Have you heard the old proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” or worse yet, heard it said about you? If so, you might be spending too much time at work and not enough time playing. Without time off from work, people can become both bored and boring.
Even the most successful and productive people make outside interests a priority. So what do they do that you can do too? Here’s a list.
1. They get outside.
Breathing in the fresh air of nature can be regenerative after a long day in the office. Stretch your legs and your senses by drinking in the healing properties nature provides. It’s not natural to sit all day under fluorescent lights. And it’s not ideal.
Find time to get your mind off of work and engage in an outdoor passion, like fishing, hiking, birdwatching, surfing or skiing. Such extracurricular activities help you gain new perspective on life. Even an activity as small as a lunch hour walk can create healthy benefits.
2. They get physical.
Our bodies aren’t meant to sit all day and hunching over a computer all day long has no health benefits. According the Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic, sitting is the new smoking.
Find a gym, buy a treadmill or form an in-home exercise routine. Find at least ten minutes every day to stretch or do some yoga. There are a lot of websites that offer low-cost monthly memberships for people who want to live a healthier life. The movement will strengthen your both your body and your mind.
3. They break routine.
Doing the same thing, day after day, can never stimulate the creative person that lurks inside each of us. Put yourself in a new environment, try a new skill or visit an intriguing destination. In order to maintain a fresh perspective and cultivate your curiosity, you must experience new things. You’ll not only expand your interests, you’ll become a more interesting person -- an appealing trait to those who want to move up the ladder.
4. They give back.
You’ll often find CEOs and company presidents among the volunteers or on the boards of various charitable organizations. If you want to rub elbows with community leaders, look for opportunities to help others. You’ll feel good about your contribution and gain popularity as a team player.
5. They stay curious.
The most interesting people consider ongoing learning essential to their lives. Whether through classroom-style or experiential learning, you’ll find the top achievers expanding their skills. Take an art class, learn to write or take up photography. You never know when that new skill will come into play at work, or become another revenue stream for you.
6. They cultivate friendships.
Leaders aren’t always found in the office. They’re out building relationships with others -- relationships that can help their respective businesses grow. And they don’t want shallow connections, they take the time to build deep bonds among those they admire and respect. Share a meal, invite a colleague to a business or charity event, or take the team to a cultural or sporting event. Each time you get together, you deepen the association.
7. They stay connected with family.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but real leaders make time for the people they love. Don’t be the person who can’t seem to find time to attend family events. Put family first!
8. They take time off.
Leaders know the value of time away, and use that time to unplug and unwind, reconnect and rejuvenate. Be sure to plan a significant chunk of time to get away from work, like a week or two at a time, and put yourself in a new environment to mix up your usual routine and keep life interesting.
You’ll never hear a leader described as a “couch potato.” To be more like a leader, get up, get out -- and get going.