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December 04, 2012

To Freedom and Health!

December 04, 2012

Crow Pose via lululemon athletica on flickrWe're nearing the one year mark for our freedom policy at SmallBox. When Jeb first announced this new benefit, the day dreams of spontaneous trips to Paris weren't far behind. I love that it's an option, but truthfully with family, financial and other obligations, I can't use our freedom policy for trips of that scale at the drop of a hat. While I love the possibilities it presents, I also wanted to find a more practical way to make the freedom policy work for me.

The rest of the 'Boxers have used the freedom policy in many ways - I've taken "creative sabbatical" days, some people have set work from home days, Tyler took a 3 week mission trip to Ukraine, Jeb took an east coast road trip to visit friends, working along the way. The way I most benefit from our freedom evolved from some things I have learned the more time I spend sitting at desks facing the pale light of a computer screen:

1) I do my best work when I sprint through projects in a few blocks of time, with substantial breaks from the screen in between.

2) My brightest, most productive days involve a heightened level of physical activity.

I modeled (and continue to tweak) my work schedule to reflect this.

On the mornings I go for a run, I usually show up to the office later. And that's totally okay. No one is watching the clock, making sure I'm in the office from 9 to 5. A year ago, one mile would have been a great challenge for me, and I'd have hated every minute. Today, I thoroughly enjoy a 3-miler and am considering tackling my first half marathon (should I go for it in 2013?).

I have a set day where I leave the office in the middle of the afternoon for a yoga class. I block out several hours of what would be typical work time for this. No meetings, no calls - just taking that time out for my health. I make it religious. I don't think I was forced to sacrifice weekly yoga once.

I can't begin to fully describe the benefits of focusing on my health in 2012. I feel better, happier and do better work, but there's more than that. The health focus is helping me tackle my personal beast, my one big goal to find better focus.

One of my yoga instructors recommends at least 15 seconds of headstand-ing per day. The first time I managed to get myself in one it was a little (okay, a lot) scary. But afterwards all the extra blood flow to the brain created this unparalleled mental clarity I hadn't felt in years.

Without the flexibility in schedule, I don't know if I would have been able to achieve my health goals of running 3 miles twice per week and (finally!) getting into crow pose. I didn't originally expect to use our freedom policy this way, but I'm awfully glad I did. It isn't anything so grand as trying to solve world peace or making big change in our community, but for me focusing on my health in 2012 was the wisest decision I made all year.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today's prompt: "What was the wisest decision you made this year?"

p.s. That photo is certainly not me - my version of crow might not yet look that graceful!
Image credit: lululemon athletica via flickr

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