I believe hobbies are important, and I take mine seriously. They are important for two reasons:

  • 1. We need to get away from the daily grind sometimes, to get a fresh perspective. A hobby allows us to focus on another discipline or skill that takes our mind off our business; and

  • 2. Having a hobby forces us to plan for some time away, to manage our work time effectively so that special time for the hobby is available.

In short, if I didn't take some time off, I would be under too much pressure and not do my job as well while at work. Now, I can look forward to an upcoming break and new challenges and experiences.

Hobbies are not just for a few weekends here or there; they should be enjoyed as often as possible - every day if you can plan the time and resources. Don't think you will be more productive if you spend endless hours at work; it will not make your business run more efficiently. You will just be spinning your wheels, maybe frustrated because things aren't happening as you would like.

Time off lets you step back. It gives you a strategic view, a bigger picture of what you need to do to maximize the return from the business for the time and effort you spend there.

Aside from every other reason, I just enjoy myself when I am off and focusing my time on something I love to do.

My Favorites

I must admit I have more than one hobby. I know that some service and repair business owners favor hunting - and are quite good at it - or fishing, and many are expert mechanics, working on unique or high-powered vehicles. I respect the vehicles I have, including the Harley, tinkering occasionally, but that's not how I have been spending most of my downtime lately.

Always enamored with technology, I am interested in new devices and automation - everything from housing to cell phones and related innovations. Of course, I would have to list computers and all kinds of software as a source of my fascination. I am always amazed at how far we have come and where we are going with computers in our society. Do you know there are little computers in almost everything we touch: watches have chips in them, calculators, all late-model cars, cameras (video is mostly digital now) and a host of devices that we take for granted every day. I can hardly keep up with all the new applications of computer chips and circuit boards. I like to explore a new device, sometimes a whole new technology.

Look at global positioning systems. No more getting lost while driving, hiking or going anywhere. From the business side, we all know GPS has changed the way we operate. I like new technology that not only is intriguing to learn, but can also save time, resources or energy. If there is a new model, new technology or new innovation in communication - or anything that someone may call a new gimmick- I check it out. It's fun to figure out how the technology works, and more fun to apply it to everyday activities.

Most of the people in this industry have seen or heard of the Maio travel bus, the one we use to travel to training seminars throughout the United States. It is a big bus - and a big hobby. It is no surprise that it has all the latest technology on board: fax, e-mail, computers, printers, telephones, etc. In addition, it has all the comforts of home. It's a civilized way to travel, especially when you have to travel with staff personnel and training materials. Meeting a schedule while traveling to cities is not always well-served by air carriers.

That big vehicle requires a lot of attention (which I willingly give) to keep it ready to depart on the next training tour. Cleaning, stocking supplies, updating the hardware and software - all of those tasks are time-consuming and hard work. But if it is your hobby, it's fun. I enjoy keeping the big machine running, ready to travel.

Have you noticed that working hard, putting in long hours and paying substantial attention to an activity occurs without complaint when the activity is your hobby? I think it's OK to work hard at a hobby, or just as hard as working at “work.” When it's fun, there is no limit on the attention or effort we can spend on an activity, or maybe a device or vehicle or other object.

The reward from seeing progress or completion of a hobby project is immeasurable and very enjoyable. It makes us feel good, and we usually share that feeling with others. The positive attitude carries over to other actions in our life, benefiting our home life and even our work.

Hobby No. 2

Unrelated to technology and devices is just plain getting away. I really enjoy travel. It's relaxing and it's even educational. You see other people around the country and around the world, and how they live.

First, you always appreciate your home environment. But more than that, you see how people in different cultures conduct their lives. And, admittedly, there is some luxury in the travel and accommodations. You relax, enjoy and are sometimes even pampered a little. Your mind is, as they say, a million miles away. You can look at your everyday situation from an entirely different perspective. A fresh view can help solve challenges and minimize the level of concern over what may seem like grave issues. I can't tell you how much I like to travel!

Not long ago, I returned from Greece (birthplace of democracy; if you don't vote there, you get a ticket). A beautiful country and, yet, different. In the recent past, I have been on the other side of the world in Hong Kong, Europe, the Middle East and our own Hawaii. All were spectacular. I returned with a fresh outlook every time.

Planning the trips is fun, too. The anticipation makes the travel better. Sure it's work to make complex arrangements. But that's what I enjoy.

Love Whatever You Do: Hobbies and vacation travel are fun. The lift I get from participating in them contributes to my positive attitude at work. If you enjoy what you do, you will accomplish it better, faster and with less effort than if you look at it as drudgery. Having a fun hobby allows you to do just that.

It is interesting that working hard at a hobby is fun and, for some, working hard at work is, well, work. If you adopt the attitude that you do what you like, then you can enjoy the work you do as much as the hobbles you work at. If you approach your work day as another challenge to overcome, with a corresponding reward, it may not be as much fun as your hobby, but it will be a positive experience.