12 Productive Hobbies to Make You More Successful in the New Year

12 productive hobbies for success

Image: Novy Studios

The way you spend your leisure time is important. Sure, binge watching the latest hit Netflix show is great fun, but is it really going to help you achieve your goals? Probably not. So today we want to discuss 12 productive hobbies you can adopt to become more successful in the new year.

The activities on this list are a diverse mix; there’s something for every kind of personality. Keep reading to discover the most productive hobbies, why each is beneficial, and how to know which activities you, personally, should pursue.

Productive Hobbies: A Definition

Before we dive into our list, it’s important to define what we mean by “productive hobbies.” We’re NOT referring to activities that will improve your ability to get more done in less time, though many of the hobbies listed below will help you do just that.

Instead, we’re simply talking about activities that will make you more successful in life, in a general sense. Activities that relieve stress so that you’re more productive at work, or teach you new skills you can apply to everyday life.

Make sense? Great, than let’s get started!

A List of 12 Productive Hobbies

The following 12 activities are each worth considering when choosing what your productive hobbies will be in the new year.

1. Reading

If we were to recommend just one hobby that everyone participate in, it would probably be reading. There’s a reason why many of today’s most successful people; from Warren Buffett, to Bill Gates, to Oprah Winfrey; are all voracious readers.

Reading regularly will allow you to constantly fill your mind with new ideas and knowledge, which you can then use to propel your life and career forward. So dust off that library card, or take a trip down to your local bookstore, and resolve to make reading one of your productive hobbies in the new year.

2. Exercise

Once you decide to adopt a consistent exercise routine, you’ll see both physical and mental benefits. Physical activity has been proven to reduce stress, increase concentration, improve health, and more. And the best part is, there are so many ways to exercise, you’ll definitely be able to participate in an activity that you enjoy.

For example, you can go to the gym and run on the treadmill or lift weights. You can join a local sports team, or take dance lessons at the YMCA down the street. You could commit to walking the park trails near your home a few times a week. Pick an exercise that you find enjoyable and commit to the activity this coming year.

3. Cooking

Knowing how to cook is an incredibly practical skill. It can help you save money, maintain a healthier diet, and can be a wonderful outlet for creative expression. So why not make it one of your productive hobbies next year?

Since you have to eat anyway, you might as well make the most of it. So grab your cookbook, print out a new recipe online, sign up for a cooking class; whatever it takes to get you in the kitchen and preparing delicious meals on the regular.

4. Collecting

Are you a collector? Then maybe it’s time to take your passion for “the hunt” a little further and make it an actual hobby. There’s an endless list of items to collect: baseball cards, pennies, stamps, Russian nesting dolls. If you like it, you can start collecting it.

While many people don’t get the appeal of collecting, those who do, understand why it can be a productive hobby. There’s a lot of knowledge to be gleaned by studying and researching specific items. Collecting might also have monetary benefits. Certain rare items can sell for thousands of dollars or more. Imagine stumbling across something with that kind of value at a garage sale!

5. Acting

Acting isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think about hobbies. That’s a shame because it can be highly beneficial.

Not only will it help you improve your memorization skills, it will also help boost your creativity, think under pressure, and perform in front of an audience. Each of these of these is a worthwhile skill that can bring you greater success at work. If this hobby sounds at all interesting to you, check your local theater for audition times.

6. Music

Music, whether you play it, or just listen to it; makes for an amazingly productive hobby. Studies confirm that learning to play an instrument can improve brain functions and increase happiness — both great things.

Maybe you’re just not musically inclined. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy an expertly written song or a beautiful singing voice. Listening to music helps to relieve stress and often allows us to express emotions we were unable to before. So turn on the radio more often or tickle those ivories again on a regular basis. You won’t regret it.

7. Photography

Photography is a very accessible hobby. You literally don’t need anything other than what’s already inside your pocket and outside your door. For those with an artistic mindset, but not the skill set of a painter or musician, give photography a try.

