By now almost everyone has heard of the 10,000 hour rule, as proposed by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, "Outliers": Being great at anything requires 10 years of practice, 1,000 hours a year. But what does that mean in business -- especially during a recession? "Don't let down time become wasted time," says author and entrepreneur Bill Taylor. Take advantage of slower work days to practice a single skill, whether it's making a pitch or writing a press release. "Find ways to work intensely and deliberately on your technical and business skills, confident that hard work will pay off in the long run."

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