Benefits of Genius Hour for Adults
I talk a lot about using Genius Hour in the classroom with students, but what about the benefits of Genius Hour for adults? Focusing on your own passion project is not only a perfect model for students, but it will also give you a sense of purpose and help you grow as a learner as well! Here are some benefits of Genius Hour for adults. This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing items from my links gives me a small commission.
Genius Hour started with adults in the workplace.
Before we dive into the benefits of Genius Hour for adults, it’s important to note that Genius Hour started in the workplace! 3M and Google are two companies that have implemented a version of the “20 percent time” or Genius Hour. Employees get a set amount of time (typically 20 percent of their workweek) to work on projects that align with their personal interests and passions, rather than working solely on tasks related to their day-to-day job responsibilities.
3M first implemented the concept in the 1950s. Employees had 15 percent of their work week to work on projects that interested them. The idea behind this was to give employees the freedom to explore new ideas and technologies, which would ultimately benefit the company. Post-it notes (one of my favorite school supplies EVER) came from this time.
Google adopted the concept in 2004, and engineers spent up to 20 percent of their time working on projects that were not directly related to their job responsibilities. Gmail, Google Maps, and endless amounts of projects came from this time. Google has adapted this and still continues to allow employees to explore their own interests when they help the company.
Both companies have cited the 20 percent time concept as a key factor in their success and innovation, as it has allowed employees to pursue their interests and ideas, leading to the development of new products, technologies and processes.
Genius Hour encourages creativity and innovation.
Genius Hour allows adults to step outside of their usual work duties and explore new ideas and solutions. This can lead to increased creativity and innovation. The origins of Genius Hour started with adults, so why not keep it going in your own life? The happiest I’ve ever been at a job is when I’ve had the autonomy to create my own lessons or pursue my own ideas. (Yes, I am at that job currently, and I LOVE it!)
When was the last time you were able to really let your creativity flag fly? As young as kindergarten, I loved writing short stories. In fourth grade, I would also make bracelets with my neighbors and play “trading post”. I was also always making music on my clarinet or piano. These were creative endeavors that made me happy with no agenda. Think about those creative moments in your life to inspire your own Genius Hour project.
Passion Projects promote work-life balance.
Another phrase for Genius Hour is “Passion Projects“. Genius Hour gives adults dedicated time to pursue their passions and interests, which can help to improve work-life balance and prevent burnout. Even if the project relates to work, this is something you really care about!
I highly recommend a passion project that has nothing to do with your 9-5, however. Maybe you want to learn how to cook. Perhaps you want to foster animals through a rescue. Maybe you want to start your own business. Whatever your Genius Hour is, let it be something that adds to your life and is worth your time.
Passion Projects increase job satisfaction.
Allowing adults to pursue their passions and interests at work can increase job satisfaction and motivation. Like I said, my job satisfaction increased when I was allowed to focus on projects and tasks that helped my students. I love my job!
Yes, we all have responsibilities at our workplaces, but think about ways you can use your unique talents to improve your output at your work. That’s a Genius Hour! This does not have to be a job that requires a degree. In fact, I recently talked to a grocery store deli manager who had her own unique way of cooking chicken that made her store have the top sales for that item. She was proud, and it definitely helped her enjoy her job.
Genius Hour improves teamwork and collaboration.
Genius hour can foster a sense of community and collaboration among coworkers as they share and discuss their ideas and projects. In my classroom, I allow students to collaborate on Genius Hour projects. Adults can certainly do the same in or outside of work. After I finished my PhD, I discovered how much I missed reading for FUN! It had been more than a decade since I had been part of a book club. I loved reading and talking with friends. My latest passion project is starting up a book club again.
How can adults use Genius Hour?
There are so many benefits of Genius Hour for adults. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
- Developing a new skill, such as learning a new language or programming language
- Working on a personal project, such as writing a book or building a piece of furniture
- Exploring a hobby or interest, such as photography, cooking, or gardening
- Starting a side business or launching a creative endeavor, such as creating an online course or starting a podcast
- Volunteering or participating in community service projects
- Pitching a new idea to work on at your job (during work hours)