To get good at something, anything, you have to work incredibly hard. You have to dedicate a lot of time at learning and practicing something to really become excellent at it. 

When I started running, I wasn't that good. In between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I increased my training mileage tremendously (had the most on our team that year) and had about a two minute improvement on my 5k time. 

When I started working, I started reading a lot. Blogging a lot. Testing and learning things that were new in marketing. The more I worked, the more I learned and the more marketable I became as an employee. 

There's a definite correlation between hard work and becoming good at something (though I still have a LONG way to go professionally). 

Still - stepping away from that work and doing something completely different can help you advance just as much. 

Think about it. People who are serious body builders don't work the same muscles when they're in the gym. Our brains (and emotions) work the same way. It helps to build up different groups. Dedicating yourself to something at literally all costs is a great way to lead to burn out and turn a passion into a burden really quickly. 

So what does that look like? Hobbies. Hobbies that have nothing to do with what you get paid to do. 

For me, that looks like a lot of things. For a while, it was restoring old bicycles. Sometimes it's playing in a cornhole league. Other times it's something like reading a book, going for a run or working on a DIY project around the house. 

Stepping away allows me to rest those brain muscles that I'm using in my day job. It refreshes me and I think makes me better at what I do in the long run.

Even if you love what you do, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Totally stepping away from your work for brief intervals helps recharge and attack your work with a renewed focus. Better energy. And ultimately, better work. 

What ways do you step out from work and exercise different muscles? What helps you "get away" and avoid burnout?