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Wednesday / June 19.
HomemibusinessJust Do It. Say Yes Today

Just Do It. Say Yes Today

For many of us, making a decision to actually do something can take as long as the task itself. The late great Walt Disney was known to say: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”, or, in other words, as one of the most highly recognised trademarks in the world tells us: “Just do it”!

I’ve been thinking about writing this article for two weeks. As I drive to the office I go through my mental ‘To Do’ list for the day and this article is on it. I think, “I’ll just check my emails and then I’ll start working on it”, but then I get sucked into something else. Another priority, another task, another project. Before I know it, the office is starting to empty and it’s time to head home.

Am I a procrastinator? Having re-read that paragraph, I guess I am. I know I need to put some thought into the article… that’s the crux of it. I’ve been putting it off because I need to think about it. Does that sound familiar?

“How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’.” – Martin Luther

It is important to consider all options and to make informed decisions but the real trick is to get into the habit of attending to things right away.

All the time we are procrastinating we are missing out on the rewards. Your reward might be the increased sales you make from finally stocking that new range, plus the sense of achievement not only for having made the decision but also acting upon it.

Of course, the other benefit is that once the task is accomplished you can move onto something new and more enjoyable without the associated guilt of an uncompleted task hanging over you.

“Aptitude for good decision making is fundamental in business”, says Cam Battaglia, ProVision CEO. “For a business to succeed, it needs a leader who is able to make decisions in a timely manner. Procrastination will slow you down and prevent you from taking your business to the optimum. It is important to consider all options and to make informed decisions but the real trick is to get into the habit of attending to things right away.”

Productivity consultant David Allen, best known as the creator of the ‘Getting Things Done’ time management method, says: “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.”

There are many tools to beat procrastination, but here are a few of my favourites:

  1. Make a list and set deadlines for each task, then prioritise each task based on the deadline and the time needed to complete it.
  2. Don’t leave tasks half finished – once you’ve started, ensure that you complete the task and you can tick it off your list.
  3. Do the hardest task first, but don’t blow things out of proportion. Often getting started is the most challenging part.
  4. Change your work habits and eliminate distractions. Tell your colleagues that you don’t want to be disturbed for an hour whilst you focus on paperwork.

There isn’t one answer for everyone. Search ‘stop procrastinating’ on Google and choose whichever tools work for you. But whatever you do, implement something and start moving forward.

Why Say, Yes?

So, does it really matter if the decision is ‘yes’ or ‘no’? Just say your friend asks you to play golf early on Saturday morning… You have been looking forward to a sleep-in after a long week at work, but if you say ‘yes’ you know how much you’ll enjoy the game and the exercise. More often than not, saying ‘yes’ to opportunities that arise makes you feel better than saying ‘no’!

Alternatively, you are asked to support Optometry Giving Sight – a charity that directly relates to you and your business. Saying ‘yes’ has three major benefits.

Firstly, and probably most obviously, your donation will help to transform the lives of people who don’t have access to an eye exam and a pair of glasses. You know that 85 per cent of your gift will go directly to programs that ensure a sustainable solution. It may be directed to the development of a Vision Centre, it could be used to train an optometric professional or it could go directly to purchasing a pair of glasses.

The end result is that a child is able to see at school or an adult is able to work and provide for their family. This is where the second benefit comes in – you will feel good for having made a real difference.

The third, and often overlooked reason, is that it will be great for your business. Optometry Giving Sight provides optometrists with opportunities to involve their practice and therefore their staff and patients. Over the last few years, many optometrists have confirmed that their patients appreciate the support the practice gives to a cause they can relate to.

In 1997, 24 per cent of the British public believed when buying a product it was very important the company showed a high degree of social responsibility. By 2002, this figure had risen to 44 per cent.1

Nowadays, people are conscious of the multitude of social issues we all face: climate change, poverty (both in our own backyard and in developing countries) as well as health conditions – those avoidable and not. Faced with a water bottle with a pink lid supporting a breast cancer charity and another brand, which do you choose?

In a 2004 survey, 48 per cent of consumers surveyed switched brands, increased usage or tried or enquired about new products as a result of a Cause Related Marketing campaign2.

Stop Procrastinating

Research completed by Optometry Giving Sight shows that in addition to our existing supporters, almost 30 per cent of Australian optometrists have thought about making a donation but they just haven’t gotten around to it. Are you one of those 30 per cent?

Have you chatted to us at a conference and felt moved by the plight of the millions of people who struggle through every single day simply because they don’t have access to the glasses they need? And then, when invited to make a donation or to get your practice involved, said: “I need to think about it”.

You can make a difference but you need to make a decision to do so. The results of doing so are life changing. Consider the story of Ranmanike from Sri Lanka.

Caring for her disabled husband and school age sons on very little income was hard for Ranmanike. To compound the situation, her vision had progressively deteriorated over the last six years and living in rural Sri Lanka she didn’t have access to vision care.

Ranmanike received her first ever eye exam when the new Vision Centre opened in the remote town of Warakapola. Niroshan, who grew up just outside Warakapola, underwent a year’s training to become a Vision Technician. “I like to examine people – that is the best part for me,” he commented. “As a Vision Technician I like to give my best service to my people. I would like to thank everybody who helped us to open the Vision Centres in Sri Lanka.”

Say Yes, Today

Optometry Giving Sight’s new fundraising campaign asks you to ‘Say YEStoday for a better tomorrow’. If you are one of the 30 per cent who ‘haven’t gotten around to it’ make 2010 the year you ‘Say YEStoday’ for people without access to vision care.

Between 1 February and 30 June 2010, Optometry Giving Sight needs your urgent help to give 300,000 people the gift of vision. To do this, enough funds are needed to establish 10 community-based vision centres, equip five optical labs and train 27 local optometric professionals. Optometry Giving Sight anticipates that at least one of these vision centres will be in Haiti, and that it will play an important part in the reconstruction of vision care in the country, which was so recently devastated by earthquakes.

You can also invite your patients to help establish the Vision Centres by ‘buying a brick’. They can make a AUD$5 donation and write their name on a paper brick which they stick to the Vision Centre poster on your wall. It’s simple, fun, good for you and your business, but most importantly it will help transform lives.

Jo Humphries is the Communications Manager for Optometry Giving Sight. Jo has eight years experience working with eye care charitable organisations and is passionate about eye health in developing countries.

Say YEStoday for a better tomorrow. Visit www.givingsight.org/YEStoday to find out more or call (AUS) 1300 88 10 73.

References
1. Annual CSR Study, MORI, 2002
2. Business in the Community, Brand Benefits Survey, 2004