A recent news item on Inc.com asked the question, "Are your employees afraid to take a vacation?"

You should pose that same question to yourself. It is easy to work all the time because the tasks of an entrepreneur seems to never be finished. But not taking a vacation is a huge mistake.

Tasks are the noise in the system of innovation, and they almost always try to muffle what is more important, which is to take the right strategic actions you need to build your business. Getting away from the office allows you to reconstitute a view of the company without all the daily noise created by tasks, people, and customers.

Of course, it isn't easy to get away. In the early days of Atari, I could not imagine taking a week off and being out of touch. I am sure that the first three years could have been much easier if I had just taken time to view the big picture without all the distractions.

Today, it is even harder to get that distance because of e-mail and cell phones. Can you really get perspective on your business when your BlackBerry hums constantly and pulls you back into the minutia?

Still, you must build the discipline to do it. There will be a payoff, I promise. I remember distinctly a September afternoon in a Paris café when one of the big ideas of my life was born.

The vacation was nice also.