After 50 years of working as a barrister, Stephen Twist shares his top ten tips to protect yourself against burn out.

March 28, 2024

  1. Scope your time – open your diary and scope your year ahead. Identify time-out-weeks and days, record them, and tell everyone who needs to know.
  2. Do the same for the current month, then the week, and finally your day.
  3. Set your rules – be clear as to what responsibilities you are willing to take on.
  4. Diary hygiene and lists – keep a daily ‘to do list’ – either on your calendar or separate note.
  5. Power down – after appointments, meetings, lectures or other events, schedule recovery/reflection time of at least 10 minutes before any other scheduled task.
  6. Don’t delay – always record meeting minutes and attendance notes immediately following the event.
  7. Optimise breaks from work by insisting on ‘buffer days’, allowing you to shut down before and catch up after every break.
  8. Short breaks have their place, but remember, longer sabbaticals are essential throughout a working life. Negotiate them into your contract.
  9. Two heads are better than one – consider the value of a work-buddy or mentor to help straighten the bends in a working life.
  10. Before explaining, give and receive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, rather than ‘maybe’.
Stephen Twist

Stephen Twist has been in continuous practice as a barrister since 1979 and has been a member of the North Eastern Circuit since 1988. Until the demise of the publication in 2017 he was listed as one of Britain’s most notable and successful people in Debrett’s ‘People of Today’. Stephen divides his time between the family courts, statutory regulation, and working as Arbitrator and Mediator. If you would like to instruct Stephen or any of the Family Team please contact one of the clerks here.