It is all too easy to go home from work, switch on the PC, and surf the net or get caught up in helping friends and neighbours with their computer problems. This is great, and you will be well appreciated in your community by fixing all their hardware faults, but do you ever get to unwind and clear your head of all things work related? You need to, if you want to preserve your sanity.

I have made a firm resolve to do more than work or think about work and try to make my free time as non work-related as possible. Where I live, this is quite easy… there is a glorious beach about 300 yards away, there are walks along some of the world’s most spectacular coastal scenery, a preserved steam railway, and for the days when the sun doesn’t shine, I have my books, eBay trading, and my music to keep me occupied.

Writing articles and blogs for various clients uses up a lot of time, but when I want a break from all this, I take out my bagpipes, much to the consternation of the neighbours, and try my hand at blowing a few tunes. When they tire of that, there is always the trombone, three guitars, a trumpet, and one or two other noise-making devices. I would like to make it clear that I am not a musical virtuoso. I can say without fear of contradiction that the only person who derives enjoyment from my musical efforts is me. The pipes are by far the loudest, putting even the electric guitars into the shade, yet, as a challenge to my abilities, they provide by far the most pleasure.

The most important thing is: It isn’t work, it isn’t related to work, does not resemble work, nor does it prepare me for work or do anything to enhance my performance at work. Work is for the nine to five, Monday to Friday. Sometimes, we are known purely for how we make our living. So often we hear of people referred to by their occupation, but there is always a private life outside of the work sphere. It is important to have a life outside work, a way of letting off steam and for getting work out of your mind, even if only for a few hours.

What do you do to let off steam and get away from work? Do you perform operas? Conjure tricks? Paint masterpieces? I suspect that there is a lot of hidden and diverse talent amongst the world of IT. Let me know what you do and why.