Playing the guitar makes me a better designer.

Playing the guitar makes me a better designer.

Did you know Former US president George W. Bush is known to paint in his spare time? Sir Paul McCartney has even held an art exhibition. Prince Charles is a mad organic gardener and Tom Cruise fences.

What do you get excited about beyond work? Do you have a hobbie that is completely unrelated to your profession? I believe investing time in something that goes beyond your work life has the ability to increase creativity and breed new ideas. For me, it’s a fact.

When I’m not working as a designer, completing my latest business branding project, lassoing a new web design into shape, creating a logo design, or brainstorming my way through a new concept idea I’m playing the guitar.

Yes, the guitar. And I sing too. I’m a country music fan with an addiction to Dolly Parton (and numerous other country / folk artists). One that goes way past her famous assets and into the mind of an extraordinary woman who has taken the term ‘authentic’ and turned it on its head. If you don’t know much about Ms Parton other than the obvious, I urge you to find out more. For someone who looks so completely fake she’s actually very real.

So that’s my other life. I know that if I don’t play regularly I get kinda stale. It makes me happy and that happiness is transported into my working life. It’s good for me and ultimately it’s good for my clients.

Professor Kevin Eschleman from the San Francisco State University says that ‘creative pastimes help workers relax, increasing their sense of control and challenging them to learn new skills. What we do in our personal time is related to our behaviours in the workplace, and not just how we feel’.

Creativity can boom when you’re feeling good and as a designer this is obviously important. But in any business, coming up with new ideas, new ways to see things, new ways to connect with your audience is vital to a successful work life and a memorable existence. You need enough energy and creative space in your head to think and see new business ideas through successfully. Having a passion outside of work where self-expression can bloom helps this happen.

Work takes up such a large part of our lives but we are not robots. No. We need to go beyond the desk, beyond the computer, beyond social media and find something that inspires us. For some people this might be exercise (not me) or horse riding, painting, animals, dance, photography or… playing the guitar and singing ‘Jolene’.

I would love to know if you have a quirky hobby or interest that you believe enhances your creativity at work and if you’re also a  Dolly fan let me know too!

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