Plus: tips to deal with the killers.

Sketched by Anton Nikolov

When facing complex and overwhelming challenges, we are more predisposed to experience paralyzed thinking. In such situations, it is important to apply critical thinking, based on fact-based and rational arguments. Critical thinking is what allows us to adapt to the ever-changing environment. It is the discipline to formulate quality questions that allow us to gather information. It helps us realize what we don’t know and figure out how to reach the answers.

Being able to think critically means we can outline the assumptions, formulate well-targeted questions that can help us prove or disprove our hypothesis. Using critical thinking we can…

Thoughts on how to change the temperature

Drawing by Anton Nikolov

When you put many thermometers in a hot room the temperature won’t change. They will show the temperature as it is and do nothing about it.

As human thermometers, we have the tendency to point out how the temperature changes until it reaches the melting/freezing point. It is the path of least resistance especially when we are waiting for someone else to do something about it.

The uncomfortable temperature can be improved if only someone makes the effort. That someone can take what we are pointing out and do something about it. Yet, very few act to bring the change…

Why good enough is the way to excellence and value

With this post, I want to share a piece of advice with people who are starting their journey on the Designer’s path or have recently started.

Approaches like the Lean Design and Design sprints have become more or less the norm these days. Yet, it seems many new designers think they should only deliver perfect designs. If it is not perfect then it should not be shared or implemented.

This often makes me wonder what is the definition of perfect design. Based on what I’ve experienced, Design is the change that drives things toward valuable improvement. It is impossible to…

Optimize productivity while working from home during pandemic times.

There is plenty of info on working remotely and also many Designers are not new to this way of working. Going to the neighbourhood coffee shop drinking and making the world a better place has been around for many years.

The difference is that the governments these days are asking people to work from home and not the coffee shop or park, or beach. Due to the social distancing measures that are taking place because of COVID-19 we are facing a new level on the definition of working remotely. Working from home. Sometimes a big or a small physical space.

Peeking in the writer’s mind can be highly addictive.

Recently I was in an elevator where I was asked what I learned from all the books I’ve read this year. It was difficult to give an answer because of the short elevator ride. If I have to sum all learnings into an elevator pitch it will be something like this:

Ask, listen, understand and decide, let your frequent and consistent behaviour build a strong compound effect in everything you do, invest wisely your finite time, focus on getting better than yesterday and create valuable outcomes not only for yourself.

However, this probably seems like a very generic statement for…

Drawn by Anton Nikolov

Let’s talk about sticky products and how we use them in our daily life. If they are good or bad for us and what can we do to stay on the good side of using them.

Have you heard recently one of these pieces of advice from a wise friend?

“You should stop using Facebook/Instagram it’s a waste of time!”

“You don’t need a TV, it only eats up your time!”

“Stop looking at your phone (portable device) in bed. Your bedroom is only for sleeping and sex.”

“Don’t install APPs on your phone they only distract you.”

Essentially there…

Great people listen to what others are saying. Wise people listen not only to other people but also to themselves.

Learn to listen. Did you know that the word listen tells you how to do so?
It is an anagram of the word silent.

Don’t just be quiet but also be present. Keep your mind in the present. It will help you reap the benefit of listening. It will help you become wiser.

Even mother nature has given us directions of how much to listen and talk by giving us 2 ears and 1 mouth. …

Stress levels can escalate quickly if we don’t watch them. Stress levels are going up from several main aspects of our daily life. Work-related stress is due to the amount of time spent on work-related activities. Family, spouse and friends-related stress is another big part of what adds droplets to the stress container. Last but not least, lack of time to do hobby related activities because of the other two categories.

These 3 categories are the main culprit for feeling stressed. Sometimes to an extent of falling in depression and burning out.

So what to do about it?

Stress shows up on our door when the…

The more real-life experience I gain the more I realize how important the concept of feedback is for becoming a better human, designer, and for creating valuable experiences.

Thanks to the feedback we as humans have been surviving and evolving for millennia. Feedback is a key component of all the interactions we have, be it with living or non-living systems.

Feedback drives change and through change achieving the desired result becomes possible. Whenever a system/environment reacts to an action or/and behavior we can witness feedback happening. We use this new information to learn and get better. …

Should we always design to reduce performance load?

Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

The article is focused on the performance load in relation to what the user experiences, when using the product. The assumption is that the system/product is working within acceptable speeds and can bare the usage load.

So, performance load in the context of this post, means mental or physical effort that is required from the user when using products. Other terms that refers to the same are Cognitive load(mental/perceptual loa) and Kinematic load(force that causes motion e.g. physical effort for the human body).

I often hear fellow designers (including myself) who argument their decisions with phrases, which boil down to…

Anton Nikolov

Sharing what I study & practice. Pragmatic tips about designing, health and self-development with the hope it might help someone else.

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