The 15 Top Productive Hobbies to Promote Personal Growth

When’s the last time you had downtime and spent it bingeing a new show? For me, that was yesterday. Since then, I’ve been brainstorming some productive hobbies to fill my downtime instead of the TV screen.

I’ve rounded up 15 top hobbies you can start today that are productive, interesting, and fun. On top of that, they promote personal growth for your life. 

Whether you’re looking for hobbies at home, hobbies to make money, or simply some hobbies examples to get your brain going, there are hobbies out there that are both fun and intellectually stimulating. 

Black woman sitting at computer writing in a journal

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Productive Hobbies

What is a hobby? Hobbies are activities that you enjoy doing in your spare time. Some examples of hobbies include writing, skateboarding, playing piano, and dancing.

Is doing a hobby productive? While typically seen as an activity to simply “pass time,” doing a hobby can be productive. Productive and self-improvement hobbies are typically intellectually stimulating, teach a useful skill, or produce positive benefits like relaxation and relieving stress.

The most productive hobbies allow us to explore our passions and interests while earning money, learning a new skill, giving us a break from work, or all of the above. 

Below are 15 useful hobbies you can start today to learn something, discover a new passion, or maybe earn some cash.

  1. Reading
  2. Writing or Journaling
  3. Exercising / Running / Yoga / Sports
  4. Blogging
  5. Creating Podcasts or Videos
  6. Traveling
  7. Cooking or Baking
  8. Gardening
  9. Learning an Instrument
  10.  Knitting or Crocheting 
  11.  DIY House Crafts
  12. Learning or Practicing a Foreign Language
  13. Joining an Adult Sports Rec League
  14. Taking a Course at a Community College
  15.  Volunteering or Community Service

1 – Reading 

Reading tops the list of most productive hobbies for a couple of reasons. First, as long as there is a library nearby, reading is an affordable hobby.

Second, there are such a wide variety of books to be read that it’s unlikely you’ll get bored with reading. You can easily jump from sci-fi to fantasy to romance to crime to memoir to non-fiction to Christian to cooking.

Lastly, reading is a great way to learn something new. Reading about history and travel, you can learn about a place you’ve never been before. Memoirs and non-fiction teach you about diverse experiences and the world around you. 

Even from fiction, we can learn about different cultures, technology, professions, and other interesting hobbies from the characters.

Start Reading with my top fiction and Christian picks

2 – Writing or Journaling 

Writing and Journaling are productive ways to hone your writing skills while offering a creative way for you to process feelings, record life events, and learn about yourself.

To start writing or journaling, you’ll need somewhere to record your thoughts and stories. A computer with a word processor is one option. If you prefer pen and paper, there are great journal and diary options to get you started. 

I also suggest having a handy book of writing prompts, especially for stories, in case you’re unsure what to write about. I always keep this list of reflection questions and journal prompts for when I have the urge to journal.

If you want something more prompted, Promptly Journals offers beautiful journals with scripts and prompts to help you write.

3 – Exercising/ Yoga/ Running 

Exercise is a productive hobby that is beneficial for your body and for your mind, especially when it comes to relieving stress. Other hobby examples that include exercise are kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, walking, and spinning. 

As a PhD student, I make time for exercise in my schedule to 1) make me get out of my office and 2) give me an hour – 45 minutes where I don’t have to think about work. With my corporate job, I used exercise to clear my mind and relax. 

4 – Blogging 

When it comes to useful hobbies to make money, blogging probably tops the list. Are you an expert in a certain topic like finance, fashion, photography, business, cooking, or something else? Then blogging Is a great way to share your knowledge while earning some extra revenue.

Teach others about your topic of interest or write content to answer people’s questions about your topic of interest. Here at Kara J Lovett Co., we write about navigating the adulting struggle with flair and faith because that’s what I’m doing right now and that’s where I’m at.

Before you begin your blog, if you want to monetize, it’s best to start with a SEO foundation and solid plan. Here are some blogging courses I took during my first year as a blogger which I allowed me to use my productive blogging hobby to make some cash.

  • Defining Your Ministry Audience: This mini course is FREE and helps you nail down your blog’s target audience.
  • SEO for Christian Bloggers:  This is a comprehensive course for SEO (Search Engine Optimization.
  • Christian Bloggers Boot Camp:  This course gives you a solid foundation and framework for standing up your blog. You’ll leave the course with blogging resources, monetization tips, an understanding of SEO, a step-by-step guide to setting up your blog for success, and a clear path forward for your blog or ministry. 

5 – Podcasting or Creating Videos 

Along the same lines as blogging, another productive hobby to make money is creating a podcast or video channel. I don’t mean posting short videos or sound clips on social media from time to time.

