Here's a reason to embrace your inner guitar player or secret poetry writing habit: It may be making you better at your day job.
Employees who did something creative after work—like knitting, drawing or even playing a video game that required creative thinking—were more likely to be helpful and creative problem solvers on the job, according to new research from San Francisco State University.
That was true even after researchers controlled for people who are naturally more creative personalities, said Kevin Eschleman, an assistant professor of psychology at the school and one of the report's authors.
The creative after-work activities also can be valuable even if you don't totally disengage from work during that time, Eschleman said. In other words, you can check your work email occasionally while drawing sketches after hours and still be a more creative problem solver in the office the next day.
Separate research has shown that workers can be happier—and potentially perform better at work—if they take a break from work email and other office distractions after hours. But Eschleman said that wasn't the focus of this research.