WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT
Let us assume you are totally committed to being successful in your occupation or profession. This means you work hard and often put in long hours. After a while, there is a danger of you becoming stale and losing your edge, creatively or otherwise.
The primary purpose of vacations is to enable you to recharge your batteries so you return to work afterwards re-energized with a clear head and fresh perspective. Vacations are also intended to give you an opportunity to spend some time where you can concentrate 100% of your attention and energy on your family and partner.
The best holidays are those where you travel to a location or part of the world that is totally different from your everyday environment, somewhere that exposes you to different cultures, surroundings, customs and people. Another excellent type of holiday is one where you are engaged in a challenging activity that forces you to concentrate all of your attention on it, like mountain climbing, hiking, snorkeling, skiing or some other kind of adventure.
At the beginning of each year, schedule your holidays and confirm with your supervisor that the timing is satisfactory. Try to take two or three weeks off on your principal vacation as opposed to taking a lot of short holidays. Remind your supervisor of your vacation plans as you get closer to the date of going away. Try to resolve any outstanding work conflicts prior to departing.
During your vacation, unplug completely from thinking about anything to do with work. Do not call into the office to find out how things are going. Do not check your work e-mails or phone messages. Do not take your laptop or any reading materials that have anything to do with work. And, leave your BlackBerry at home.
Establish the ground rules for when someone needs to contact you, ideally only in the event of an absolute emergency. Give a colleague the full authority to make any necessary decisions on your behalf while you are on holidays. If people at work cannot continue to function effectively when you are away for two to three weeks, then something is wrong with whom you have hired or how you trained them.
For your own well-being and sanity, always take your full allotted holiday entitlement and do not try to carry over part of it into the following year. You owe it to both yourself and your family to do so.