The Work-Related Benefits of Hobbies for Employees Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired

A little about me: I am a wife, the mom of two very spirited preschool girls, a teacher of students with visual impairments, and an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. My hobbies, you ask? In addition to simply being around my beloved family, I delight in photography, reading fiction and non-fiction alike, watching movies, and practicing my newest hobby–woodworking.

Now about my hobbies: I find myself thinking several of them are wastes of time. “Should I really be walking the neighborhood taking pictures of flowers? Wouldn’t it be wiser to focus my attention on something productive?” The answer: “Hmm, maybe not.”

Of course we should not prioritize hobbies over family and work responsibilities. I think that goes without saying. However, I’ve come to realize hobbies are far from wastes of time. In fact, hobbies add value to our whole selves, including providing specific work-related benefits.

Listen to the work-related benefits of hobbies I’ve recognized over the years:

  • Hobbies teach us about ourselves. Dabbling in hobbies reveals personal interests, aptitudes, and weaknesses. This information is not only useful for choosing a career field, but also for customizing jobs for our success. If you are curious to review jobs that match your hobbies, use AFB CareerConnect’s tool to browse jobs by interest.
  • The ongoing pursuit of hobbies reveals our ability to accomplish a great deal if we continue practicing instead of abandoning our goals. This is learned as we observe our talents and skills emerging and developing.
  • Time spent engaging in a hobby can recharge our energy, improving our concentration and attention on the job.
  • Hobbies can decrease our work-related stress, enhancing our moods and mental health on and off the job.
  • Time spent engaging in a creative hobby can help us think and problem-solve more creatively on the job.
  • We can grow our social network by meeting individuals through participation in a hobby-club.
  • Hobbies increase our value on the job by improving specific hard and soft skills. Examples include improving social and communication skills, reading comprehension and speed, typing accuracy, creativity, decision-making capabilities, self-confidence, physical fitness and stamina, organizational skills, persistence, and on and on and on.
  • We often bond well to coworkers who share our hobbies. A mutual hobby fosters relationships as we either engage in the hobby with a coworker or simply have conversations about the hobby. Have you ever noticed how excited and connected people are when talking about their mutual-favorite television show? I often want to start a new TV series just to join in the conversation and see what all the hype is about…hence my Downton Abby addiction.

Those are my insights and opinions. If you prefer the insight of research studies, know that The Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology published a study revealing creative hobbies increase several aspects of job-performance.

So there you have it. Don’t hold back on the pursuit of hobbies! You will not be wasting your time in the least.

Did you check out the first video in this series? Check out The Pursuit of Hobbies As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired.