Amy is a writer and philanthropist. She is married to Brad Feld ( for better or for worse).
If you're like most startup entrepreneurs, you work every day—Sundays, holidays, your birthday. This seems necessary since so much depends on you; but it's not. It's actually a terrible way to live, and simply isn't sustainable over the arc of an entrepreneurial lifetime. When you always have your head down and are focused only on what's right in front of you, it's impossible to develop perspective and ensure that you're heading toward the right goal on the horizon. Being as goal-driven and structured with your vacation time as you are with your work is an important step toward achieving that elusive work–life balance—and make no mistake, achieving balance is a huge achievement.
When you're caught up in the adrenaline rush, you get a lot done, but you also raise your cortisol levels and other stress hormones. Along with the likely sleep deprivation you're experiencing, this is bad for you. Taking a break, especially from all of your electronic devices, allows your brain and body to recover so that you can plunge back into the fray. Play is good for you physically, emotionally, and mentally.
My husband and I went to a hiking boot camp in which they had you do a life balance self-assessment by dividing your days into a pie chart of hours of work, play, ...