One thing that I think some birders do that is basically the worst thing you can do is to neglect birding. I personally don't think you can call yourself a birder if you bird once a month. Put more TIME into birding. Or whatever your hobby or interest is. It will vastly improve your skill more than the best field guide, or the best pair of binoculars. Time is one of the most important things when it comes to anything. And we all wish we had more of it.