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Hobbies Make Us Happier

Hobbies Make Us Happier

Gardening, bird-watching, stroking your cat – whatever it is you like doing, just go for it. It’s officially good for you!

Hobbies Make Us Happy

‘Pastimes for which your friends would previously mock you start becoming acceptable as you age.’ Photograph: Rob Stothard/Getty Image

It’s a bleak Monday in January, and you have spent half the morning trying to come up with plausible excuses to get out of doing any work. But I have some good news: the key to a happy life – and I know you were wondering about that – is, apparently, spending more time on your hobbies.

New research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (and not the Institute of the Completely Obvious, as you may have expected), says that valuing your time more than the pursuit of money leads to feelings of greater wellbeing. And by valuing your time, they mean spending it wisely on hobbies, exercising or being with your family.

The researchers even invented two characters, “Tina” and “Maggie”, and asked people who they preferred – money-grubbing sociopath Maggie, who would rather work more hours and make more money, or workshy hippy Tina who wanted to work fewer hours and make less cash. The option of working less and making more money was strangely absent, although that is of course the obvious answer, as evidenced by the hordes of people who bought lottery tickets this weekend.

My main issue with the research is the idea of adults having hobbies. What are hobbies anyway? Pastimes, suggests my boyfriend, which makes them sound marginally less awful. But is eating biscuits while watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians a pastime? Because if so, I am very serious about it, and presumably I am very happy too, although I wouldn’t know it, because I have given up my favourite pastime (drinking) for January – and perhaps for ever if the government’s draconian new guidelines are to be believed.

After all what is the point of being an adult if you can’t gleefully cast off hobbies? Most of them not only smack of Victorian ideals of self-improvement, but are basically activities adults made you do when you were a child so they could get you out of the way for a few hours. If you have been a Brownie or a Scout you will know what I am talking about. Here’s what happened when I was a Brownie: I was awarded a badge for collecting scented erasers (a 1980s hobby if ever there was one) and I was made to do Brown Owl’s housework, under the guise of gaining another badge.

There are very few hobbies that are acceptable as an adult. None involve mindfulness colouring-in and most are a way of life: drinking, eating, listening to music, perhaps a bit of yoga. Of course, there are ways to pass off these everyday activities off as “hobbies”, mainly by making them as complicated and time-consuming as possible. Cooking is brilliant for this. Simply choose an extremely complex recipe with many obscure ingredients – anything by Yotam Ottolenghi is perfect, and I can’t recommend Donna Hay’s beef rendang enough – not only do you have to find fresh turmeric, galangal and kaffir lime leaves, it also takes three hours to cook. Bingo!

Pets are also useful. Dogs – walks, obviously. Cats – well, if stroking cats isn’t a hobby then I don’t know what the world is coming to. Pets with ailments are fantastically time-consuming. My own cat has inflammatory bowel disease, it turns out. I can’t recommend it, but it certainly necessitates spending several hundred hours away from my desk and at the vets.

As with so many things, there is an age dimension. Older people questioned for the study were more likely to say they valued their time compared with younger people. This can only be good news – pastimes that your friends previously mocked you start becoming acceptable as you age – birdwatching, for example. This seems to be fine after the age of 40. Ditto gardening.

So there you have it. Faff around doing anything you like, really, and you may even fool yourself into being happier. After all, isn’t the study basically saying that the more time spent away from work the better? Common sense, really.

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This article by Fay Schopen was previously published on The Guardian  – Please support the author: Twitter Handle: @fayschopen

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

10 Tips for Perfect Flyer Design

10 Tips for Perfect Flyer Design

If you aren’t a print project regular, designing the perfect flyer can be somewhat nerve-wracking. But it doesn’t have to be. With a solid content plan and a great designer (that’s you), crafting the perfect flyer that will entice and engage users is simple.

There’s a wonderful feeling to designing something, then having it printed and feeling it in your hands. This is one reason flyer design can be rewarding and a lot of fun. Here’s how you do it.

1. Have A Clear Goal for the Flyer

Womens Celebration Flyer


Before you open InDesign, develop a strategy for the flyer design. What are you trying to showcase to users? Where will it be distributed? What kind of budget are you working with?

Only after those questions are answered can you figure out what size and shape the flyer should have. Having a clear goal and strategy will also help you plan how to get vital content into the design in a meaningful way.

The most common mistake when it comes to flyer design is thinking that you can fit everything in. You will likely have to make targeted, strategic decisions about key content. Keep elements that correlate to the goals of the design and for the targeted audience. Dump everything else.

2. Amp Up the Contrast

Orchestra Outreach Flyer


High contrast visuals are easy to see at a glance and can be attention-grabbing. Unlike a website, where users opt to view it by clicking a link or typing in an address, a flyer needs have a strong pull to get users to gravitate toward it.

