With the daily routine of work sometimes feeling overwhelming, increasingly more of us are choosing to spend our downtime on activities that not only give us a sense of personal achievement but also enhance our working lives. With the lines between work and life blurring more than ever before, many are embracing a hybrid-approach to life – taking up an out of work project to feel more creative and inspired. Having a side interest can be absolutely anything from volunteering for a charity, starting a blog, learning upholstery, taking up yoga. You name it, you can do it.
Capturing the zeitgeist perfectly, Emma Gannon, a podcaster, writer, social media editor and author of The Multi-Hyphen Method: Work Less, Create More And Design A Career That Works For You, says: “Really, time to ourselves should be normalised, especially in an always-on, always-busy, burn-out culture. I’m more than one ‘impressive’ job title. We are all more than that.”
Eight years ago, Emma started her blog because she needed to find an outlet for all of her creative ideas. The skills she learnt through this project (basic coding, analytics, design) were all learnt outside of her then-job and gave her the confidence to redesign what she wanted from work.
Some may make a little extra income from our passion project or even turn it into a start-up, and that’s great, but for most of us carving out time to do something we love simply has enormous benefits including boosting mental health and meeting new people. Embracing a new project can help build a new network of support with people who share the same passion and give us increased fulfilment in our entire lives. Surrounding yourself with the right support for advice and motivation and it can propel you forward.
Here are some other ways your personal project or side-hustle can inspire you in your day job.
Teaching time management
While using work time for your side project is a real no no, feeling invested in your side-hustle does motivate you to get things done faster and more efficiently at work. That doesn’t mean cutting corners, but simply using your time productively.
Sarah Thackeray is an auditor for a pharmaceutical company but on the journey home from work, she switches off from spreadsheets and financial reports and thinks of the painting she wants to complete this evening. “I’m literally itching to get cracking,” she says. “I love being totally immersed in something creative and I think it’s had huge benefits for calming me down.” Impressed by her can-do attitude at work, her company have just promoted her.
Learning new skills
For many of us, where we will be in five years or what lies ahead in our careers is constantly evolving. And by living a hybrid life not only are you learning new skills, but you are able to offer more to develop work roles and employers.
Journalist Becky Dickinson has achieved a writer’s holy grail with a newly published book. She started growing organic vegetables 11 years ago, never imagining that her passion for fresh veg would grow into a book, How to Grow and Eat Your Own Superfoods. Concerned about air miles, supermarket vegetables sweating in their plastic packages and wanting to feed her children healthily, she started experimenting with planting seeds and harvesting tasty produce and now has a new string to her bow as an expert on sustainable living.
Increasing confidence and energy
Heidi Scrimgeour’s side-hustle is a media training consultancy. “We create and co-deliver online courses for freelance writers who want to polish up their pitches and generally be more kickass, as well as bespoke media training for small to medium businesses,” explains freelance writer Heidi.
“I’ve always loved coming up with ideas and working out how to pitch them in compelling ways but running the courses has made me approach my own career with a completely different level of enthusiasm”.
“We describe some of what we do as ‘creative cheerleading’. Seeing our expertise working, and reading emails from students who are consistently getting cracking commissions and even bagging book deals, has helped me recognise that I do actually know what I’m talking about and bolstered my confidence in my own skills.”
Jody Thompson agrees that a side-hustle can boost your main career. She has a side-hustle as a DJ, which includes being a resident DJ at Secret Garden Party festival for 15 years as well as club nights, corporate events, weddings and glam birthdays.
She says: “I absolutely adore my side-hustle as a DJ. It’s something I’ve done for years and love so much it never feels like work. Plus, it makes me feel energised and invigorated about my day job, running my own media consultancy business.
″I can be away DJing at a brilliant event at the weekend, getting a party absolutely rocking and getting loads of great feedback about how I’ve made people’s day or night with the tunes I’m playing. It makes me feel so good, which totally boosts my confidence about my ability to do my day job, which also involves thinking creatively, judging moods and interpreting my audience. I work for many of the UK’s biggest creative agencies as well as a host of start-ups, young media platforms and TV and film production companies, and I really do think my approach to DJing is quite similar - you’re always trying to come up with ideas to reach the largest possible audience, whilst being creative, quirky and memorable.”
So, what’s your side-hustle? If you haven’t already, it’s time to immerse yourself in a new creative interest that could lead to benefits in all aspects of your life.
American Express understands the importance of powerful backing. That’s why the company has joined forces with music legend Nile Rodgers and culinary innovator Gizzi Erskine, to launch Backed By, to give one budding musician and one food entrepreneur the chance to take their ideas to the next level. Keep an eye on Backed By for more on Nile and Gizzi’s backing experiences.
Promotor: American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.