We all like to do something other than study or work in our free time, and picking up a hobby can be extremely engaging. It is easy to find time during our teenage years, but it becomes more scarce after one joins the workforce.
If you are working and trying to find a healthy work-life balance, hobbies might serve a greater purpose. It might be an instrument for our mental well-being.
Many of us are frequently preoccupied with our job or business, and as a result, we entirely give up on our hobbies. But many studies on work-life balance have shown that workers who engage in outside activities suffer less from mental pressure and depression.
A fulfilling pastime offers room for passion and skill outside of the workplace. A hobby makes an executive happier, more fulfilled, and less burnt out. The talents you develop through these activities also might be useful at work.
We inquired about the interests and pastimes of some of our business leaders. They discussed their hobbies, outside interests, and how these activities increase their productivity. They say their interests help them better manage their professional and personal lives by relieving the stress of responsibilities.
'Photography allows me to share my experience with others'
Shahadat Hossain, CEO of Dekko Group
I take my work very seriously, but during my free time, I like to occupy myself with hobbies, particularly photography, due to my profound admiration for nature. I travel a lot and photography allows me to share my experience with others.
I also love reading and I am inspired by the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Sunil Gangopadhyay, and Jibonananda Das, amongst others.
Having a hobby adds a new dimension to life. It gives us the impression that our life is more than just getting paychecks at the end of the month. It makes life more meaningful.
Most people start their careers in their mid-20s and over time; when they reach 40 or 50, burdens and responsibilities incrementally build up. While many of them have interests in their teenage years (or academic period), oftentimes it becomes impossible to carry on at a later stage.
Being occupied in outside activities let us become more energised, refreshed, and focused, which also translates into better handling of work challenges. If you are worn out or frustrated at work, a hobby might be beneficial to forget about it. This will come in handy to those who are in stress or burnout.
If the psychological need for creative time dwindles under the pressure of day-to-day tasks, it might be detrimental mental and physical well-being. Maintaining hobbies is then a much-needed break or pause, especially when we are pounded with stressors. This 'distraction' from work, contrary to usual belief, makes our jobs bearable.
'I like researching, repairing and restoring old cars'
Nazim Farhan Chowdhury, Director at Adcomm
From a very young age, I was drawn to cars. In fact, my uncle taught me to drive when I was only 12 years old.
Later on, around 2004, I came across an advertisement for an old Volkswagen Beetle and bought it. This is an iconic car, full of public sentiment with a rich history. I bought my second car, a Toyota Publica, in 2014. And in the last couple of years, I have added another six old cars in my garage.
I love old cars, I like researching, repairing, restoring and maintaining them. I love the whole process. I self-drive every day. Part of my relaxation is about driving cars. I don't have a driver. Moreover, I love to drive on holidays. When I go abroad on vacation, I try to ensure that there is some scope for driving. I have driven lots of old cars – from supercars to worn-out vehicles.
Although I do not believe that I have quite achieved a work-life balance, I definitely think that everyone should have something more to do in life than their jobs.
Many creative people work in my agency. If they are doing only advertising-related work every hour and every day, they would be dead inside. I personally encourage them to do more of this.
If you don't build a creative space where your mind can ease out and recharge, you won't be able to contribute to work. It's a conscious philosophy that I try to inject. In fact, a lot of my employees play music, write stories and play.
Creative and artistic pursuits assist us in satisfying our psychological needs. Otherwise, depression and lack of motivation might creep in. Acquiring new skills and abilities other than work gives me a better sense of control over my life, helping me navigate the work-life balance better.
'My passion for art gives me a chance to breathe fresh air'
Rajeeb Samdani, Managing Director of Golden Harvest Group
My biggest interest outside of work is the collection of art. Founding the Samdani Art Foundation is a passion project of mine. We have collected more than two thousand pieces of modern and contemporary artworks as a result.
My involvement with art and culture made me a different person from who I was before. Mingling or working with creative people is always a positive thing.
It gives me a different kind of joy, and I also learn a lot of things every single day from them.
My passion gives me a chance to breathe fresh air, which relieves my work-related pressures.
My wife and I share the same passion. For us, this is more than a hobby. You might have heard about the Dhaka Art Summit. We promote Bangladeshi art and artists. It is a different sort of achievement.
Through our event, we have been successful in putting Bangladesh on the global art map.
Dhaka Art Summit's main objective was to brand Bangladesh through our culture. It is an amazing experience.
People all over the world now know about Bangladeshi art. International museums are acknowledging Bangladeshi artworks. Our talented artists are getting recognition. It gives me personal joy that my little contribution is making a difference.
My involvement in art collections and art summits enabled me to meet new people and learn many interesting things. My world is divided into two parts: my passion and my work. Both of them balance each other. When I come back to work, I feel re-energised.