5 Rules for Maintaining the Skills You Already Have

Everyone knows the saying practice makes perfect but shouldn’t there also be a saying that reminds us that a lack of practice means we actually lose the skills we’ve already developed? Like a language you learned in high school and haven’t used for years or an instrument you played as a child that you can barely remember how to play now, your skills won’t just stay at the same level if you stop practicing them. Don’t let the skills you’ve developed slip away! Use these 5 rules for maintaining the skills you already have to make sure you don’t regress.

1. Evaluate the Importance:

Before you make an effort to regularly practice a skill you should probably evaluate its importance. Whether it’s something that contributes to your career, something that you enjoy in your free time, or something that helps in both the workplace and your personal life seeing how each skill you practice fits into your life can help you determine how important it really is to keep up with. Unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited time so dedicating some of it to practicing a skill you don’t enjoy or need could be a major waste.

2. Make a Regular Effort:

Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly making a regular effort to sit down and practice a skill is the key to keeping your abilities at the level they currently are or even enhancing them. If it’s a work-specific skill and you’re unemployed it’s still important to practice regularly. If it’s a hobby that helps rejuvenate you making a regular effort can help keep you focused when you’re working. Establishing a pattern of regular effort into each skill you want to keep sharp is the most important rule you can take away from this article, so don’t forget it!

3. Differentiate and Change:

Sometimes you need to look at something from a different perspective in order to understand it better. If you feel your skills are stagnating try paring similar ones together or learning a new skill that pairs well with your current skill. Mixing and mashing skills in projects, whether they’re on the job or in your spare time, is a great way to change your perspective and practice in a whole new way. This keeps your interest in each skill from getting stale and helps you stay motivated!

4. Meet Up With People:

Likeminded people are a great boost in motivation for maintaining a skill. Are there meet ups in your area that focus on a skill you want to maintain? Go to them! Are there people in your network you can meet with occasionally to discuss new developments or work on a side project that involves a skill you want to practice? Go for it! Practicing with other people lets you see things through other perspectives and learning is often easier if you’re teaching it to someone else.

5. Keep Notes in Case You Lapse:

No matter how hard you try sometimes life gets in the way. If you’ve let a skill slip away and want to get back into the habit of practicing it you’ll almost have to relearn it. One great way to make sure you can learn it quickly is to keep great notes when you’re learning and practicing a skill. These are notes you’ll be happy to have if you spend a decent amount of time away from a skill because it’ll make getting back into it a more familiar process.

Everyone wants to focus on learning new skills but if you’re not regularly practicing the skills you currently have you’re letting your current talents and value waste away. Don’t let that happen to you! Follow these 5 rules for maintaining the skills you already have to make sure you don’t let your relevant and valued skillset fade away.

For more career advice, check out our blog!