Sharpen your skills. This is usually meant in a very specific way, whether you are studying something technical and precise, or aimed at a specific field or job.
But as a Renaissance-minded creative, or jack of all trades, or generalist, as you might call me, I see that it can apply to anything, which can make it hard to decide which skills need to be sharp.
You can sharpen all of them. not all at once. But if you choose tasks and interests that you like, try to pick one where related skills overlap. This lets you sharpen the same skills but with more bang for your buck. Plus, that efficiency will help when you need to work on a skill that is more specific to a required task. Especially mentally, having covered several areas already reduces the stress of having to focus on one thing and make other things wait.
If you’re trying to build your muscles or exercise more, you should have a regular exercise program, but you could substitute helping people move furniture or rearranging and reorganizing your house and garage. Any excuse for lifting things is using your muscles right? *
Just make a habit of it. Being aware of what you’re doing and how it can affect your other desired skill sets.
I can type, I play piano and guitar, and I’m good at massages. All of these things use my fingers and hand muscles, and I try to improve my dexterity by changing angles, styles, or even switching to my weaker hand when doing simple tasks, which has improved my left hand bassline playing on the piano, for example.
When I quit my cubicle-based job to be a stay-at-home father for my daughter years ago, I joked that I was leaving a tiny workspace with randomized duties and a diminutive boss who would yell to get his own way, always decided he was right, and didn’t listen or care what I was saying, to take exactly the same job but with no commute.
I have used my corporate skills throughout her childhood, from organization through quality control, presentations and conflict resolution.
If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent and are reentering the business world, or joining it for the first time, realize that you can use those lessons that you learned at home with no commute everywhere else.
We are all children at heart, and the ones with less heart show their childishness even more.
The only thing missing (unfortunately) is the opportunity to call a timeout. But you can chuckle inside at the silliness of it all anywhere you go, and your sharpened skills can cut through anything.
P.S. I miss regular pencils and that cool wall sharpener. I miss the smell from sharpening, the texture and feel of the pencil, the shading you get from holding it at an angle, and having an eraser that takes away your mistakes. I do like the convenience of mechanical pencils, until they run out of lead and you realize that you can’t just get up from your desk, walk to the wall and grind them for a few seconds so that they work right again, especially when you’re out of lead refills.
* Full disclosure: Currently recuperating from a car accident, I am taking any excuse for not lifting things. But it will come back to haunt me, as I have gained 5 pounds already.