Making Your Down Time Count
When you begin your professional career, you’ll start to notice a pattern developing.

Work will begin to encroach on every part of your life.

However, if your job is your first, second, and third priority, there’s good news, you can still enjoy your downtime and focus on your career by choosing hobbies which advance your skills.

For example, nobody likes that one colleague who can only talk about politics.  Something as simple as being able to talk about sports, traveling, or cooking during an interview can mean the difference between you getting the job or not.  

So here are four ways you can enjoy your downtime and advance your career.

Physical fitness – Being physically healthy is not the easiest thing in D.C. Especially if you work at Leadership Institute (LI) with a Cheesecake Factory around the corner!  But when you’re sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, you need to focus on your physical well-being.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain which makes you more mentally alert.  You will also have more energy, allowing you to wake up earlier and work longer.  Finally, it’s a well-known fact that exercise reduces stress. 

Education – This can cover all manner of possibilities, from reading a book to visiting museums or studying a course.  Something as simple as switching off Netflix and picking up a good book will improve your writing ability and your creative thinking.  Also improving your education will make you better able to match your colleagues intellectually in conversation.

Taking new courses in language, business, etc. may be tough, but having that diversity of skill will make you more promotable and allow you to explore new career opportunities.

Creativity – Think about ways you can become more creative.  Challenge yourself!  Perhaps it could be through learning a musical instrument or learning to paint and to draw.  This would dramatically improve your ability to be creative at work and expand your horizons.

Joining an acting club would be a chance to make new friends and improve your confidence speaking in front of others.

Volunteering – Be the person in the office who cares about his community, who holds fundraisers or requests sponsorships for the next half marathon (although not too often). 

People are far more inclined to help you if they know that you’re the type of person who helps others.  This hobby could also be a great way for you to organize office events, in which people come together outside of work, and you can get to know your colleagues better.

There are plenty more examples of how you can use your spare time productively to enjoy yourself while contributing to your career.  So if work is your highest priority, that doesn’t have to prevent you from having hobbies and interests.

Invest in yourself!


The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,873 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers.  Since the Institute’s 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 182,327 conservative activists, students, and leaders.  Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.