“Someone wise said once that the quality of your life can be brought down to how you feel when you wake up and how easily it is for you to fall asleep,” Maciej Lobodzinski, founder of mindfulness app Stoic, tells us. After struggling with his own mental health and extreme stress, the developer set out to create an app that offers daily guidance to its users through self-reflection and journaling.
We spoke to Lobodzinski about the impact Stoic has had on his own life and the lives of his team members, and how he finds the big and small ideas that contribute to the app’s evolution.
Open Your Eyes, Open Your Journal
Lobodzinski, who developed the app initially for himself, continues to stick to the underlying concepts of Stoic. “Opening my emails in the morning, I’m immediately annoyed and less creative during the day,” he says. Therefore, nothing happens before he journals about his goals and expectations for the day ahead. “Mental hygiene is as important as brushing your teeth daily.”
It’s an outlook that Lobodzinski encourages his team—who work remotely across Poland and the US—to follow as well. Every Monday, the group of developers, content creators, and therapists go beyond discussing work-related matters. They offer each other personal support by making it a point on the agenda to understand what’s going on in everyone’s lives—something to unite the group across continents.
Mental hygiene is as important as brushing your teeth daily.
—Maciej Lobodzinski, founder of Stoic
Together, We’re Stronger
Brainstorming new feature ideas, such as breathing patterns and guided meditations and walks, happens frequently among the team, but these ideas don’t always come from themselves. In fact, Lobodzinski juggles designing and prototyping with speaking directly with Stoic’s users, who inspire most of what makes it into the app.
“I can’t imagine a week without having at least a few calls with users,” Lobodzinski says. “We’re building this app for people, so they should also have an impact on what we’re developing.”
Improving the Product, Improving Lives
While the interviews fuel many smaller feature ideas short-term, Lobodzinski also spends times on data analysis and research to inspire bigger ideas for Stoic. One recent objective was to make the app more personalized through guided journaling prompts and a trends overview that helps users to identify any meaningful changes, such as an inconsistent sleeping pattern. “I hope that we’ll be able to tell you what influences how you feel and what you should change in your day-to-day life to feel better.”
When Lobodzinski started out developing the app, he neither felt great waking up nor going to bed. That’s changed since working on Stoic and regularly using his own product. Now his work days end in a much more satisfying way with a beautiful reflection: “I feel much better than back then, and a huge part of it is that now I’m building something that has a meaning.”