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Top 17 Productive Hobbies to Pick Up This Year

Are you looking for meaningful hobbies to get into? Wondering what other practical hobbies you can learn? Enjoy this article by Headway to explore the most useful hobbies to start.

Top 17 Productive Hobbies to Try This Year - Headway App

Many of us struggle to find time in our days as life has a habit of getting in the way. Negotiating free time from our working lives and home commitments can be challenging. However, we must unwind, and finding practical hobbies is a great way to do so. 

There are many worthwhile hobbies, such as reading, photography, and learning a musical instrument. This article reveals 17 useful hobbies to learn so that you can destress while doing something fulfilling. 

Key points

  • Productive hobbies are a great way to destress and unwind while doing something meaningful. There are numerous benefits to hobbies, such as they help you destress, they can teach you something new, and could even earn you extra income.

  • Examples of productive hobbies include gardening, chess, video games, and cooking.

  • The Headway app provides 15-minute book summaries, personalized features, daily insights, and visual explainers so you can grow on the go. Download the Headway app today to embark on your productive journey of easy self-growth.

What are the benefits of hobbies?

Hobbies can be a fantastic way of breaking up the monotony of daily life and are fun and healthy for our bodies and minds. There are several key benefits to developing hobbies, including: 

  • Hobbies persuade you to take a break. Many of us find it difficult to ‘switch off’ from work — especially if working remotely — but by having a hobby, you have a reason to look forward to taking a break. 

  • Hobbies help you destress. You can relieve stress by starting a hobby and participating in a non-work activity. They can distract you from issues or irritations at work and remove any negativity you feel. Hobbies can help you to unwind and feel more relaxed.

  • Hobbies can create extra income. If you find a hobby you are exceptional at, you could monetize it and earn some extra money. For instance, if you were brilliant at knitting, you could sell knitted clothing or accessories. 

  • You can learn something new. By starting a new hobby, you might learn something you didn’t before, such as how to play the guitar or chess. It can be a fantastic way to develop and grow.

  • Hobbies stimulate personal development. A study by Drexel University showed that some 45 minutes spent on a creative hobby or activity can boost your productivity and confidence both in your personal life and at work.

Best 17 practical hobbies to learn

1. Reading 

Best 17 practical hobbies to learn - Headway App

Reading is a wonderful hobby, as it can provide enormous benefits to us both physically and mentally. It is believed to:

  • improve brain function;

  • decrease stress;

  • increase our happiness;

  • make us more empathetic; 

  • improve our overall health;

  • improve our vocabulary;

  • increase focus;

  • become more productive. 

Unfortunately, many people find reading hard to take on, especially in our fast-paced and distracting modern world. However, Headway provides the perfect solution. 

On the Headway app, you can enjoy short 15-minute book summaries, daily insights, visual explainers, and more. You can learn the key takeaways from books without having to sit down and read them cover to cover. The Headway website also provides book lists under certain topics, such as time management, business, and well-being, so that you can find relevant recommendations. 

If you want to benefit from reading books but struggle to find the time, explore the Headway app today so you can grow on the go. 

2. Gardening 

Gardening is one of the most constructive hobbies you can start. It is thought to:

  • improve observation skills;

  • improve our health;

  • bring a sense of calm;

  • increase creativity;

  • teach you how to manage projects.

Watching your plants and flowers flourish can bring a feeling of joy and accomplishment as well as boost your self-esteem, and if you grow vegetables or herbs, you can use them in your meals too! A further advantage is that you can gain additional income, as you can sell your produce at a local market or to neighbors as a side hustle. This hobby is also rather easy for beginners to pick up since there are many resilient and easy-to-grow vegetables you can start with (e.g., radish, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, etc).

3. Painting

Painting is the ultimate creative hobby. Picking up a brush and painting on a canvas allows you to indulge in your imagination and creativity, eliminating negative thoughts and stress. It can be an excellent way of self-expression and self-reflection and teaches you not to care about what others think. 

Painting is a fantastic outlet and can be a hugely beneficial hobby for our mental wellness. When you have completed your paintings, you can decorate your home with them or sell them. 

