Founding User Stories 1

Founding User Stories 1

In this series, we're telling the stories of our earliest users. This week we have stories from our founders Matt & Evan on how Newday fit into their lives in the past week. We hope to share your story in a future update.

Building a New Work Skill (By Evan SC)

As a startup founder, I’m always looking for ways to expand my skillset to do whatever is needed. At Newday we are a lean team of two. I have the skills to conceptualize and draw UX wireframe mockups, something I usually do with pen and paper, and I am able to code up views.

One area that my skillset skips over is UI design. I want to improve my UI design skills so that I can create the design systems and mockups that I myself will be implementing as Newday's frontend engineer.

We’re excited about the potential for Newday Flows to help learners, so I thought I would take the chance to dogfood our own product to create a guided UI learning experience.

I divided a recommended e-book “Refactoring UI” into 6 segments. Each day, I’d read one segment of the book, then invest 40 minutes of “practice time” on Figma making mockups based on what I had read. I wanted my practice time to be guided – to feel more like a workshop with an instructor. This is where Newday Flows came in.

I created a Flow to split my time into several steps:

  • Get set up. (5 min)
  • Build a simple design system. (10 min)
  • Write a specific list of features I wanted to include in my mockup. (5 min)
  • Create a UI mockup applying the design system to the feature list. (20 min)

I had a great time and was happy with what I created. While I sometimes wished I had more time on a given step, using the Flow helped me keep moving. By the time I finished I had invested practice time across a range of skills.

A small design kit and draft screen mockup.

Newday is helping me become my own teacher! I love using the product we build to make myself a better builder.

Scaling back to keep moving forward (By Matt B)

Matt doing a shoulder rehab exercise.

Last Saturday I tweaked my right shoulder climbing a V5 slab problem. I felt dumb for pulling too hard in a compromised position, and immediately dreaded the repercussions the injury might have on my practices.

In the past an injury would likely have derailed my training. Thankfully, I've read Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, a book that underlies much of Newday's philosophy. Tiny Habits taught me that instead of pausing habits that could aggravate my shoulder entirely, I could just scale those habits back to a tiny, manageable size and keep practicing.

Since my practices can demand a lot from my body, I decided to take Sunday off entirely to let my body rest and catch up on healing. Then on Monday I got right back on the habit train, with modifications.

For my drumming practice I didn't use my right hand at all, because after a small amount of testing I noticed my shoulder reacting. For my taijutsu practice I stopped training a few skills on my right side, but discovered that many movements I train didn't bother my shoulder at all, to my delight. My stretching and meditation practices didn't require any modification. During meditation I did find myself extra mindful of sensations occuring in my right shoulder.

I found it hard to get started with my flows for two mornings. Because I had lowered motivation it especially helped to remind myself that as long as I start a habit I can celebrate, no matter how long I last. Even if I only do a single minute of drum practice only with my left hand, then I've still reinforced the habit of getting my drum out and playing.

A younger me might have felt quite demotivated by an accident like I've had, and let it sap the momentum of his practices. Thankfully my Newday flows have a momentum of their own. Combined with the Tiny Habits framework, I made it through this challenge with my full habit momentum intact.

Newday also helped me incorporate shoulder rehab movements into my life, and moving forward I'll add shoulder prehab as a practice.