I believe having a consistent desire to improve ones self on a professional level is a curse for many in our industry. It is at least a curse for those that care about the work and not just making a buck.
That said, this curse is a curse. Consistently discovering new and better ways to do things can have significant effects on the way you take on and see through a project. With the day-to-day being so extremely variable, everything is likely to change with the wind, and that can be disastrous for some people. Personally, I love it.
One Sure-Fire Way to Improve Your Coding could have very well been written by some guy who was shadowing me for the past 3 years, spying on my every move. I practice nearly everything mentioned in the piece and I really hope you do the same.
I love the detail this piece goes into, not only describing methods of improving yourself, but also some really solid guidelines on how to make the most of your time.
I love that the take home message, though, is that one of the best things you can do to improve your code is to read someone else’s. The next time you’re impressed by something, do what you can to crack it open and figure out how problems were solved on an intimate level.
If you’re impressed by a website, try to see what the designer saw. If you’re impressed by a plugin, open it in your code editor and figure out just how they did it. $10 says you’ll learn something and implement it at your next opportunity.