Unfortunately, when we are working, we normally do focus on some specific tasks that need to be accomplished in the shortest period of time, and with the maximum efficiency. That makes us highly productive at work, which is great, but on overall reduces our knowledge limiting it to what we use on a regular basis at work.
Hence, having a side project is important, as it is a terrific way of taking us out of our comfort zone. When you start a side project, nobody is going to answer the questions. There is no one you can directly ask something. As you are flying solo, you really need to evolve yourself to walk the path.
Do you want to learn web programming? Start a side project to create that website you always thought about.
Do you want to finish that book? Keep writing!
Do you want to create your first Iphone app? Start today better than yesterday to learn the required skills.
I know, is so hard to crash against the white paper.
But, there is no other way, and it never was.