Entrepreneurship can be a rich and rewarding experience.

Having the freedom to set your own schedule and create your own rules makes you feel confident and in control of your life.

Most entrepreneurs I know are creative individuals with a huge appetite for productivity.

They’re ready and willing to go the extra mile to keep their clients happy, to help them get the results they truly want.

But after months or years of continuous effort it’s only natural for you to find yourself feeling exhausted, even frustrated.

The sacrifices and the commitment needed to turn a dream into a reality makes the entrepreneur a prime candidate for burnout.

So, how do you avoid burnout?

Set realistic expectations

Many entrepreneurs set super high expectations because we idealise the ‘perfect’ outcome.

We assume that the expectations we set for ourselves and our businesses are reasonable and easily attainable.

Yet many of them are anything but.

It’s unrealistic to expect ourselves day after day to have the same level of high energy that’s needed to meet lofty goals.

We cannot expect ourselves to always be fearless and deal with difficult times like a to-do list.

There are bound to be times when for some reason or another we feel below par, even uninspired.

Times when we are sent on a course or in a direction different from the planned or intended one.

A strong work ethic and a sense of urgency is ideal, but we must learn to cut ourselves some slack.

One way of achieving this is to take our big goals and break them down into bite-sized steps.

That way we’ll know, even on those days when we’re moving more slowly than usual, that we’re still heading in the right direction and, if we stay on track, we will eventually get there.

Create a daily routine that works best for you

When I first started out in business I committed myself to mimicking the standard workday as much as possible.

I took an hour for lunch at midday and continued to work through any creative blocks until the clock hit 5.

Mornings were never ideal for me.

I knew I put in my best work when the sun was over the yardarm.

So I decided to experiment.

I began to schedule my day around my natural creative flow.

I found I was more productive.

And as a result, more successful.

I believe your individual success depends on finding the custom-fitted daily routine that works best for you.

When do you operate at your best – early in the day, in the afternoon or evening, or maybe you’re a night owl?

For best results match your patterns of activity to your individual circadian rhythms, ie. your internal biological clock.

Don’t make the mistake of chasing the wrong resource: hours in the day.

Working more is never the answer.

Schedule some “Me” time

Every high-achieving woman I have ever met has had one thing in common – a passion.

Being passionate about your work and committed to your goals can suck you into a culture that forces you to work far too many hours a day and too many days a week.

Generally women find it easy to switch mental focus when doing simple tasks, allowing them to do multiple things at once.

And that’s great, but the downside is the brain’s ability to make multiple decisions can easily tire it out, making it a less-effective decision maker.

Try not to take on too much.

Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Be sure to take breaks away from your work and other responsibilities by spending time relaxing on your own to reduce stress and restore your energy.