Social Media Sabotages My Product Design Aspirations: An Email Course

I grab my phone and start swiping, looking for something to engage my wandering mind. Only to realise I've eaten up another half an hour of my day.

All the people I look up to have these big numbers on social media. I assumed that being successful meant I need that too.

On my 29th birthday, I realised I got it all backward. I thought to be ‘successful’ meant I needed lots of eyes on my posts. That's not it. Your follower count increases when produce something noteworthy.

Seth Godin put it brilliantly:

“The Mona Lisa has a huge social media presence. [..] But she doesn’t tweet. She is big on social media because she’s an icon, but she’s not an icon because she’s big on social media.”

Read Seth Godin’s 2018 article here.

I stopped being on social media until I produce something noteworthy.

Death-scrolling: The Endless Social Media Feed

It’s been 14 days since I quit death-scrolling. I have found inner peace now. Ready to ascent to Nirvana.

Okay. It’s not that drastic. Nothing much has changed, to be honest.

My screen time went down by 30%, according to my phone. I also get more things done in and around the house. So, that’s nice.

I still grab my phone looking for something to scroll. But, there are fewer things there to hook me. The news app gets boring quickly.

“Why do I spend so much time thinking about social media when the heart of what I do is product design?”

Shouldn’t I be designing instead of waste time thinking of ‘the next big post that gets me likes’?

The Need to Trick Myself in Using Less

I do not have much self-control when it comes to these things. So, I need to hack myself into a mode. The tiny alterations you make adds up to big change. James Clear’s Atomic Habits is a great write up on that.

I did five (obvious) things to make a change on how I use social media:

  1. I placed productivity widgets on my home-screen instead of social media app icons. Go iOS 14.
  2. I removed the death-scrolling apps from Siri’s search results and suggestions. (Else, the time wasters would be a down swipe away.)
  3. Set Apple’s Downtime from 20:30 to 09:00 where it blocks all non-essential apps.
  4. Put time restrictions on my biggest time wasters: Youtube (1 hour max) and Instagram (30 minutes max).
  5. I logged out off all social on my laptop.

That extra friction gives me time to repeat my mantra. “Why do I spend so much time thinking about social media when the heart of what I do is product design?”

It had a surprising positive impact on my productivity.

Replacing That Wasted Time With Something Useful

I’ve started writing a 7-day email course on Product Design. It’ll include over 10 years of experience in marketing and design condensed in a no jargon email drip.

It has so many moving parts. I underestimated it. Here’s an excerpt of my to-do list:

  1. Research and write the actual course,
  2. Design the PDF of the course (to sell via Gumroad)
  3. Write/design additional emails,
  4. Design and program a landing page
  5. Plan the social media strategy
  6. Setting up marketing automation
  7. Set up a reach out program
  8. Prepare for launch on Indiehackers, etc.
  9. Clarify the income tax situation with this idea

I’m planning on releasing it around the end of February 2021. If I have not fallen back into my old habits by then.

Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in signing up. I'd put you on some early adopters list.

I’ve quit social media not because of mental health. But, because it sabotages what I want to achieve. That it took my 29th birthday to realise that, is beyond me.

Social media attention is the result of you making something that matters. Not because you're good at social media.

Comment below, do you think social media is distracting you from achieving your goals?

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