People listen to podcasts and subscribe to video channels to learn something, be challenged, or be encouraged. 

For example, one of my work colleagues loves traveling. So he creates videos about his travel experiences and shares them on his YouTube Channel. Another friend of mine hosted a podcast about business and interviewed friends of hers across different industries.

6 – Traveling

Travel is a great hobby for those of us who love adventure and learning about different cultures (like me). While traveling, you can learn a country’s history, practice a foreign language, and experience a new culture.

Whether you’re traveling for relaxation or adventure, travel makes an eye-opening and productive hobby.

7 – Cooking or Baking

Everyone has to eat, right? Sharpening your culinary skills with cooking or baking is one of the most productive hobbies at home because at the end of the day, you get to eat your creation. 

Here are 7 ways cooking can be a productive hobby: 

  1. Trying new recipes
  2. Cooking a meal for friends and family
  3. Doing meal prep or making baked goods to enjoy for the week
  4. Hosting a meal or fancy dinner for others
  5. Organizing a potluck
  6. Blogging about new recipes
  7. Learning about your family heritage by making family recipes

No matter how you use this productive hobby, food is always a powerful way to bring people together. 

8 – Gardening or Yard Work 

Gardening is a fun, interesting way to spruce up a backyard, or make an outdoor or indoor space more appealing. 

You can start small by getting some indoor plants to take care of. Or go big by getting big planting boxes and planting flowers, vegetables, plants, and more.

For others, being outside and working with yard tools makes them feel productive. Especially when they renovate an outdoor space or solve a landscape problem with tools, sweat, and hard work.

9 – Learning an Instrument 

Playing an instrument is a fun and interesting hobby that allows you to learn a new skill. It’s also a great hobby to stimulate the brain, meet new people, and teach the discipline and reward that comes with practice.

Looking for a new instrument to play? Go by a music store and see if they have recommendations for a teacher. 

If you currently play an instrument, look for new music pieces to practice to challenge yourself. Consider performing at church or community events, too.

10 – Knitting or Crocheting

As top hobbies at home go, knitting and crocheting are interesting hobbies that you can do alone or with friends. You could make scarves to donate to a homeless shelter or beanies for your closest friends. These hobbies are great for anyone looking for a challenge or to hone a new skill.

11 – DIY House Crafts 

If you spend too much of your monthly budget at home crafts stores, it may be time to start a DIY house craft hobby. Instead of buying the finished goods at a retail store, research and buy the tools to make home creations yourself.

My aunt is a DIY queen. She’s even been able to use this productive hobby to make money by selling her creations. From doormats to tumblers, mugs to scarves, jewelry to custom gifts, she sells them all. 

DIY crafts is an interesting hobby where you’ll never get bored.

12 – Learning or Practicing a Foreign Language

If you don’t use it, you lose it! So it goes with learning a foreign language. In my experience, taking a course with a good teacher and practicing regularly with a conversation partner is the key to learning a foreign language.

So what will it be? French, Chinese, Spanish, Catalan, Korean…? With dedication and practice, you can become a conversational speaker in a foreign language in no time.

13 – Joining an Adult Sports Rec League

Joining an adult sports league for softball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. is a great way to be active, have fun, and meet new people. This is one of my top hobbies where I’ve met new people. The past year, I have really enjoyed playing volleyball again as an adult. 

14 – Take a Course at a Community College

Have you ever wanted to learn how a car works or how to start a business? Community colleges and technical schools offer a variety of courses at a low-cost.

You can take as many or as few courses as you can handle at the time. Additionally, you don’t have to be a degree-seeking student, so you only take courses that interest you. This is a great way to continue learning even after you’ve left school.

15 – Volunteering for Community Service

Lastly, you can use your free time to give back to the community by volunteering at a charitable organization, community partner, church, or other organization. 

Doing community service is a productive hobby that has a wide variety. For example, you can do community service by repairing a house that was destroyed in a storm, writing content for a nonprofit website during a website-a-thon, or coaching basketball at your local community center. 

What I love about volunteering is connecting with your local community and meeting new people. You can use your passions to help others pro-bono and perhaps learn a new skill.

Top Hobbies for the Year

My top hobbies for the year are writing, blogging, exercising, traveling, and playing volleyball. What will be on your personal hobbies list this year?

This list of hobbies includes 15 productive hobbies and hobbies examples to help you discover a new passion. Now comes the hard part. Picking one of the productive hobbies and sticking with it. Good luck and have fun!

What do you think is a useful hobby?

Leave me a comment below!

Don’t miss this! More posts in the Living & Adulting Category

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