workplace – things such as corporate team building, health and safety improvements, and fair workplace guidelines.
It’s naïve to assume that what happens outside of the workplace has no effect on your work, and vice versa. Yet when there are only 168 hours in a week, and when most workers will spend at least 40 of those at work, the correlation between time spent on the job and time spent in your free time becomes clearer.
There are a number of things that, in doing them during your free time, will not just be extremely rewarding in terms of your personal life, but can have a great impact on your work life, too.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore” – Andre Gide.
Getting out from our own corners of the world to discover new places, people and cultures, has no competition when it comes to self-discovery. It forces you out of your comfort zone and gives you no choice but to tackle new challenges every day. It gives you a greater understanding of other people through awareness of different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. It helps you put things in perspective due to the sheer size of the world and the big issues facing humans compared to the day-to-day office politics that occur in any workplace. It makes you appreciate the things you take for granted at home, such as clean drinking water from the tap and reliable Internet connections.
Travel can do so much for you personally, but all of the incredible benefits mentioned above can do wonders for your outlook on your career as well. Not to mention, a holiday spent travelling is one you can return from feeling relaxed, refreshed, and re-energised to throw yourself back into the job.
Whether you exercise in your own time for the social aspects of a team sport, in order to keep fit and healthy, or simply to take your dog out for a walk, the physical act of vigorous movement can do much and more for your worklife.
Exercise is a great way to help the body fight off infections and diseases. While this is obviously beneficial for your home life, it can help ensure you don’t lose productivity or focus while at work. It’s a proven way to beat stress and, therefore, be better prepared mentally to go into work each day and tackle projects. It boosts your energy, your mood, and helps you sleep better at night, all of which are vital components to performing well in any workplace. Not to mention, exercise helps improve your memory, which will help you remember where you left your keys just as it will remind you about project details and client preferences on the job.
After we leave high school, university, or other formal training and education centres, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of learning. You may acquire further training on the job, but many people will stop formal education once they begin a full-time career.
For those who continue with their education, be it taking up guitar lessons, learning a new language or going to cooking classes, there can be a plethora of benefits for the workplace, too.
Learning something new in adulthood is one of just three ways the brain is capable of reorganising itself in a phenomenon known as ‘neuroplasticity’. The only other times this happens is at the very beginning of life and in the case of brain injury. It means that the brain creates new connections, and it means that when you become an expert in an area, that section of your brain can actually grow. So for musicians, this could mean a greater skill in areas of your motor regions, your inferior temporal areas and anterior superior parietal areas.
A healthy diet is often linked to keeping in shape, losing weight or putting on muscle. Of course, the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients of good food sources can do much more for you than just slim you down or tone you up.
You can just about guarantee that by eating fruits, vegetables, whole grain sources and quality protein, you’ll gain valuable nutrients, but in particular, consider adding more of these essentials to your diet.
Omega 3, which can be found in oily fish sources such as salmon, is good for your heart health and can greatly boost general brain function, including your memory skills.
Keep an eye out for food sources rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries and other fruits and vegetables, as these substances have been linked to the delay and prevention of several types of cell damage within the body.
Volunteering during your down time is an admirable and beneficial activity. According to Volunteering Australia, just over a third (36.2 per cent) of people had participated in informal volunteering in 2010, and 19.4 per cent of Australians had taken part in formal volunteering practices.
Those who already volunteer know how the experience can boost their own confidence from knowing they are helping others, how it can add experience and skills to their repertoire, and how it can introduce them to new ways of thinking and different experiences.
Plus, if you are looking to apply for a new job, there are many recruiters and hiring managers who look for such experience on a CV, and you may even meet new contacts that could set you up in a new role.
There is no doubt that volunteering, along with eating well, travelling, learning, and exercising can be beneficial within your career as well as out of it, with each experience offering something unique to your job. On top of all of this, each one also helps you simply enjoy a strong work-life balance that is so vital for enjoying the time you spend both at work and at home.