Think of flyers or posters or brochures that you have seen from a distance and walked toward because they were interesting. That’s the kind of contrast you need to create to help bring people to the design without prior intent.

3. Put Emphasis on Key Words



Certain keywords or phrases can help sell the information in the flyer design. Make them bigger, bolder or brighter than other lettering to create distinct emphasis.

What kind of words are attention-grabbing? Consider the following words if they are part of your strategy:

  • TDP – time, date, place
  • New
  • Free
  • Easy
  • Save
  • Now
  • Guarantee
  • Limited

4. Think About Viewing Distance

Fellowship Chorale


Where will a potential user be when they see the flyer design? Is it a flyer or poster hanging on a window? It is a tri-fold that you will hand out? A postcard that will be picked up or mailed?

Everything in the design should scale appropriately for this use. Type sizes and elements on a poster (wide viewing range) will be a lot larger proportionately to elements on a postcard. This is due to the viewing range, size of printed item and distance from which words will be read. (Anything you hold to look at will likely be closer than anything you don’t actually touch to read.)

Sometimes the best way to judge viewing distance is to print out a test version, hang it up and walk by a few times. Does it grab your attention? Is it easy to read?

5. Include a Call to Action

Auckland Jazz


Just because you can’t click it, doesn’t mean a call to action isn’t necessary. Quite the opposite is true. (Why make a flyer if you don’t want people to do something?)

Create a distinct – and easy – actionable item for everyone who sees the flyer. This can be anything from visiting a website to calling a phone number to showing up at a certain place. Make it as easy as possible for users to act. (Shorten URLs and make all instructions clear and concise.)

6. Opt for Full Bleed Flyer

Hiphop American Idol Flyer


While you won’t be able to print it at your office, full bleed flyer designs have a more polished look and feel. (Full bleed means that the design goes all the way to the edge of printed paper without any border.)

While the entire design doesn’t have to go edge to edge, a design that has this borderless look often stands out from designs that look more like office copies.

But don’t force it. Not all projects have the elements or graphics (or budget) to justify full bleed. This is a decision you should think about early in the process to ensure that you design for the printing process you plan to use.

7. Design Top Down

FlyNet Hotspot Service


Flyers are read from the top down and the design should reflect that. Start with the most important information at the top of the design and move down the page to the least important information.

The size and scale of text and design elements will likely follow this same hierarchy. Key imagery should as well, with the most striking or impactful images or graphics in the top third of the design.

Pro Tip: Most flyers tend to be vertically oriented while the imagery is often horizontal; use an overlay or shapes to add texture to the bottom of the design that balances images at the top.

Use color and scale to help draw users down the page. It works a lot like the inverted pyramid that journalists use to write news stories, with the most important things at the top and lesser important details to follow.

8. Use High-Quality Imagery

Turning Pointe Dance Studio Flyer


Nothing makes or breaks a design like image quality and composition. A perfect flyer design has a high-quality image that relates to the information on the page.

The image needs to be easy to “read” and understand at a glance and help the user connect to the elements in the flyer design. The image should be of something a person should expect from what the flyer is showcasing – an event or product or sale.

The image should portray an accurate representation and needs to be sharp and clear. Don’t make user guess to figure out what they are looking at. They’ll only get frustrated and look away.

At the same time, make sure to use a high-resolution image. The same specs you use for online or digital images may not apply to printed images. Resolution requirements are often significantly higher to ensure adequate printing. (Don’t skimp on quality or the entire design will suffer.)

9. Integrate Branding



Don’t forget to make the flyer distinctly yours. Incorporate brand visuals, colors, fonts and overall design style to the flyer so that users familiar with your company or product know that the design is from you.

A flyer is just one more element you can use to help establish and maintain brand identity. Don’t forget to maintain that sense of who you are when switching mediums.

10. Use a Printer’s Template

Printer Template


While it’s not always possible to start the design process with a printer or print company in mind, using a printer’s template will help streamline technical considerations later.

A printer’s template will show bleed and trim lines as well as safe areas for printing. Staying within these guidelines will ensure that the printed design appears as desired and that nothing is left out of the final print job inadvertently. While many printers have similar specs by print or page size, they can vary. You’ll save a lot of time, money and headaches by ensuring that your design fits into the print template before submittal.


Still not quite convinced that you are ready to design the perfect flyer? We have a few template designs that you can use for inspiration, or to give you a great starting point. Happy designing!

This article by Carrie Cousins was previously published on

About the Author:

Carrie Cousins is the chief writer at Design Shack, with years of experience in web and graphic design. Sports fanatic. Information junkie. Designer. True-believer in karma.

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Featured Image Credits: Pixabay