Finding joy in passion projects: Just as helpful to your professional life as to you personal one
Recently, my boyfriend and I started visiting at least one coffee shop each weekend. It's nothing big or fancy but we wanted to find a relatively cost effective way to keep ourselves entertained and to find something to look forward to that we can do together. I've been writing blog posts for a few months now and they've mostly been about professionalism and interview, resume and cover letter optimization. All of those things are indeed important and relevant but I found myself up against a pretty sizable writer's block. Then one day it hit us. We decided to use my existing blog to start making entries of our coffee shop adventures. It began as a way for us to catalog our thoughts, pictures and memories from each adventure, but we've both dived in, rather deep I'd say, and are making it into more of a project. I take care of writing the blog posts because I do write for a living and it's my blog. He takes care of the Instagram account we've created, posts pictures and pushes the new blog posts when they go live. The result, Pabbi: The Coffee Edit (blog) and @pabbithecoffeeedit (Instagram) is now officially a passion project.
Maybe the blog will never go viral and we'll never get called on to forsake our 9-5 jobs like my boyfriend is not so secretly wishing for, but in the meantime, it gives us joy. That may sound rather trivial but it is indeed quite important. Obviously it benefits our relationship because we're bonding and spending time together. However, I have found that the joy it brings has also been very helpful to my professional life. If nothing else, these adventures give me something to look forward to each weekend. It gives me a small but lifeline-like boost of positivity and energy to propel me through a week of simultaneous menial and complex requests and projects. If you're doubtful about the connection between your own joy and your productivity and performance at work, think again. Research shows that happy employees are better employees. One 2015 study by the University of Warwick researchers found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity while unhappy workers were 10% less productive. More professionally applicable, but not more importantly, writing a blog and launching an Instagram account to promote our reviews of coffee shops in LA is in fact an exercise in what I do for a living but with a creative twist. I don't do much long-form writing in media relations — everything is as concise as possible and cutting out what shouldn't be said — so the blog gives me space to write about something I enjoy and to experiment with different styles and even humor. Pabbi: The Coffee Edit is still in its infancy and we're excited to see what the future holds for it. Perhaps it amounts to nothing more than a pastime which, if true, is still fulfilling to me. I enjoy visiting new places, drinking coffee and writing. If happiness is all that I get from it then it's still served a valuable purpose.