Tyler Cowen is an economist and general polymath. His blog, Marginal Revolution, is a long parade of his thoughts on a vast variety of subjects. He's not an expert on everything, but he has boundless curiosity and deep knowledge of topics as diverse as Sichuan food and game theory.
He's a knowledge worker; that is, he gets paid to use his brain. Recently, he was asked how he develops himself accordingly. Cowen has a lengthy list of regular practices. It includes:
1. I write every day. I also write to relax.
2. Much of my writing time is devoted to laying out points of view which are not my own. I recommend this for most of you.
3. I do serious reading every day.
4. After a talk, Q&A session, podcast — whatever — I review what I thought were my weaker answers or interventions and think about how I could improve them. I rehearse in my mind what I should have said. Larry Summers does something similar.
5. I spent an enormous amount of time and energy trying to crack cultural codes. I view this as a comparative advantage, and one which few other people in my fields are trying to replicate. For one thing, it makes me useful in a wide variety of situations where I have little background knowledge. This also helps me invest in skills which will age relatively well, as I age. For me, this is perhaps the most importantly novel item on this list.
6. I listen often to highly complex music, partly because I enjoy it but also in the (silly?) hope that it will forestall mental laziness.
For myself, I'm usually reading a work of high literature in addition to baser literature. I also try to learn at least one new technological skill, no matter how small, every work day.
What daily or regular practices do you have to develop yourself in an increasingly knowledge-based economy?