How Much Vacation Do You Take?

Years ago, when I was at Inc. magazine, I used to edit Norm Brodsky’s Street Smarts column. Norm wrote many great pieces, but one in particular stuck with me. It was about a goal he’d set for himself once his box-storage and document-destruction businesses had matured. The goal was to take at least 16 weeks of vacation a year. The best part, Norm wrote, was that taking that time to ski or travel or simply get away actually increased the value of his business — by proving it could operate without him. And Norm did indeed go on to sell his business for a lot of money.

While increasing the value of your business by not working has obvious appeal, we all know that taking 16 weeks would be a stretch goal for most owners. Today, as I’m trying to build 21 Hats into a real business, the notion of taking off 16 weeks, or 16 days, or 16 hours seems fanciful. Of course, no one in my situation — the early days of a startup — expects to take vacation time. But I also know that even the owners of established businesses can struggle to get away. Which makes it a great topic to compare notes on—especially as we head into the holidays in this most trying of years.

In the comment section below, please tell us: How many days a year do you try to take off? If you’re succeeding at getting away, tell us what you figured out that lets you do it. If you’re not succeeding, tell us what you’ve tried and what’s stopping you. And once you’ve told us, here’s hoping you will then do your best to enjoy the holidays.