How does Jennifer Devor know she’s had a productive day? When she sees a teal unicorn leap across her computer screen, of course.
For this round of Work Hacks, we chatted with Devor, Campus Philly’s director of partnerships. She’s also mom to a 3-year-old, a civic engagement champion and a karaoke enthusiast. Here’s how she gets it all done while making time for her family and personal priorities.
What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any job-related work?
Lately my husband [Generocity columnist Tivoni Devor] and I have been trying to wake up earlier than our daughter (who is 3 and a natural early riser) so we can hang out and relax a bit before we start our busy mornings. So we wake up around 5:30, drink coffee and watch Good Day — shout out to my favorite Philebrity, Mike Jerrick. It’s been great to start the day this way.
Where do you work? Coffee shops, home office, company office?
The Campus Philly office is located at 2 Penn Center. We have a partnership with Herman Miller, who completely outfitted our space. It’s a open, modern, and I really love it. I’m situated by huge windows overlooking Love Park. My space is kept tidy and has personal items that bring me joy, like pictures and artwork. I also have some ridiculous things like gold pens and a heart-shaped ottoman.
When I am working on any one of my 94,568,657 civic projects, I am working anywhere I can squeeze in a few minutes — whether it’s taking a phone call on my way to pick up my daughter from daycare, or answering email on the couch while watching TV. I would probably benefit from more structure in this part of my life but for right now I’m just doing what I can.
What do you do to relax on stressful days?
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I just started meditating using the Headspace app and it’s completely changed me for the better. I am an easily excitable person, for better or for worse, and having 10 minutes a day to clear my mind is an awesome reset. And when meditation isn’t enough, I go straight to vices for instant gratification, like online shopping, booze and karaoke. Karaoke is an amazing release!
What’s your KPI for every day? How do you know it’s been a productive day?
Nothing feels better than crossing off an item from my to-do list. I have been using Asana for both work and personal tasks and I have been really happy with it as an organizational tool. When you complete a significant amount of items off your Asana list, a unicorn graphic leaps across the screen — when I see that unicorn I know it’s been a productive day.
What motivates you about your work?
My love for Philadelphia. I try to move the needle to the best of my ability — whether it is my economic development work through Campus Philly, being a public school advocate or involved with local politics, I know it’s less about the immediate result and more about the long run, the “big picture.” And really, there are so many wonderful people and organizations that are doing similar work with the same good intentions, so it’s wonderful to collaborate and bring each other up together.
When life gets busy, how do you make sure you make time for your personal priorities?
My family and I eat dinner at our dining room table almost every night during the week, and we celebrate Shabbat at home on most Friday evenings, usually followed by a board game or movie. Being unplugged and in the moment during these times lets us catch up with each other, plan for the weekend (which are usually packed with kids’ stuff) and just focus on enjoying each other’s company.
What’s a time-saving life hack you practice?
Honestly — and I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a dweeb, but — being over-prepared always saves me time in the long run. If I can take a minute and think about the different scenarios I might land myself in, whether its while managing a project, planning an event or working on a campaign, I can predict resources I might need and challenges I may face and be prepared in the event they should happen. It allows me to act fast and make quick decisions. No shortcuts here. 🙂
What’s your preferred workday soundtrack?
I don’t know if this is unusual or not, but I can’t listen to music or podcasts when I am working, I just like to hear the sound of my keyboard and whatever ambient noise is happening around me. I will say though that on my way to work, I listen to music to get pumped up for the day, like Missy Elliot, Nicki Minaj and Lauryn Hill. It puts me in a confident state of mind so I can focus on getting the work done.-30-
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