• Olivia Graham

Pencil in Passion

Hearing the words ‘fourth quarter’ typically brings a few things to mind for people professionally. These can include multiple approaching deadlines, expansive year-end presentations and generally higher levels of stress. In most cases, this is one of the busiest times of the year for companies both in workload and in planning. As you try to keep your head up and morale high to make it through this last leg of the marathon, it can seem tough or near impossible to find time for projects that serve you individually. However, it is in this busiest part of the year that making time for your passion project can be the most rewarding.

A passion project can mean so many things to different people. For an architect it could mean designing a dream home, for a barista it could mean creating a brand new latte recipe, and for somebody like myself in communications, it could mean assembling my dream panel of speakers for an event. The trick is understanding where these interests fit into our regular day-to-day schedules.

If you’re truly excited by an idea when it first comes to you, it’s all you can think about. But then a calendar reminder pops up on the corner of your screen telling you to send a project to a client by tomorrow. When your attention shifts back to the demands of your position or current project, it can be difficult to create a balance that leaves room for both purpose and passion.

Purpose speaks to the reason we were hired to do a job. This means we were brought to our company to fill a need either internally or with a client, that must get done. Passion speaks to the ideas that come to you igniting excitement and motivation to learn and grow towards reaching a goal of your own. The ideal scenario for any professional is to find ways to pencil their passion projects into their regular routines.

This is easier said than done, but it is important to build in time for your professional passions. When we get too in the weeds with scheduling and planning or reviewing documents repeatedly, then we lose our edge. Words can blend together and days turn into weeks without us even realizing. What I have come to realize is that dedicating 15 minutes of your focus to something that excites and energizes you can make all the difference in your work. In fact, a study conducted by Qnneect showed that the “top 10% of productive employees take breaks."

By pausing and allowing ourselves to reset, we divert any frustrations we had towards a roadblock or towards a deliverable that seemed unreasonable. This idea is similar to how writers get past writer’s block. They take a break from looking at the same chapter for the 5th time and perhaps walk outside or call a friend. More often than not, looking at something new that doesn’t feel like a chore can offer the inspiration you need to complete the task you were originally stuck on. When we look at our passion projects as something to look forward to or a welcome break in the schedule, we also get closer to making that dream or goal a reality.

This year instead of dreading the quarter four rush, pencil in time for your passion project. Your mental health and your team will appreciate your refreshed approach to the work at hand.