Niklaus Gerber

My thoughts on leadership, life, productivity, design, and innovation.
October 27, 2022

A personal update

I have exciting news. From the 1st of November onwards, I will be the new Director of the Digital Unit at Vorwerk International. I will focus on providing strategic leadership and operational management for our digital products and channels. Leading growth, advancement and innovation of digital products and working in partnership with ...
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September 20, 2022

Two iPhone tweaks that simplify my life

A new way to streamline your workflow on iOS, which you have not tried yet. I love to tinker with hardware and software. Therefore I have a lot of customisation on my iPhone. In the last couple of months, more and more people asked me how I set up these two specific hacks because they did not know it was possible. Keep your home screen...
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September 20, 2022

Good reasons to worry less about things you can't control

A fundamental lesson of Stoicism to reflect on. Stoicism is a philosophy designed to make us more resilient, happier, virtuous, and wiser. Practising Stoicism will help us become better humans, parents, and professionals. Stoicism holds that the key to a good, happy life is cultivating an excellent mental state, which the Stoics identi...
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September 20, 2022

Two mindfulness habits worth adopting: Small changes that help you to be more intentional.

I have been practising mindfulness for over five years now. I started with daily meditations to become calmer and more focused. But mindfulness and being mindful go much further than some lifestyle benefits. Being aware means realising specific things about the nature of your mind and being changed by these discoveries. Then the point ...
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September 20, 2022

Embracing the cold shower

I hated cold showers, and now they are my daily treat. I am sharing some tactics that worked for me to embrace the cold. Starting my day with a cold shower would never have crossed my mind. Besides swimming in the summer, I used to dislike cold water. Instead, I preferred to start my day with a hot and steamy shower that kept me toasty...
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September 20, 2022

Keeping track of human interactions

My system on how I keep track of whom I meet and what we talked about. My typical workday is packed with meetings and human interactions. Well-structured sessions should have the desired outcome and make it easy to derive tasks from them. My key learning is that many conferences or run-ins with people you will have are unstructured. Th...
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September 20, 2022

I prefer to read the weekly news

The new system I adopted gave me more time and peace of mind. I am a big fan of the book "Make time" by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. It changed how I think about productivity and helped me get more value out of the time I have. One thing that struck me while reading the book was to reduce the amount of news consumption. I am notorious...
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September 20, 2022

Self-reflection: A short overview of my preferred self-reflection framework.

Self-reflection is an essential part of our development. Without it, you miss many opportunities. But self-reflection is not something that comes naturally to most of us. Heck, I only learned about it in the last five years. But once you go down the path of self-reflection, it will change your life, probably for the better. Self-reflec...
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September 20, 2022

Strategies that helped me to procrastinate less.

I might help you improve your current situation if you struggle with procrastination. Idleness, boredom or low mental capacity are essential parts of life. You stumble upon too many articles that should help you to reach a constant peek of productivity. But that is not how it works. Every one should find a good balance of gettings stuf...
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September 20, 2022

How to keep your digital self safe

A short and actionable guide on how to stay safe online. The idea behind Better Human is to help you to become an improved version of yourself. Many of us spend a lot of time online and use various digital services. Unfortunately, multiple people do not understand how to keep themselves safe. This article will cover the essential thing...
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September 20, 2022

Fear Setting

Understanding your fear helps you make difficult choices, which can lead to happiness and peace. Tim Ferris gave a fantastic Ted talk about "Why you should define your fears instead of your goals". You can watch it here. “As he puts it: "The hard choices -- what we most fear doing, asking, saying -- are very often exactly what we need ...
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September 20, 2022

Mindfulness: Another idea if meditation does not work for you.

I started with a guided meditation using the Headspace app three years ago. Something that started as an experiment became a habit soon. Meditation has some strange effects. While you are doing a session, you might feel more focused or more relaxed afterwards. But somehow, it just seems that you spent ten to twenty minutes sitting whil...
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September 20, 2022

My thoughts on reducing distraction

How some small changes on your devices can help you reclaim time. I have been designing digital products for over a decade. You often want to ensure that your customer uses your product frequently. One way of doing this could be behavioural momentum. For example, if you spend ten hours per day on Twitter, you would think: I am intellig...
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September 20, 2022

How I type and listen faster and why it matters

Improving these core skills will save you time and make you more productive. Learning something new and exciting is something most people love doing. But reflecting on the last three years, I learned a valuable lesson. You should spend a reasonable amount of time improving skills you have already mastered. I spend a big junk of my day ...
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September 20, 2022

How I try to be kinder and more grateful. An experiment on shared gratitude.

