Swolmodoro: The Prologueimage
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Swolmodoro: The Prologue

Last March, I woke up one morning to find that my back was completely blown out. Without being able to twist my torso or move my neck, I somehow managed to get my stiff, pained, angry body from the bed, to the shower, to the closet and finally collapse into its default state hunched over the keyboard at my desk for another day of the grind.

And then, I cried.

Partially because of the pain in my back, but mostly because this is the moment when I realized that my life was killing me. See, for almost three years before this, I’d been spending most of my waking hours working on a company that makes tools for online creators called Lumastic.

I started Lumastic as a side project in college - a way of solving problems I had as an aspiring YouTuber. And back then, I was euphorically, contagiously excited about Lumastic. I couldn’t stop talking about it to friends and relatives. Because in my mind, it was this playful, creative, art project that let me explore what I valued and who I was.

But then, Lumastic became a "startup". And slowly, everything changed. I stopped wanting anyone to ask about it. I stopped playing and started working. I stopped creating an art project and started building a business. I stopped practicing values I believed in and started pitching value to others.

I stopped loving Lumastic and started hating my life.

The pain in my back seemed to show me the intense mental fog I'd been living within. And over the next few months, I tried my best to rekindle my relationship with Lumastic. To align with our values, I talked to my business partner, and we agreed to stop focusing on fundraising and bootstrap the company instead. I set a 9 to 5 work day for myself. I even started making videos and podcasts again to remind myself why I created Lumastic in the first place. But, ultimately, I decided to take a break and get a real job.

Within 4 weeks of that decision, I was starting my job at Simple Thread. And I told myself that I'd just take a month to get settled in and then I'd start working on Lumastic part-time. A month turned into two, two turned into three, and now, it's been almost five months since I pushed a commit to our repo.

And at this point, I think everyone is just waiting for me to end this blog post announcing the end of Lumastic. This is the part where I thank everyone, talk about how it was a good run, and say that I'm moving on. And trust me, over the past 5 months, I've thought about doing that. There is a large part of me that just wants to let this traumatic piece of my life fly away to the past. But I can't do it.

Because I still like the idea.

I still believe there is a need for project management tools designed for freelancers, makers, and independent creators. I personally still want a place to capture, manage, and organize my own ideas. And I still want to help make that place real.

But I'm still not ready to jump back in. Things are still a little too raw and even talking about Lumastic triggers a lot of bad feelings and memories. I know I'm not done, but I don't know how to go forward yet in a way that feels right.

I need to relearn how to play.

So, thanks to some encouragement from friends and loved ones, I've been entertaining a new project. It's called Swolmodoro and it's basically a pomodoro timer that prompts you with exercises to do during your 5 minute breaks. It's a system I've been using ever since I started at Simple Thread to work on my physical fitness and prevent me from spending 11 hours a day doing nothing but sitting ever again.

This post is getting long, so I'll talk more about the concept and share some design mockups in my next post. However, let it be known that I know this is not a billion dollar idea, and I don't give a shit if you even think it's a good one. Swolmodoro is my ode to remembering the joy I get from creating stuff I care about. I’m treating it as nothing more than what it is: a project that lets me flex my muscles - creatively and physically.

If you want to get updates about our progress with Swolmodoro, you can fill out this form and we’ll send you an email when we’ve got something to share. And, as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article.

Reach out on twitter or send me an email. Until next time.

Drew Lyton
Drew Lyton
Thursday, November 25, 2021

I'm a software engineer, ex-founder and writer who cares deeply about creating a better relationship between technology and society. I'm currently writing a book about early stage entrepreneurship.


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