Cookies and fruit.

We have this weekly event at work that we like to call the “Open Government Cookie Break.” On paper, it’s an opportunity for anyone to come chat with us, every week in our office, about some of the ideas and questions they may have about open government and the future of the public service.

In reality, however, it’s much more than that: it’s an excuse for people to have fun at work. We provide cookies (sometimes, fruit), sure, but what we’re really offering is a time and place for people to forget about the doldrums of the work day, to forget about deadlines and briefing decks, and instead meet new people from around the organization, talk about what interests them, and remind themselves that work isn’t always about deliverables and measurables. What these weekly cookie (and fruit) breaks really hope to accomplish is to encourage people to smile, eat sugary treats, and remember why they work here in the first place.

That time for reflection, the time to step away and remember our own raison d'être — that’s an important time to make in all our lives. It’s easy to get caught up in all the things we have to do without thinking about why we do them; getting caught in that cycle was the story, sadly, of my September. I need to remember, we all need to remember, that making time to really reflect upon who we are and what we do is very important to our health—even if eating cookies might not be the healthiest thing, all the time.