What would you say to some budget ideas that could turbocharge how you conduct yourself in and out of the legal sector?
I admire people who are passionate, thrive, and have found a way to work without exhausting themselves.
Abhijat Saraswat fits that profile!
He is a legal technologist and the senior director at Litera, which enhances client experience by leveraging the benefits of technology. He is also the founder of Fringe Legal, a media brand producing cutting-edge content for legal innovators.
Abhijat suffered burnout once before, and as a result is now a master at spinning plates and enforcing great boundaries. By the end of this blog (or tune into the full Water+Air podcast episode if you prefer), you’ll have solutions that make you want to clap your hands together!
I’m in awe of how Abhijat develops and manages his interests. He explained that each one interacts with the others, so he stacks them on top of each other to compound the learning (for him and everyone he engages with).
Although these interests are complementary, I wanted to know if he worried about taking on too much.
Abhijat shared seven great tips to help us thrive in the workplace and have a personal life!
1. Block out dedicated time for YOU
Junior lawyers in particular love to grab every opportunity, but Abhijat recommends having a shut-off point.
Abhijat: “I will block times in my calendar that will say ‘exercise’ or ‘reading’. They’re a reminder to me and an indication to my team that I'm not available at that time. It helps. But really, what you have to do is get into a habit of putting your phone away and just not looking at it when someone does message you at that time, because it will seem urgent. And of course you have to make exceptions but it's tough.”
2. Make it a short sprint
Abhijat: “Test the waters. You don’t have to commit to everything forever. I decided to share a post on LinkedIn every day for two months, and if I enjoyed doing it I might continue. When I started my podcast, I committed to ten episodes. You want there to be enough that people can learn something meaningful, and you can evaluate if it’s something of interest or a fleeting phase, then you can gracefully back out of it and there’s no harm done. You will also learn a lot more because your focus is deliberate.”
Abhijat also dedicates a chunk of time on one day over a weekend to intensely focus on one topic.
3. Is it a f**k yes or a f**k no?
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a big advocate of “yes meaning yes” and “no meaning no” (see earlier blog), so I particularly love this next piece of advice.
Abhijat: “It sounds cheesy but you need to figure out what inspires you and makes you happy. For example, I am learning more about web3 at the weekend, so I check to see if that makes me feel excited or overwhelmed. If your answer is not a ‘f**k yes, I want to do it’, then don’t. It has to be binary. You don’t have to say no to it forever; it can live on your bucket list.”
Abhijat continued to share a great tip he’d picked up: note how you feel after specific meetings (use a colour code) so that you can see at a glance the work projects (or people) that energised or drained you. This helps you know in advance if you’ll want to go home and lie in a dark room! It can also help you schedule your meetings with more clarity.
4. Figure out what you’re good at
Abhijat: “If you are a legal professional, there are so many small nuances to your role that you do unconsciously. This might include negotiations, drafting, review or business development. You might be doing hundreds of different things in a day. Figure out what you’re good at and what you enjoy, and they may not be the same things!”
This is a really great insight into you as a person, the role you’re in, and where you might want to take your career. Typically, law is a reactive profession, but armed with the right information we can be more responsive and proactive about our careers.
5. Be open minded
Abhijat suggested that even when ideas seem obvious, we should stop to consider them.
Abhijat: “Just because they’re common sense, doesn’t make it common practice. Question whether or not you are actually putting it into practice.”
6. Utilise technology
Abhijat: “There is so much more you can accomplish as a combination of human plus machine. How can you utilise technology to do the things you don’t enjoy?”
7. Network and reach out
I’ve frequently mentioned the way in which lawyers perpetuate silo working, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that that needs to change!
Abhijat: “There is so much you can learn from adjacent verticals or sectors that we disregard because we feel that law is special and unique. It is, but it’s not so unique that you can’t use an idea that’s been proven elsewhere. Utilise and leverage learnings where someone else has already learnt from the mistakes. It doesn’t have to be rocket science! It’s about making incremental improvements every single day, which compound over time.”
As you know, Fuel+Move is passionate about installing new simple habits into our ordinary everyday life, which in turn can help create extraordinary results. I hope you’ve found huge value in what Abhijat has shared. I’d love to hear which tip was your favourite. Tag your comments with #waterandair on social media.
If you’re looking for support or guidance on curating the right law-tech solutions for you or your team, message Abhijat Saraswat.
And, if what you’ve read here has inspired you to create a version of success that’s built on a foundation of wellbeing and tailored to who you are and what you want, contact us at Fuel+Move to turn your hopes into reality and subscribe to the Water+Air podcast to hear more from inspiring speakers who have overcome many of the challenges you’re likely to face now.
Ab was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2015. He has worked for several large multi-national corporations across various sectors and holds a bachelor's degree in Forensic Science and Neuroscience from the University of Keele, UK.
Abhijat is a Senior Director at Litera, where he works with organizations globally to solve complex problems, leveraging technology to improve retention and enhance the client experience.
Abhijat Saraswat can be found here:
Parul is an experienced international lawyer, demanding client, disruptive consultant and thought-provoking non-executive director and board advisor.
She's advised law firms and big global brands like Nike, Speedo and Manchester United, as well as supporting inner-city social change programmes, startups and scale-ups. Fuel+Move is born of her passion to improve interaction with the legal sector and achieve a better experience with better outcomes for its stakeholders.
Parul Patel can be found here: