How my hobbies influence my work

May 26, 2016
“The type of hobbies one chooses reflect in part of what type of person you are.” And in turn it influences your daily job, whether you notice it or not. Some of my previous blogs referred to my love for rugby, and what rugby can teach people working on projects. Earlier this year I read an article in the newspaper about a Belgian woman who, thanks to her yoga skills, survived 5 days in the Australian bush. It made me think about yoga and how my hobbies influence my job, or rather how I unconsciously use my passions in my job.

Yoga vs. project management

I will not claim to be a true yogi myself. However, yoga has taught me some things that are indeed applicable to project management:

 1. Staying calm means more energy

This might sound contradictory, but there is actually a certain logic in it.

True yogis are very calm people, they are not easily stressed. And stress is one of the many faces of project management. But stress also demands a lot of energy. By keeping calm, e.g. through calm breathing, you tend to relax quicker, and you will be better positioned to face the challenges.


2. Calmly stretching one’s limits will have positive long-term effects

Yoga is all about listening to your body and calmly stretching its limits. Over time your body becomes more flexible and you become more in tune with your body.

The same counts for projects. If at each step you calmly stretch your capacities, the shock on your system will be less, and you will harvest the benefits. Any job consists of a learning curve and any learning curve is a slow process. And it definitely does not get better when you get older.

Yoga also teaches you to respect the limits of your body. If you stretch too far in one go, you will end up in pain and that is not the aim of yoga.

I see it as a learning curve, where I get in tune with my body, slowly trying to stretch its limits, getting more flexible along the way.

Creativity vs. project management

I love being creative, whether this is through scrapbooking, flower arrangements or decorating the house. The idea that you create something with your own hands gives me energy. The result of my creative endeavors might not always turn out the way I had in mind, but still, it gives me satisfaction.

Scrapbooking is hands-on structural creativity

One of my favorite pastimes is scrapbooking, European style. My husband calls it: “the improved cut and paste job”. It consists of cutting several pictures, of the same theme, and position them in a structured way on a sheet of paper. After which you can add some decorative elements.

For the best results, three steps are indispensable to the creation process. 


The way you need to think and study what you are about to do, reflects the way you start a project: thinking of the most structured and efficient way you will achieve your goal. You need to plan ahead, try to visualize the end result and the road ahead.

Phase 1 is very important. What structure will I follow? Will the structure help me get to the end goal? Do I have the right tools and parts/pictures … people … to start working on my project?

Phase 2 is the road ahead. Maybe some changes are needed along the way, but these should only be small changes. Allow yourself to change things for the better during the process, but only to obtain the desired effect. Change too much, and you might end up with a completely different scrapbook altogether. Creativity is hard to explain, it rather is a gut feeling.

Phase 3: When your gut feeling says enough is enough, you obtained the end goal, and you will be able to reflect on your creation for years to come. Hopefully with a satisfying and warm feeling.

So how do your hobbies influence your daily job?

Author: Elke Toebaert.
You can connect with Elke on LinkedIn