Doodled on your homework? It may mean a better grade on your next test. A study from San Francisco University found that creative hobbies positively affect work performance. By surveying approximately 350 people of different professions, researchers established that those who participated in creative hobbies not only scored about 15-30% higher on performance assessments than those who didn’t have creative outlets, but were also more willing to help their coworkers. The study also interviewed a group of ninety Air Force Captains and found that those who spent time on creative interests scored higher on performance assessments, and were also considered better workers in performance reviews written by their bosses and colleagues. Although the reason behind this correlation is unknown, the leader of the study, Kevin Eschleman, suspects creative hobbies may help one to “spiral in a positive direction” and learn something new about oneself.
In the context of the classroom, it stands to reason that creative hobbies outside of class could definitely benefit your academic performance. Counterproductive as it may seem, perhaps replacing that last thirty minutes of studying with half an hour of watercolor or guitar may better tomorrow’s quiz grade.
In addition to boosting performance, artistic outlets can also aid in stress relief. According to the American Journal of Public Health, even the observation of creativity (like listening to music or visiting an art museum) can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. If you’re stressing over a looming AP exam or in-class essay, a few minutes of creativity may not only reduce your stress, but help to boost your performance. This New Year, consider devoting a part of your day to a creative hobby, whether it be painting, piano-playing, or crocheting. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Graphic: Caroline Wagschal