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9 Strategies to Balance Your Hobbies and Passions with Daily Life

Balancing hobbies and time

Hobbies are a great way to relax and add excitement to life. But in spite of the physical, social, and mental health benefits of engaging in hobbies, having too many hobbies can be a source of stress. 

If you’ve ever felt like you just don’t have enough time to keep up with your normal responsibilities and hobbies, here are some steps you can take to restore a sense of balance to your schedule.

1. Assess Your Priorities 

Stacking blocks in priority order

While it’s wonderful to have a wide variety of interests, there are a limited number of hours in the day. That’s why the first step toward balance is to evaluate your current hobbies to decide which ones are most important to you right now.

One way to discover what’s truly important is to imagine you only have a short time left to live. If you knew the next 12 months would be your last, how would you want to spend the time? When you perform this mental exercise, you’ll quickly find that some of your hobbies don’t make the cut. The ones that remain are the ones that are most important to you at this time.

2. Learn to Let Go and Say No

After you take a realistic look at your priorities, you may find that you have more important responsibilities right now, and you don’t have much time left over for hobbies. That can be frustrating, but sometimes the frustration can be resolved by simply letting go of a hobby, dream, or goal, either temporarily or permanently. It can also mean letting go of less important activities and distractions.

Every time you decide to spend time on one activity, it requires you to say “no” to everything else. Sometimes you’re called to put your hobbies on the backburner for good reason. For example, if your conscience tells you that you need to spend more time with your family, doing so means that you must say no to other things.

On the other hand, if you determine that a specific hobby is important to you, then you may need to learn to say “no” to less important activities that are always calling for your time and attention. What needs to go? The answer is simple: anything that is less important than your hobbies. If you find yourself mindlessly watching TV or videos, or scrolling endlessly on your phone, remember that saying “yes” to a hobby means saying “no” to distractions.

3. Schedule Time for Your Hobbies

Looking at a schedule

One way to help you say “no” to distractions is by scheduling time for your hobbies, and time blocking is a great way to do that.

Time blocking is the process of breaking apart the whole day into smaller chunks of time. This allows you to assign tasks to specific blocks so you know when each activity will get done. For example, during the hot summer months, you might assign yourself the task of mowing the lawn early in the morning and schedule time blocks for indoor hobbies during the heat of the day. 

Time blocking can help you enjoy your hobbies while still saving time for family and friends. It prevents you from getting caught up in too many social activities or neglecting your loved ones because of a particular interest.

Some people even set alarms for different blocks. If you enjoy painting, you can spend two hours in your workshop in the afternoon, and then join your family for dinner and game night when your alarm goes off.

4. Focus on One Hobby at a Time

If you have multiple project-based hobbies—like sewing, building furniture, or restoring classic cars—focusing on one hobby at a time can help you make progress on your projects. One problem with working on multiple projects at once is that you can’t enjoy the results of your efforts as soon. However, if you focus all of your efforts on finishing a quilt, for example, you can enjoy using your quilt while you work on the next project.

5. Set Realistic Goals

Dart that hit the bulls eye

Sometimes frustration with hobbies stems from unrealistic goals. Setting reasonable goals for your hobbies and activities can help you avoid expecting more progress than is actually possible. 

For example, expert crafters set aside about 40 hours to complete a knitted cardigan. If you are new to the world of knitting, it might take much longer and you might have to redo uneven areas. Knowing how much time a project actually requires can help you set achievable goals. If you try to make an entire sweater in an afternoon, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

6. Combine Your Hobbies with Other Activities

With creative, proactive planning, sometimes it’s possible to accomplish more than one thing at the same time. Let’s say you have a goal to lose weight, and you need to get more exercise. Sure, you could go to the gym and run on a treadmill—but perhaps you have a neglected hobby that involves a lot of physical activity. In that case, why not grab your sports and adventure gear and go have some fun while working on your fitness goal?

Certain hobbies like biking, running, and roller skating are also alternative forms of transportation. If you enjoy biking, maybe you can ride to the local farmer’s market on weekends for light food shopping rather than driving a car.

Hobbies can also be a great way to bond with other family members. If you have teens, you can schedule time to do hobbies together. Join them in one of their hobbies one week, and invite them to join you in one of yours the next week. You just might find that you actually enjoy the same things.

Shared hobbies can also be a great way to connect with friends old and new. If you’ve been doing a hobby alone, consider joining a club to combine your hobby time with social time.

7. Think Carefully before Turning a Hobby into a Job 

Relaxing with a guitar

Many people want to monetize their hobbies because they think it could be a great way to earn a little cash by doing something they love. They might accept art commissions or decide to become a photographer for hire. 

For some, this is a great way to expand a hobby. For others, it can be a risk. Some people find they don’t enjoy their hobbies anymore when they have to deal with the stress of running a small business. Deadlines and dealing with difficult customers might take the fun out of your pastime. So before you make the jump from a part-time hobby to a full-time job, consider everything that is involved.

8. Dedicate Separate Spaces for Separate Activities

Before you even realize it, practicing your hobby in the same space where you work can interfere with one activity or the other. You may start thinking of your hobby as work, making it less enjoyable; and your work time may become less productive as well. 

You can alleviate this issue by setting up a dedicated at-home art studio, workshop, or similar hobby space in your garage or backyard shed. You can leave your stress in the main house while you focus on your craft in this space. 

Having a dedicated space for a hobby can also let your family know when you need focused time with minimal interruptions to complete a project. Using separate spaces can help you stay focused on the right thing at the right time and keep your hobbies fun. 

9. Keep Your Hobby Equipment Organized

An organized garage

Some hobbies require lots of tools, gear, and equipment—and you probably don’t have room to store a surfboard, skis, or an ATV in your bedroom. Before long, you might find yourself needing extra garage space to store all of your hobby items

Designating a space to store your hobby equipment can help prevent your hobbies from overrunning your home. Perhaps you can turn a guest room into a sewing room so you have enough space. Maybe you should get a shed to store your outdoor equipment when it’s not in use. This will give you enough room to make sure everything stays in good shape without letting your hobbies take over your house.

If you need more workspace or storage space for your passion projects, an affordable garage or shed from Alan’s Factory Outlet can help you better organize and enjoy your activities. I wish you the best in all your pursuits!

Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

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