4. Volunteering 

Volunteering may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the most productive hobbies. However, it is an activity done in someone’s free time and is something you can enjoy. It is one of the most productive uses of our free time. By volunteering, you can:

  • feel satisfaction in helping someone;

  • meet interesting people;

  • discover new experiences;

  • learn new skills (which will look great on a resume).

You could even combine volunteering with a favorite hobby of yours. For instance, if you love painting, you could hold art classes at a nursing home. Or, if you are green-fingered, you could volunteer your skills to the local area.

5. Learn a new language 

Best practical hobbies to learn - Headway App

Learning a different language will look great on a resume and is a useful skill to have. For instance, it can be invaluable if you like to travel, assist your memory and decision-making skills, and increase your focus. 

Speaking multiple languages is an impressive skill, as it gives you a competitive edge for a job position and allows you to communicate with more people worldwide. You could even learn sign language! Learning a new language is a productive hobby you can do at home by downloading an app, or listening to podcasts in your leisure time, or if you prefer to be more social, you can join a language class.

6. Photography 

Photography can be an extremely meaningful hobby as it presents your view and vision of the world. And because it is so creative, there is no right or wrong way to approach it. You can photograph throughout the day with your camera phone or as a planned excursion with a high-tech camera. You could even consider taking photography classes to refine your skills. In the world of social media, it has also never been easier to share your photography skills with the world. Photography is great for our mental health and can drive:

  • creativity and imagination;

  • curiosity;

  • passion for life.

Photography is, without question, a productive hobby that is both fun and constructive. If you are especially good at it, you could sell your photography services and start a side business.

7. Sports

Sports activities are one of the most popular and exciting hobbies. This can involve playing or watching sports, which can both be great for your body and mind.

If you want to improve your physical health, taking up a sport and engaging in physical activity can be a great option. It can improve physical and mental health, teach new skills, expand your horizons, and help motivate you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3 percent of Americans were engaged in sports and exercise each day in 2019. With a distinctive link between physical activity and mental well-being, we recommend picking this productive hobby if you want to see a positive impact on your cognitive functions, self-confidence, and physical and mental health.

8. Chess

Chess is the perfect hobby if you enjoy a little competition or want to exercise your brain. Chess involves strategizing to beat your competitor. This hobby is so convenient that even if you cannot find a friend willing to play, you can play virtually. 

Playing chess is considered a productive hobby as it has been found to improve:

  • focus;

  • memory;

  • analytical thinking skills.

A key ability in chess is to anticipate your opponent’s next moves. This ability lets you build empathy and consider another person’s perspective to evaluate what move they are likely to make next. This is an invaluable skill to have, both professionally and personally. 

9. Pet care

Owning a pet can improve your overall happiness, provide companionship, and develop empathy. Furthermore, stroking pets has been proven to lower blood pressure. However, taking up a pet care hobby can also be a great way to experience these benefits, particularly if you do not own a pet. For instance, you could consider pet sitting, dog walking, or volunteering at an animal shelter. You can even easily turn this hobby into a career by exploring job opportunities for pet sitters.

Pet care can prove hugely beneficial to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being and is a constructive use of time to help those in need. Some forms of pet care, such as pet sitting and dog walking, can also provide additional income. Pet care is a fun and meaningful hobby to take up.

10. Video games

Best practical hobbies - Headway App

A common misconception is that video games are a waste of time and provide few benefits. Actually, the reverse is true. The rules and roles present in video games make people more productive. Moreover, video games encourage:

  • determination;

  • focus;

  • teamwork and cooperation;

  • problem-solving skills;

  • not giving up.

These are all positive skills to make you more motivated and driven in your work. And to state the obvious, they are a lot of fun too. This hobby can be done on your own or with friends, depending on how you prefer to unwind. 

11. Brew your own beer

Brewing your own beer is a more unusual hobby but is fascinating nonetheless. But how is it productive? First and foremost, you will save money that you would otherwise spend on six-packs every weekend. You will also have the satisfaction of enjoying a beer that you created. You could even try planting your own hops and experimenting with different blends. Brewing beer is a relatively inexpensive and straightforward hobby and a lot of fun to boot.  