Take your smartphone and capture the world around you. Then download a few free editing apps, ready your pictures for the world, and post them to sites like Instagram. It’s not hard, but it’s very rewarding, and has been known to boost self-esteem and lower stress levels.

8. Blogging

Writing, in our opinion, is one of the most productive hobbies out there. It allows the writer to express themselves and share ideas. Those who do it well can even make a great living putting one word in front of the other.

But even if you have no interest in becoming a professional in this field, it’s still worthwhile. Writing a novel is a monumental task, though. Try blogging instead. You can write about whatever you want; your day, a favorite TV show, how to complete a specific task; post the piece on your own schedule, and connect with other like-minded people online.

9. Traveling

Traveling, while not something most of us can do on a regular basis, is a great way to break away from the day-to-day worries of life, become more cultured, and expand one’s horizons. Just think about the amazing stories you could work into conversations at your next networking event or job interview!

But don’t worry, not every travel trip needs to be life changing. The town next door offers new experiences and people to meet, too. We encourage you to get in the habit of exploring the world around you and adopting travel as one of your productive hobbies in the new year.

10. Crafting

Do you like to make things? Crafting is a wonderful hobby that includes the usual suspects like knitting and scrapbooking, but for our purposes in this blog post, also encompasses activities such as wood and leather working, and whittling.

Working with your hands will ease your mind and relieve stress. You can also take pride in your finished creations and use them to either save or make money. A pair of knitted socks is one less pair you need to purchase and whittled figurines can be sold on sites like Etsy.

11. Volunteering

Not all of your productive hobbies need to serve you directly. Volunteering is a great way to spend one’s free time and help make the world a better place.

A quick Google search of the non-profits in your area will likely result in many organizations that could use your help. Choose one (or a few) that you really connect with and see if you can lend your time and talents to help the cause. You’ll feel good knowing that you’re spending your time on something that truly matters.

12. Starting a Side Hustle

Finally, for those with an entrepreneurial mindset and boundless energy, consider starting a side hustle; a small business you work on after office hours and on weekends. It can be incredibly fun and rewarding, both monetarily and emotionally, to start and manage a business.

Choose a field you’re passionate about and look for an opportunity. Perhaps you notice that many of the products in your chosen niche are cheap and low quality. Maybe a higher-end offering is needed.

Starting a side hustle is obviously a big topic, much too big for this blog post. So do your research before starting any venture. It will be hard work, but for those willing to sacrifice their down time, the benefits are clear.

Finding the Perfect Hobby for You

Now that we’ve covered 12 different ideas for you’re next hobby, let’s quickly discuss how to choose the perfect one for you.


The perfect hobby for you will be something you actually enjoy doing. Sounds obvious, but many people choose hobbies based on their friends or because they think it will make them more successful in some way.

Do things with your loved ones and pursuing activities just for the sake of personal development aren’t bad things at all. But it’s important to also have a hobby or two that you genuinely enjoy. That way you’ll actually do it and be able to de-stress during the process.


Since this is a list of “productive hobbies”, the hobby you choose to pursue in the coming year should benefit you or the world around you in some way. Does it teach you a new skill? Does it relieve stress and allow you to “let your hair down” after a long day at work? Maybe it helps you earn more money.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a viable way to spend your time. Each of the twelve ideas listed above qualifies as a productive hobby.


Finally, the productive hobbies you choose should be manageable for you personally. Activities that you can’t afford or don’t have time to pursue on a regular basis aren’t worth your energy — at least not at this point in your life.

Choose a hobby that fits your budget and any time constraints that you have. That way you’ll actually be able to pursue it and reap the benefits.

In Conclusion

Discovering what your productive hobbies will be in the coming year is important. We encourage you to read back through this list and choose an activity that you’ll enjoy, you have the time and money to perform on a regular basis, and will also help you achieve success in other areas of your life.

Do you currently have a hobby that you love? Share with us in the comments what it is and why you enjoy it so much!

One thought on “12 Productive Hobbies to Make You More Successful in the New Year

  1. Pingback: 7 Morning Rituals to Make You More Productive Throughout the Entire Day | CleanPix Blog

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