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By Frances McGuckin

With summer around the corner, people will soon be heading for the highway in droves, seeking the ultimate vacation. For many businesses, business will slow down. What a perfect time for you to also slow down and smell the roses. Hopefully, you have slotted in some vacation time for yourself to rest and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.

Although the dollars may not roll in as copiously as you would like over summer, it is a wonderful time to take a few steps back and reassess where you are going – and why. On talking to people over the last couple of years, there are some who have become jaded or burnt out or who have lost their passion from fighting to survive the last few years in a repressed economy and ever-changing business world.

When survival becomes such a strong focus, other important facets of life are often forgotten or are pushed aside because people are “too busy” or “too stressed.” Sometimes, we forget to take care of the simple – but important things in our life. I call them Fran’s Five Fs. Quite simply, they are fitness, food (the healthy kind), friends, fun, and most important of all, family.

These Five Fs are necessary and important ingredients in the recipe for a fulfilling life. Include them in your planner and make them priorities; it’s amazing how you will function at a much higher level in both your life and your business. Incorporating the Five Fs turns a host of negatives into positives. A daily dose of positivity enables you to think and act more clearly and creatively. So let’s look at each one in turn and see why.

1. Fitness: We all hear reports of our North American society becoming overweight and stressed out. In turn, these problems lead to serious illnesses. They also affect your ability to think and work at optimum levels. Now is the time to make the choice to exercise a little. Start by planning a regular, short walk. Make it a priority to spend 30 minutes a few times a week in the fresh air. It helps with problem solving, revs up the system and clears your head – all while burning a few unwanted calories. An in-home free-weight program keeps muscles toned and can aid in relieving stress-related aches and pains. If you need some direction, there are personal trainers who will come into your home and design a program specific to your individual needs.

2. Food: Learn to make healthy choices; eat regularly and slowly. Each time you eat, you make the choice whether to eat something healthy or something fat- or calorie-laden. Fast-food chains now realize that people need to eat healthier, so there is no excuse. Fill the refrigerator with healthy, low-calorie food and the pantry with low-fat, low-cal healthier snacks, such as low-fat popcorn, nuts and dried fruit. Ditch the junk food and keep the machine fuelled with good “premium gas.”

3. Family: Business owners can get mired down with work, often putting the family as a last priority. They are the most important people in your life, yet often the ones to suffer. Plan small chunks of quality time to re-connect with them and ensure that it is quality time. Plan for an annual family vacation – children grow up so quickly and teenagers need a strong, open and communicative relationship with their parents more than they openly admit.

4. Friends: More and more people who work long hours are complaining of spending little time with friends. Make a point of scheduling in some much-needed time with them. Never be “too busy” and neglect your friends – you need them more than you think. Having a friend to share the burden with and to confide in is essential for a balanced life. Often, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel where you can’t. Choose your friends carefully and avoid the “doom and gloom” negative people.

5. Fun: Think positive and be positive. Let yourself go and have a little fun. Find ways to ensurethat your employees also have some fun at work – make it a fun place for both employees and your customers. There is so much negativity these days that customers will remember your upbeat personality and attitude and refer you to others.

But 24 hours is not enough – right? Wrong! No one can argue that there are only 24 hours in a day. Yet these days, many people feel there is no time for themselves; certainly little time for the above Five "Fs". So here is the solution. Take the 24 hours and divide them into 48 half-hours. If you can't find one-fiftieth of a day for yourself for fitness and another fiftieth for your family, then maybe it’s time to rearrange a few priorities. What’s stopping you?

Start with a few small, positive changes – take baby steps. As you feel better about who you are and how you are feeling, it’s amazing how your business will benefit.

A Note from the Webmaster of Smallbizpro:
I found this article especially ineresting. In fact I'm going to organize a Green House raising! I'm off to Home Depot to get the supplies, Calling up some friends for a barbecue next week end and we can put up the Green house. Combining all your 5 F's,

  • Fitness - putting up the green house
  • Food - the barbecue
  • Family - my brother, his wife, my wife and daughter will be there.
  • Friends - my friends and their family over.
  • Fun - I think it will be a FUN day!
Professional Business Systems -

Frances McGuckin is a professional speaker, trainer, consultant and author of Business for Beginners and Big Ideas for Growing Your Small Business. She can be reached at 1-888-771-2771, e-mail at

This column is available for syndication. For information, contact Frances McGuckin at

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