I just returned from vacation with some friends of ours from Switzerland. We rented a villa in the Caribbean for a week. This was truly one of the most enjoyable vacations I can remember taking, save for my honeymoon. It reminds me of why I work and why I have this business. Its ultimately all about spending time with the family and enjoying life and the world around us. In the U.S. we tend to take vacations for granted, and are often pressured into skipping, either from our colleagues and employers or out of our own self-guilt about shirking the work habit. The latter has always been my case. I do not like leaving in the middle of a project, but there is always a project.
The two weeks before I left I was working 60-70 hour weeks, not including travel times to clients, nor non-billable work such as invoicing, sales, self-study, and all around maintenance tasks on my computers and servers. I was burned out. The day I left I was working on 4 hours of sleep and had developed a migraine, yet kept working. When I finally puked up a burrito I had quickly scarfed down at lunch, I realized it was time to hang it up and call it quits until today.
Its amazing how clearly focused you feel after a long break. I really wish I had done 2 consecutive weeks (and so does my wife and kids!). That said, I am back, and in full swing ready to tackle the next (and current handful of ) projects.