So far I had a quite straightforward approach to regular vacation: 2 weeks in summer, 2-3 days in winter holiday season (to fill the eventual gap between X-mas & NY) & ... that was all. There was always so much to do & I have never felt a particular need to get any days off. And I've never feared of burnout: even in crunchtimes I was always able to find a way to remain sane & in control. Even without vacation I had no problem with work/life balance & having enough time to do what I enjoy. As a side effect of such life-style, during all those years I've collected few months of overdue vacation.
When I've got another warning from HR, after all those years I've decided to start utilizing this vacation pool before it expires - starting with 2.5 weeks right now in winter. And ...
... THIS WAS AWESOME :)
Yes, it doesn't sounds like a great discovery, but I think I've never felt so re-charged in my life even keeping in mind that I didn't do anything spectacular like Hawaii trip, skydiving or heavy partying ;) What I did was just spending 2.5 weeks on what I always wanted to do WITHOUT thinking about work or any stuff directly related to work - seriouly, I didn't even check e-mails.
Among other things I've ...
- spend a lot of time with my family
- read a lot (both tech & non-tech stuff)
- listened to music
- watched movies, TV series & a lot of Pluralsight / tech talks
- visited few restaurants I had never eaten at before
- played various games
- learned foreign languages
- even painted miniatures
- in the mean-time did a lot of programming (but NOT related to the stuff I work on nowadays)
- ... and what is most important I made a lot of plans for 2015 (what to start / change / get rid of)
I did all of this because I ENJOY ALL OF THIS PARTICULAR STUFF. This was my own version of "Work hard, play hard.", a bit different than what you can find in "Corporate Cultures" by Terry Deal and Allan Kennedy.
It made me feel sort of free & I didn't even care about the approaching end of vacation. I have so many new ideas & so much energy to force them upon the World, that it would be a sin to make the World wait ;>
Don't repeat my mistakes, make sure you use your vacation. It's seriously under-rated :)