12. Learn a musical instrument 

Have you always wanted to play an instrument? It is never too late to learn, and playing instruments can provide huge benefits, such as:

  • better brain function;

  • better memory;

  • improved abstract reasoning skills;

  • decreased stress;

  • more confidence;

  • increased creativity;

  • increased patience.

Music is not just an expression, but can be healing too, and can help develop positive emotions and increase productivity at work. So make the time to learn that instrument you’ve always wanted to play and reap the rewards of music.

13. Cooking

Cooking is an extremely worthwhile hobby to invest in. After all, everybody needs to eat. More than this, cooking teaches us to increase focus and hone our planning abilities. It is not a hobby where you can lose focus, as there are many dangers to a sharp knife and a hot stove. Plus, planning is imperative as you need to ensure you have all the ingredients needed before you cook. Cooking is a great hobby for productivity, as you are likely to be more productive by improving your focus and planning skills.

14. Yoga

Yoga is a physically and mentally beneficial hobby to consider. It is a mixture of meditation, exercise, and breathing techniques. Yoga is a great way to decrease stress and improve posture and flexibility. It is also a hobby you can do almost anywhere, so it can fit into any schedule. 

Yoga is productive because it lets you block out external thoughts and focus solely on bodily practice. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being can all enjoy the benefits of practicing yoga, and it can be fantastic for improving concentration, happiness, and productivity. 

15. Writing

Writing can refer to anything, including short stories, articles, radio scripts, plays, and even diary entries. Writing is a powerful skill and is hugely therapeutic. Like painting, it is a necessary form of self-expression and helps you focus your energy and release thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto the screen or paper in front of you. It allows your imagination and creativity to run riot, which is fantastic for happiness and mental well-being. 

Writing is a creative pastime and can also be helpful in everyday life, such as writing a resume or sending a persuasive email. Writing can even earn you a little extra money if you are especially good at it. 

16. Knitting

Best practical hobbies for you - Headway App

The Knitting culture has taken a bit of a shift as more young people take up the craft. People are finding that knitting is not only a great way of improving productivity but also great fun too. Knitting is:

  • great for learning multi-tasking and planning skills;

  • eco-friendly and inexpensive;

  • suitable for any age;

  • great for improving creativity;

  • beneficial for the brain and improves mood.

Another appealing advantage to knitting as a hobby is that you can make personalized gifts for friends and family (or even sell your knitting creations).

17. Board games 

Our final productive hobby is board games. What is great about this hobby is that you have thousands of different games to choose from, so you can be sure to find one perfect for you. Perhaps you want to solve a murder mystery? There’s a board game for that. Or perhaps sink an opponent’s ships out at sea? There’s a board game for that. Board games can improve social skills, competitiveness, problem-solving, focus, and creativity. Select a game that appeals to you and prepare to be entertained and enlightened. 

To learn about other ways to achieve productivity, enjoy this article by Headway with five core pieces of advice.

Try a new productive hobby

The modern world can be a very fast-paced and stressful place to be. Therefore, it is so important that we find time in our schedules to unwind by finding a hobby. Productive hobbies are especially good to try, as they can improve our physical and mental health and benefit our working lives. Some examples of productive hobbies include reading, learning a new language, participating in sports, and brewing your own beer. 

Headway is a fantastic way to increase your productivity and embark on a journey of self-growth. On the Headway app, you can find short 15-minute book summaries with key teachings, daily insights, personalized features, and more, so you can learn despite a busy schedule. Try Headway today, and begin your simple path to fulfillment and self-growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are good productive hobbies?

There are many good productive hobbies to choose from, such as hobbies in this list, including reading, cooking, and yoga. The best choice depends on your interests and preferences.

What are intellectual hobbies?

These hobbies give your brain a workout, such as chess and playing video and board games.

What hobbies improve mental health?

Reading, painting, gardening, and sports are just a few hobbies that can benefit mental health.

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