Time for a New Hobby

You may have noticed that I haven’t been very active online for the past four months. I’ve been investing most of my time writing the Mission: Automation – SharePoint Workflow and InfoPath class. I haven’t really felt like I could comfortably do much else. Writing a class is a lot of hard work; it takes a lot of focus; it takes a lot of time. Yesterday afternoon I made the final edits. This morning it was sent off to the printer–all 428 pages and 37,500 words of it. Tuesday we’ll teach the class for the first time.

Devoting so much time to a huge project like this has taught me a great deal about how I work. This is the third SharePoint class I’ve written, and definitely the most challenging to write. As the deadlines grew closer, my work days and work weeks grew longer.

Over the past month, I’ve realized how I need to get away from the computer more. So much of my time, and therefore my life, is spent staring into LCD displays. My full-time job, my entrepreneurial activities, and most of my hobbies all involve a computer. When I write I work from home. When I’m not teaching a class or speaking at a conference, I’m usually sitting in my home office. Far too much of my time is spent sitting at my desk.

When I want to “get away”, it usually means grabbing the iBook, sitting on the couch, and catching up on blogs and tech news. As I’ve become aware of the amount of time I spend using a computer, I’ve become more aware that I need to invest some time away from the computer. With the weight of this class off me, I now feel like I can get back to my old routine of reading and walking in the early morning hours. I realized that I still needed some sort of relaxing hobby for the evening hours.

I know that most people watch television in the evenings, but that doesn’t hold much interest for me. My wife loves it though. In fact, she’ll watch 2 or 3 shows at one time and constantly flip between them. I can’t keep up. One minute she’s watching a home improvement show, the next she’s watching a sitcom, and the next she’s watching a true crime show. I usually sit on the couch beside her in the evenings. She wants to talk about what she’s watching. I’m trying to figure out who killed someone, why the death meant that they had to remodel their home, and why it’s all so funny to the people in the sitcom. When I do want to watch a show on television, I know beforehand what I’m going to watch; then I watch the whole thing from beginning to end without changing channels.

This morning I listed some requirements for a new hobby:

  • It must not involve a computer–as I’ve already said, that’s what I’m trying to get away from.
  • It must not involve a lot of reading or writing–because a good deal of my computer work involves reading or writing words.
  • I must be able to do it when I travel–this means that any equipment or tools must be something that I can carry in my carry-on through airport security.
  • It must be quiet–because I want it to be something that I can do while I’m sitting on the couch beside my wife when she’s channel surfing.
  • It should probably use creativity or problem solving–not so deep though that the activity ceases to be relaxing.
  • It would be nice if it could reinforce my entrepreneurial tendencies. I don’t have to make money from it, but it would be nice if I could, or if it would enhance some of my other streams of income.

I began my search for a new hobby this morning by reviewing the List of Hobbies at Wikipedia. Items in the Arts and Crafts section seemed to best fit my requirements. This afternoon I visited a local Michaels and just browsed around for something that grabbed my attention and fit the above requirements. I finally settled on something.

I’ve decided to learn to sketch and draw. I’ll be blogging more about my experiences with this new hobby as I learn. Keep in mind that I have no previous experience in this area, so this is totally new for me. I’m not saying that I’ll do this hobby for the rest of my life, but I’m going to try it for a month or two and see how it goes. Wish me luck!

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