Our company started a department challenge this year. The challenges are wellness based and they bought a really ugly trophy to be passed around to the winners. The idea is to add something to represent your department to the trophy if you win it.

Yes, it's supposed to be ugly.

The first month, the challenge was to send a daily #healthyselfie. I went with the easy ones of me drinking water, unpacking my organic fruits and veggies, weighing in for our "Maintain, Don't Gain" competition and one controversial entry - drinking a glass of red wine.

Red wine is healthy, people!

While the wine picture got accepted, the acceptance came with a long missive on the dangers of consuming too much alcohol. Whatevs, way to be killjoys.

Despite trying to motivate our team, we didn't get enough pictures to win in January and February was not much better. That month's challenge was "Stretch". You were supposed to stretch every day then record it on our Fitness App. I personally forgot to do it (many) more days than not. So. Much. Work.

However, March's contest was made for us! The "Sleep Tracker Contest" had the simplest of rules and process. Go to bed and sleep then record the hours you slept on the Fitness App in the morning.

Since I keep my phone by my bed, this was easy peasy. I would literally wake up, roll over to grab my phone and record the hours slept before scrolling through my email and Facebook just like I do every day. I only missed two days for the whole month and they were when I was on vacation.

The scoring for the Sleep competition was the most hours recorded divided by number of employees and days. We ended up logging 1,251 hours in our department and dominated the competition.

Boy, did we get grief, though. "Of course, I.T. won. All they do is nap over there."

Sore losers. And, people who don't want their computers fixed. Clearly.

The pressure from the challenge wasn't over with the win, however. We had to decide what to put on the trophy. After some brainstorming, we decided to go with our favorite show, The IT Crowd as our inspiration. We recorded Chris O'Dowd's classic "Have you tried turning it off and on?" line and put the speaker in a box where the recording is activated by a light sensor. Open the box and the message plays!

Bonus picture of Moss!
Prominently displayed!
Ready to pass it on.

Of course, the idea behind the monthly contests isn't just to give us opportunities to trash talk each other. It is truly to encourage healthier behaviors. While I won't give up my red wine, I readily admit that I slept more because of logging the time. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue and I was probably averaging 6 hours before the contest and 8 hours during. I've fallen back to somewhere in between but am still getting more rest than I was before the contest. I feel better, too.

Once we won, I was on the prowl for a second win. Because, I am motivated by opportunities to trash talk my colleagues. And, those mean sleeping comments had be to be combatted.

And, we did it again! April's contest was to Simplify and Declutter. You had to clean up both a work and home space and the company even brought in a big portable shredder (in the back of a truck, it was cool to watch).

I shredded corporate purchase orders going back to 1999 but I kept the oldest one from 1998 as a memento. I also cleaned out my fridge at home which has made me happy every time I open it.

However, I'm not worried about having to pay Pat Riley to use Three-peat because May's contest is to decrease TV or Social Media screen time. That's so not something we're willing to do.

(Interesting fact from Wikipedia - Riley gave up the trademark in 1990. Maybe, now that I won't have to pay him, we'll try for it...).


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