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Episode Summary

How to focus is a key skill to develop, especially when we are bombarded by so much information and are at the mercy of so much distraction.   Having the ability to tune out the noise so you can tune into the important stuff is one that can be developed.  

There are a variety of ways to do it  and in this interview with Queen’s Counsel Nick Isaac, a very busy barrister, we explore how he does it.

About Nick Isaac

Nick Isaac is a property litigator with a deep specialist knowledge of Party walls, boundaries and easements.  He is described by Chambers and Partners, the world’s leading provider of legal research and analysis as “utterly brilliant in party wall disputes”. 

He is the author of the books Where is my Boundary, The New Party Wall Casebook and the Law and Practice of Party Walls

As a silk – which according to positions him with the bees knees of the legal world – he is a member of Tanfield chambers and relishes the challenge of difficult cases, last minute instructions and novel points.

He is the host of the Boundaries masterclass and Party Wall masterclass series of webinars aimed at educating property lawyers and probably knows the Party Wall etc Act 1996 better than anyone.

A seasoned mediator and arbitrator he recently did his first video mediation that lasted a full 12 hours.

Not satisfied with just dominating his corner of the legal profession Nick also has a passion for learning languages on top of the German and Chinese he studied at university.

In this episode we explore how to focus and concentrate on things that others might find boring and uninteresting.

Show Notes

00:22 – NIck Isaac’s Introduction

02:00 – The number of languages Nick speaks

02:39 – What drives Nick to learn so speak so many languages

04:17 – The drawback of being multilingual when learning a new language

04:47 – Why being multilingual helps learning yet another language

05:20 – How Nick deals with the potential embarrassment of getting something wrong

07:20 – Nick endorses my approach to learning enough Spanish to survive a trip

11:50 – The parallels between learning a new language and developing your productivity

12:14 – Nick explains what “busy” looks like for a QC

13:40 – Nick gives his overall definition of “busy”

14:20 – The wide variation in how unpredictably busy a QC can be, often at short notice.

15:21 – Nick explains the type of urgent work he does

16:10 – Nick’s two primary modes of work and how he transitions between the two

17:30 – The importance of understanding the structure of the information you consume

18:53 – The efficiencies he has in place for dealing with longer cases with volumes of information

20:46 – Speed reading and the part it plays in his work

22:45 – How to structure the way to read a large amount of complex legal information

24:43 – The best time of day to do your work and how to structure your day to do it

26:59 – Nick’s powerful end of day routine

27:48 – How to switch off at the end of the day even if you work from home

29:57 – Nick defines “productivity” in his work environment

31:14 – The importance of how to focus and concentrate for long periods of time and how to do it

32:10 – A clever little trick Nick uses to focus his efforts and produce results quickly

32:37 – His productivity superpower about how to focus and concentrate, especially when reading.

34:12 – The three biggest productivity problems people face

34:49 – How to switch your productivity superpower on when you want it.

37:07 – The success belief he shares with Muhammed Ali

38:14 – Why a love of languages is so useful for a Barrister

39:27 – How to be productive in court in front of a judge

42:13 – Why brain plasticity helps when responding to questions from a judge

43:05 – The factors other than preparation that help for success in court

44:51 – The productivity technique Nick wishes he’d had years ago that makes a big difference to his success today.

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Contact Nick Isaac

Twitter: @nickisaac_law


Nick’s Books, Products & Services

The Law and Practice of Party Walls

The New Party Wall Casebook

Where is My Boundary?

Nick’s Websites

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