Even if you keep your laptop closed and Blackberry turned off, you likely think about work when on vacation.  But outside of the daily hustle and fire-drills, you likely think about work a whole lot differently. 

You aren’t as tactical, and you’re not as reactive.  You’re not thinking about things 30 minutes ahead.  Rather, you’re taking time to think about the bigger picture, the bigger ideas, the broader initiatives and focus areas that could really move your business forward.

Of course, getting back to the office and the mountain of email, voicemails, requests, meetings, etc. and it’s easy to go right back to reactive, myopic mode.

But we need the discipline to do both.  There’s a fair amount of the day-to-day we can’t ignore.  Depending on your role, these things keep the proverbial trains running on time and revenue rolling in.

But the different perspective you have outside of the office – on vacation, even sometimes at a conference or business trip – is important to capture, reflect on, triage and implement when you’re back in the fire.

Better yet would be creating an environment where you can recreate the “out of office” brainstorming and idea generation sessions on a regular basis.  

It could be simply forcing yourself to spend a couple work hours a week in a room separate from your office, and perhaps with nothing more than a pen, paper and bullet list of starter ideas or objectives.  It could mean doing the same with a partner or team. 

No matter how you do it, balancing daily execution with the “back from vacation” perspective is critical to keeping an edge, constantly innovating, and also keeping yourself fresh and energized about the opportunities ahead.