Do you have a new years resolution? Do you want to hit the gym more often? Are you trying to eat fewer sweets or to reduce your alcohol intake? Many New Year resolutions have to do with making new habits or changing existing ones. It has nothing to do with just setting goals or sheer willpower. Furthermore, we tend to forget why we wan...
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September 20, 2022

Giving feedback is easy, receiving feedback is hard.

My thoughts and experience on why receiving feedback is demanding and how you can improve. Especially in the work context, a lot of companies are focusing on building a better feedback culture. Most of the initiatives I have been part of in my career have been focused on giving feedback. Feedback training sessions usually will teach yo...
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September 20, 2022

Put the fire with the rest of the fire. Choose your battles wisely, acknowledge when you know things are broken, but you decide not to fix them.

2020 was a particular year for all of us. Like many other humans, I had to juggle my family, homeschooling, work, being a good boss and having enough time for self-care. Stoicism is a philosophy designed to make us more resilient, happier, virtuous and wiser–and as a result, better people, better parents and better professionals. Stoic...
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September 20, 2022

Why do humans not provide a manual? And why they absolutely should.

By the rule of thumb, the more complex or complicated a product, service or machine is, the thicker the manual will be. I am not advocating that having things with long manuals is the way you should be building a product, but there is a clear correlation. If it is not self-explanatory, you need to provide additional context. Humans, th...
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September 20, 2022

Why we should talk less and listen more. My thoughts on why people don‘t listen.

Have you ever been asked what your superpower is? If you asked me, I would have multiple ones that come to mind. Listening is a skill that I did not have five years ago. Yes, I knew how to listen. But I did not hear. I am sure that the world would be a better place if people would understand how to listen. Why don’t they? Mainly becaus...
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September 20, 2022

Daily Pages: An easy way to build new healthy habits and to train self-reflection.

If you embark on your journey of self-improvement, it seems like you have to start journaling. I fully believe in the benefit of journaling (science also backs it up). Still, I never got into a good habit of writing every day. For me, it was always a very disconnected chore. In the last five years, I learned that regular self-reflectio...
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September 20, 2022

How I found a more mindful way to manage my todos. My tool-agnostic way to task management.

Research shows us that people with anxiety tend to be poorly organised. Organising your life is something you can learn. In my career, I helped individuals better at self-managing their workload. Sharing what worked for me and discovering what did not work for others helped improve how I manage my tasks. These days modern apps seem lik...
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September 20, 2022

Are you feeling like an imposter at work? Here is what helped me.

The feeling that your accomplishments are never enough and that your skills don't live up to the expectations of others is known as the impostor syndrome. It is this overwhelming feeling that you do not deserve your success. This little voice in the back of your head tells you that you are not as talented, intelligent and creative as y...
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September 20, 2022

A first step to become more confident and to embrace your learning journey. Reframing how you think.

In my experience, we are too focused not to draw any attention to our weaknesses. We try everything not to look ridiculous. We do not want to make a fool of ourselves. We miss out on many opportunities by putting all this stress on ourselves. It also has an impact on how we learn. We don't want to fail; we don't want to feel vulnerable...
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September 20, 2022

Remote team retrospective canvas

A retrospective is a look back. For teams, a retrospective is a regular event everyone meets to look back at the recent past and thereby improve future teamwork. It is a meeting where the team members reflect on processes, tools, skills, relationships, challenges and experiences. The feedback offers opportunities for the team as a whol...
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September 20, 2022

What is innovation? A beginner’s guide into different models, terminologies and methodologies

The world is fraught with problems that are difficult to solve, but that will continue to demand a solution. Rather, far-sighted, creative ideas and innovative solutions are required. However, solutions will not emerge from simple, linear planning and problem-solving processes. A degree of innovation is key in the current volatile and ...
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September 20, 2022

How Check-Ins and Check-Outs will help you to build stronger teams

People engage in rituals to achieve a broad set of desired outcomes. Rituals support a team to work efficiently and can be a way to change culture and habits and help you establish a framework for being productive. Many workplaces have their rituals. At Walmart stores, workers begin the day with a company cheer. At Yelp, salespeople ba...
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September 20, 2022

Business transformation: Thoughts on building innovation capabilities

“«The biggest threat to business today is not digital technologies or increased competition. It’s loss of relevance and inability to change.»” Why is business transformation difficult? Many studies over the past decade have revealed an over 80% rate of failure in digital business transformation initiatives (Rogers, 2016). We think that...
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September 20, 2022

A critical review of design thinking

““Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” (Tim Brown)” TL;DR • Design thinking is a proven, repeatable and reliable problem-solving process. • Design thinking is a prob...
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