The On Deck Fellowship Week 2: How To Stay Focused

Amanda Emmanuel
3 min readApr 26, 2021


Looking back on week 1, the most thoughtful aspect of the On Deck sessions was several alumni sharing their tips on how to best use our time during the 10-week fellowship.

I did a bit of my own independent research with a few On Deck Alumni friends by asking them the same questions and the results were effectively the same: stay focused.

Preparing to be overwhelmed

By Friday of week 1, I was already feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the options: meet new people, build my business, join sessions, etc. So I thought to take some of the alumni advice and planned a mini experiment for myself for week 2.

Here are the top 3 things that what worked for me.

3 ways I stay focused in On Deck

1. Set a weekly goal

Several alumni repeated the value of having a weekly goal. Some went as far as to say, “write your goal on a post-it note and stick it to your monitor so you see it everyday”.

This was surprisingly helpful.

I’ve always thought having a loose “goal” floating around in my mind somewhere was good enough. This exercise forced me to articulate a concrete measurable goal onto a post-it note that stared at me everyday 👀.

I found it motivating. With all the “moving parts” of On Deck the post-it helped me quickly re-align with what I needed to be prioritizing.

2. Plan the week ahead

It was also suggested that at some point on Sundays, review the upcoming week. Make a note of your weekly goal and calendars.

On Deck does an excellent job of sending out emails well ahead to give you a heads up on what sessions to expect which helps you be prepared and stay on top of your calendar.

This prep work only took me ~20 minutes and almost magically made my entire week flow so much better.

3. Allocate days and times of the day for specific purposes

Almost every alumni said it was very important to block out time for specific work.

I’ll admit I didn’t quite know where to start with this so before prescribing myself a schedule, I reflected on which days and times of the day I do my best focused work. Then I preserved those time slots for my most important work and planned everything else around them.

For me this meant my focused work happened Monday to Wednesday before 12noon, while 1:1s and non-essential meetings happened on Thursdays & Fridays with On Deck sessions and personal appointments in between.

With this approach I felt I was more present in every appointment. Since I had allocated time both for myself and for the event I wasn’t resentful of appointments popping up everywhere because I had already prioritized my needs.

I was surprised how much this subtle layer of structure helped me stay focused and present throughout a jam-packed week.

While my week was very busy, I still got a lot done because I was intentional with my time.

If it weren’t for the thoughtful alumni sharing their top tips I would have certainly delayed trying these approaches until much later.

I’ll be posting a weekly blog post about my experience so come along for the ride 🌊 🚢

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Amanda Emmanuel

🦄 Product & Growth at early-stage startups 🚀 3X founder 😎 Blogs about entrepreneurship, mindset & startups 🏗 Always building