The day-to-day life is where you live, but over the long-term it's easy to lose focus. Every once in a while, give yourself a day or so to stop everything, think, and refocus on what your long-term goals are.
Photo by Alan Cleaver.
As productivity site A Life of Productivity points out, most of us need time to step away from the series of daily tasks that all lead into each other to look at the long-term trends of our lives. Microsoft founder Bill Gates takes a week off from work every year to detach, think, and get a different perspective. Most of us likely can't afford to ditch work for no other reason than to think about our work (at least without sacrificing similarly necessary vacations), but a day is reasonably doable:
When you step back to think hard about what's most important in your work, and invest in your knowledge and skills -- whether by acquiring new knowledge, firing up Lynda.com to learn something new, or having coffee with people you want to learn from -- you level up in your work to work smarter, instead of just harder. The ritual pays for itself.
Unlike a vacation, the think break is supposed to be devoted to the broad strokes of your work, rather than the details. You can take some time to brush up on a skill, brainstorm projects, read a book, examine your current workload to find ways it can be improved, or simply asking yourself if you're satisfied with your work. The specific task doesn't matter as much as taking a break from the everyday minutiae to see the big picture.