Hobbies

Tiny weekend post for anyone who feels like starting a new hobby and needs an extra excuse to get off the sofa.

Since starting Sabre Tooth Panda I’ve been learning a lot. I realise that this is largely down to the fact that my job is really a collection of hobbies.

I write. I podcast. I design material and invent games. I get to talk to cool people one on one, in small groups and in big audiences. I experiment with different tools to find new ways of doing what I do, faster, better. There’s almost nothing I enjoy that I can’t in some way make a part of what I do. So my job has evolved to be a collection of things that I would do for free if I didn’t need to make money. Hobbies.

But what about the stuff I don’t like? Paperwork, finances, regulations and compliance? Well sure, there’s always some of that. But this is also a place for learning and experimentation. I get to find ways to do less of this or new tools to make doing the dull stuff less dull.

This hobbyist approach to work has taught me something: hobbies teach me things.

I wanted to blog more so I learned about markdown and CSS. I wanted to podcast so I learned about recording equipment and mastering. I wanted to give better presentations so I learned how to make good slides and how to pace my speaking.

Obvious, sure, but when I find a real reason to learn something, backed up by a meaningful objective, and a way to make it fun, I learn and I love learning.

More than this, the learning becomes a habit. After a day of learning I couldn’t help but want to learn more. Learning leads to more learning. The habit I’ve formed in my work has become a habit in my personal life.

So if you’re thinking of starting a hobby, don’t wait. Choose something that is meaningful and fun and have at it. It’s not just a way to pass the time. A pottery class today, a language course tomorrow, and who knows where your hobby driven learning will take you?

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