I drove to my networking meeting this morning and I take the Merritt Parkway (one of the more beautiful highways in the U.S.). I got off at the North Street exit and next thing I know, I’m on the Post Road.

10 minutes evaporated from my life — it’s like those X-Files episodes where people lose time when abducted by aliens. One second I’m exiting onto North Street and the next, I’m on the Post Road. I was on mental cruise control.

Is you business or career on cruise control? One second you’re celebrating the start of 2016 and the next, it’s June 23 — half the year has gone by. All those amazing plans you had in store for growing your business or getting that promotion are almost gone. We all know during July and August everyone’s away — and next thing we know it’s September — almost the end of the year.

Why does this happen? We get TOO caught up into the ‘maintenance’ of our business/career — servicing clients, making the donuts, etc. — and not enough time in ‘development’ — investing in new products, delivering a new project, etc.

We spend ALL our time on running our business/career and not enough time planning/developing/launching new improvements. This happens frequently in the IT and Manufacturing industries — too much maintenance and you’re going out of business because a competitor has beaten you with a better/faster entry.

Step back and spend 1 hour a day on developing and executing future plans for your business or career. Where does your business need to go in the next 5 years? Where does you career need to go — up at your current company or out?

Don’t get caught on cruise control — you might drive right into a tree.