Not all time wasted is wasted time. (Or, at least that’s what I keep telling myself.)
I have to remind myself often that time spent learning instead of earning could yield greater benefits down the road. But it’s hard to justify spending the time on playing when you’re trying to meet a deadline or behind schedule on something. That’s why I’d like to propose that you “waste time” — at least a little bit — on each new project you take on. Commit to incorporating at least one new technology in each project that comes across your desk. Before you know it, you’ll be incorporating more advanced stuff into your workflow.
“Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.” — T.S. Elliot
Not using a CSS Preprocessor? Start off by using LESS or Sass/SCSS on your next project. Then, on your next project, incorporate a mixin library like Less Hat, Bourbon or Compass. Can’t figure out how to do something? Spend some time learning the skills you need through sites like Code School or Codecademy. Or browse sites like CSS Tricks, CodePen, and 24Ways for chunks of inspiration. Whatever you do, don’t get stuck in continually doing things the way you currently are: that’s the easiest way to get left behind.
Whatever you do, don’t get stuck in doing things the way you’ve always done them. Don’t be afraid to waste the time to learn something new with each new project or task you tackle. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. That wasted time isn’t really wasted when you’re improving yourself.