Wellbeing

10 Productive Hobbies You Can Pick Up In The New Year

Resolutions often have a knack for feeling difficult to achieve – so we’re ditching that label altogether. Here are a few resolutions masked as fun hobbies that’ll help you become the productivity master we all know you can be (and not, for instance, a slave to the couch and your Netflix subscription by January 2nd).

#1 Gardening

Not only has gardening been scientifically proven to elevate your mood, it’s also the perfect antithesis to sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen all day. You can get down and dirty by digging out some weeds, potting a few flowers, or venturing into the world of growing your own food (it’s both satisfying and surprisingly easy, we promise). It costs a little up front, but the results speak for themselves: we’re talking fresh herbs and homegrown veggies every year. And as the smug man says, homegrown veggies taste just so much better than store bought.

#2 Read non-fiction books

Pick a topic you want to learn more about – whether that be particle physics, Bruce Springsteen, feminism… anything, really – find the best authors on that topic, hunt down their books and dig in. Non-fiction is just as much of an escape as fiction if you use it to explore what you’re passionate about. Also it’s a great way to keep yourself learning and growing as an individual.

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And if you struggle to find the time to read traditional books, give audiobooks a go.

#3 Train your brain

Okay, so let’s say reading isn’t for you – that’s fine. But how about we try and be productive with our consistent phone use then? Train your brain to process information faster and function at a higher level using apps like Luminosity, Cambridge Brain Sciences and Brain Workshop.

#4 Learn a new language

Let 2017 be the year you finally get a grasp on French or give yourself a head start on Spanish before your planned trip to South America. There’s a bunch of online tools that help make learning a new language (or refreshing your rusty high school Japanese) a cinch: try Duolingo if you like video games, Busuu if you want to interact with a community of native speakers and Babbel if you’re a stickler for grammar.

#5 Reacquaint yourself with your kitchen

Getting back into the kitchen is as easy as getting some good inspiration – and we all know how there’s more to life than eggs on toast and spag bol. Check out our recipe features below to get you in the mood to cook. Bonus: cooking at home helps you save money in the long run – score!

#6 Sell unused stuff

We’re all a little guilty of having too much stuff, so selling things you don’t need or want anymore is an easy win not just for your overflowing wardrobe, but also for your mental health. Clueless when it comes to selling things online? Never fear – check out our handy how-to on selling your stuff online here.

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#7 Watch documentaries

Turn those hours spent on Netflix to good use by watching a documentary instead. Few things can be as intriguing (or as educational) as a quality documentary, and there’s plenty out there that’ll pique your interest. Also, a brand new documentary Video-On-Demand service just launched in Australia called DocPlay, offering more than 130 top notch documentaries at the click of a button. The Cove, Going Clear, Blackfish, Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop and Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days on Earth are easy winners and a good place to start.

#8 Learn to code

Having the ability to code is a highly covetable skill – and it can open up a host of new opportunities for you, whether you turn it into a career, or use it just for fun. Try CodeAcademy, Treehouse or Udacity for some easy basics to get you started.

#9 Stretching

What with most of our days spent either in chairs or lying on our beds balancing our computers on our boobs (I don’t recommend this), our backs, hips and necks are always suffering. Let 2017 be your introduction to mindful stretching – after just a few minutes of stretching the right muscles, it’s amazing how much can change. Your body becomes less tense and your can feel your movements becoming more fluid. If you sit at a desk all day, try this stretch. Or if you want to take things up a notch, hop into some comfy pants and give a yoga or pilates class a go. 

#10 Or if all else fails, maybe it’s time to make your own bush hut?

Looking for something a little more… primitive? Check out this guy who decided to build his own wattle and daub hut in the Australian Outback complete with mud walls, paper bark roofing, and even an external fireplace and chimney.

I mean, you’ve got to hand it to this guy – he sure knows how to fill his free time.


Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer and editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker, celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.