While there are no vacation days for self-employed people, it’s important to take some time away to recharge, regroup, and just have some fun. It’s been a while since I’ve had a break, but I will be taking nearly a week off in October to go to Colorado! Before baby, I took an amazing, but short vacation to see my Green Bay Packers play at historic Lambeau Field.

First let me say that I realize entrepreneurs aren’t the only workers suffering. The average American worker leaves 8.1 vacation days unused, which adds up to 429 million vacation days going to waste every year. The problem is so pervasive that MasterCard recently spent big ad dollars on its #OneMoreDay campaign urging Americans to actually take vacations. In fact, ours is the only developed nation that doesn’t guarantee its workers either paid vacation or holidays. No wonder America ranks so low when it comes to work-life balance!

The self-employed do have some unique problems when it comes to taking time off. We don’t get paid when we don’t work and, in the case of solo entrepreneurs, we don’t have co-workers to pick up our slack when we are away. It’s hard enough for me justify spending an hour writing this blog when I have paying work in the queue!

It feels downright irresponsible to take an entire day or more away from paying work, especially if it means saying no to a project and potentially losing a new client or angering an existing one. Also, most self-employed folks don’t have a regular paycheck, so it’s difficult to spend money on a vacation if you can’t be sure when your next check will arrive or how big it will be.

Green Bay Packers fanThat’s why my trip to Green Bay, which took three days and cost me more than $1,000, was a luxury. Sure, only one of those was a “business” day and I did some work while I was there, but it was a vacation nonetheless.

My quick trip may not have been a bucket-list vacation to Fiji, but it did renew my energy, focus, and creativity. Research shows that taking time off from work, even if only a one-day getaway, reduces the chances of burnout while also making you more productive. If those benefits didn’t make my Green Bay jaunt worth every penny, then the smile plastered on my face during game day definitely did.

Your turn: How do you find work-life balance?