“I’VE LEARNED TO JUST AL­LOW MY­SELF TO FEEL SAD AND THEN MOVE FOR­WARD.”

JENNIFER DE HARO MAN­AG­ING AT­TOR­NEY AT REFUGEE AND IM­MI­GRANT CEN­TER FOR ED­U­CA­TION AND LE­GAL SER­VICES (RAICES)

Fast Company - - Secrets Of The Most Productive People - —As told to Pavithra Mo­han

Time she gets up 6:30 a.m.

First thing she does in the morn­ing

“I lis­ten to the news while I get ready for work.”

Pro­duc­tiv­ity phi­los­o­phy “Know your lim­its. In ev­ery line of work, there’s pres­sure to take on more. That’s es­pe­cially true in non­profit be­cause there’s

I over­see all the le­gal work and man­age our team of at­tor­neys, le­gal as­sis­tants, and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff in Fort Worth, Texas. That in­volves fig­ur­ing out how many cases we can take, [de­vis­ing] le­gal strate­gies, and man­ag­ing at­tor­neys and project man­agers in our [five] other of­fices. I have my own caseload as well, about 30 cases that I’m ac­tively work­ing on, and about 60 that are pend­ing.

I go to the de­ten­tion cen­ter about ev­ery other week. It’s sen­sory over­load. Heavy, locked doors are con­stantly be­ing opened and shut, mak­ing loud, bang­ing sounds, so it’s hard to hear my client speak. The guards walk up and down the hall with their walkie-talkies, and we can con­stantly hear their com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the other guards. It is very dis­tract­ing. The meet­ing rooms are bar­ren and drab, with flu­o­res­cent light­ing. It’s not con­ducive to peo­ple open­ing up and telling me about the worst mo­ments of their lives. It is a de­hu­man­iz­ing and drain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

I’ve learned to just al­low my­self to feel sad and then move for­ward. Af­ter I ex­pe­ri­ence sad­ness over hav­ing lost a case or some aw­ful new pol­icy, like sep­a­rat­ing chil­dren from their par­ents, I try to find an out­let—ei­ther ex­er­cise or talk­ing with co­work­ers. Hu­mor helps.

I also make sure to have reg­u­larly sched­uled self-care days in our of­fice where we do some­thing fun and take a break from the se­ri­ous na­ture of our work. I think it helps pre­vent burnout. al­ways some­body who needs help, and we want to help.

But I know that if I take on too many cases or too many com­mit­ments, it’s go­ing to stress me out. I would be do­ing a dis­ser­vice to the cases I al­ready have. And I let my staff know that: If they can’t do some­thing, they don’t have to feel bad about that.”

What she does with 15 min­utes of free time

“What I’ve re­ally en­joyed this past year is an on­line space where a group of other at­tor­neys com­mis­er­ate or share funny sto­ries. I like to scan through that fo­rum and see what other peo­ple are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing right now.”

Best habit

“Go­ing to the gym. When I’m tired, I know I still need to do it

be­cause it’ll keep me healthy and burn off some stress.”

Nightly rou­tine

“The end of the day is when I like to look at so­cial me­dia. I think there’s some study that says you’re not sup­posed to, but I sleep just fine.”

Time she goes to bed “A lit­tle past 11.”

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