In Search Of Focus. The Notera Story.
A year and a half ago I realised that procrastination was becoming the kryptonite of many, including myself.
Scrolling twitter or instagram, endlessly checking emails and falling into some inexplicable digital rabbit-hole. These were daily, if not hourly, occurrences. Deep, focused work was a fleeting memory.
Looking into this further I discovered that there is in fact collective evidence that as a society our attention is fraying (check out this podcast if you’re interested in learning more about the attention crisis). Without the ability to focus and pay attention, our ability to achieve our goals in life is diminished. For me, I could see that my days were getting longer but my to-do list didn’t seem to be getting shorter. Something had to change...
I decided to “go analogue” in an attempt to recapture my focus. This meant minimising the amount of technology I was using, reserving it only for where “non-digital” solutions were unavailable or significantly less efficient. I wasn’t returning to carrier pigeons or letters to communicate with colleagues, but I started to switch to using a watch or clock in place of my phone timer for time management, and pen and paper for to-do lists.
Just as an alcoholic might remove alcohol from their house in an attempt to avoid temptation, I was reducing the number of times I needed to pick up my phone and so the number of chances I had to relapse and break my focus. It started to work. My productivity and focus quickly improved. However, it wasn’t long until another problem presented itself...
Mountains of scrap paper
At the time I used a moleskin journal for medium to long term planning and taking important notes, however I found myself not wanting to use it for my daily to-do list or quick reminders (”eg. call XYZ back”). These short term notes were only ever needed for a day or two, and would never need to be looked back on. So I started used pieces of scrap paper and sticky notes for daily to-do lists and reminders. This was where the problem began.
It wasn’t long before the paper waste started to pile up and I began to look for a better way.
Hello my old friend
Back at university I had always loved working on whiteboards. The freedom of the blank canvas. The lack of pressure in knowing that it could be wiped clean and you could restarted in an instant. I found my creativity and enjoyment of work skyrocketed. This was exactly what I needed for my workspace. I began to look for one online.
Large wall mounted whiteboards, stick on whiteboard sheets, plan A4 whiteboards that looked like ones I used in primary school, bulky folding desktop whiteboards.
Everything I found was either inconvenient for my workspace (eg. requiring wall mounting) or aesthetically unappealing (read ugly AF). While the latter might not have mattered to some, I had just got a new standing desk and was beginning to care how my setup looked.
I wanted something that was not only highly functional, but also fitted seamlessly into my desk setup and looked great alongside my other tech.
It was from this desire that Notera was born.