With all the talk about work/life balance, this week I want to get something straight.  When career people with young families tell me they have no time for hobbies, I find it completely understandable. There’s nothing to feel guilty about.  People without hobbies are not necessarily boring or void of interest; it may simply mean that they have little or no time for such activities. The question is, when gaps eventually become available, how do they fill them?

Firstly what is a hobby?  For me it is a kind of ongoing project that can be strictly defined as not being ‘useful’ but rewards the participant primarily in ways other than making money.  A hobby does not necessarily equal an obsessive interest in boat building or stamp collecting.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to combine a hobby with family activities, like building and flying kites for example. For many however, career demands and the limited time for family forbid doing what, deep down, one might like to do. (I can just hear some readers with young children say the word ‘sleep’).

In my book ‘Inspirational Leadership’ I discuss at length the importance of ‘Intellectual Curiosity’. But by this I mean the need to develop a natural curiosity in many topics, especially those far away from our normal daily lives. Many people do not have time to read books or visit museums or attend concerts but a really good way to stretch ones intellectual curiosity is to utilize the technology that most of us have in our cars these days – the ability to listen to podcasts via our Android or Apple smartphones.  Instead of listening to the daily misery of headline news and gossip, interspersed with worn out pop music, one can listen to programs on great lives or the latest scientific discoveries or even listen to audio books; and all this while on the way into work in the morning.

My tip for this week is to go to the BBC.CO.UK website and choose ‘Radio 4’ and then select program types and podcasts and select the automatic download of truly inspiring material; no adverts, just great content.  I would love to know of similar sources for French, Dutch and German audiences?

But for now, I am back to my hobby – writing books and listening to classical music! (Children left home years ago – and my wife’s busy career gives me loads of free time to fill with work and fun, it’s up to me)! 🙂

Have a good week,

Harley