Principals, What Is Your Hobby?

What’s your hobby?

Please don’t say “I don’t have time for a hobby,” because that’s going to lead to a lecture. Here’s why the lecture:  if you are going to effectively lead your school, you need to practice some life-work balance and part of that is some time for you.  Hence, a hobby.

Joyce E.A. Russell, the vice-dean and the Director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland says that “finding time for ourselves is key to our own sanity.”  Russell shares that “having a hobby may be even more important to people who lead busy lives.” That qualifies everyone who serves as principal and assistant principal for certain.

My brother Allen was a principal for the Sarasota County Schools in Florida for many years.  As a role model for me as a school leader, I was always interested in what he was doing and how he grew as a principal.  As a principal, he was known for many of the traits that effective principals exhibit –cool under pressure, unflappable, consistently bringing a stable environment for everyone on campus.  One thing I always noted about his work as a principal was his attention to balance.  He consistently spent time with his family, his church, but he also always maintained a hobby.  Every Saturday morning he had a regular group of friends with whom he played a round of golf.  That Saturday morning ritual was was important as anything else he did in making him an effective school leader.

So, what is a hobby anyway?  It’s defined as a “pursuit outside of one’s occupation,” or something that you don’t have to do, but something you want to do.  This definition will disqualify some of the things that principals and assistant principals like to call hobbies.  You may enjoy attending your school’s athletic and extracurricular events (I know that I did as well) but that doesn’t qualify as a hobby.  Spending time with your family? It depends.  If you’re referring to driving kids to practices or lessons, that’s not the same as having a picnic or going bowling together.  If you’re having to rationalize that something you do is your hobby, chances are you really aren’t getting the full benefit from doing it.

What does a hobby do for you?  Researchers say that it lowers your risk for depression and dementia while contributing to an increase in your life expectance.  That’s all. 🙂

In the short-term, hobbies for school leaders give us a chance for social interaction with people outside of our school bubble, improving our perspective on things.  Beyond that, and probably most importantly, a hobby is a great way to reduce stress, get your mind off your work, and renew yourself.


Thank you for visiting  Slow-Down Sunday where Principal Matters! encourages school leaders everywhere to be their most effective and efficient by using research-based, time-proven strategies to… slow it down.  


Career Coach:  The Value of Hobbies

#Leadership365  /36

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