If you’ve ever spent a four-hour layover counting airport ceiling tiles, you’ve probably wondered whether there’s a better way to spend your transit time.
Luckily for you, there’s a way to kill the airport boredom blues and get some work done in the process. Working on the airport Wi-Fi is easy enough, but you can still be a high-yield machine, even from 35,000 feet high. Here are nine ways to stay productive on your next flight.
1. Work on projects
It can be hard to focus on work when your kids are recreating UFC fights or your coworkers are interrupting every fifteen minutes with a new crisis.
Airplanes are a perfect place to buckle down and work on that backburner project because nothing else demands your attention while you’re on a plane. Maybe you’ll have to tell the flight attendant whether you want Coke or ginger ale, but otherwise, everyone will leave you alone. This time is an excellent opportunity to watch an overdue presentation or work on a budget report.
Staying productive on your flight now will make your time in the office turbulence-free later.
2. Manage your mail
With the help of a virtual mailbox from providers like iPostal1, you can manage your mail via the smartphone app. With one press of a finger, you’ll always know what correspondence demands your attention, even while you’re in transit to your destination.
Using a virtual mailbox, you can forward your mail to your final destination before you’ve even deplaned.
3. Catch up on reading
How many books have you started without finishing? There’s no better time to crack a book than when you’re in a metal tube for the next few hours.
Airplanes are usually quieter once they hit cruising altitude. If you experience distracting noise, use the in-flight WiFi connection to stream music from Spotify or download your favorite songs before the flight. Baroque classical music works well to combine your brain’s left and right areas for improved thinking, studying, or reading.
Your reading material doesn’t have to be a glue-and-paper book, either. If there are some case studies or industry news you’ve meant to catch up on, download the articles before your flight and feed your brain.
4. Prepare for your next partnership
Promising entrepreneurs always keep one eye on the horizon, even when they’re soaring above it. Use your flight time to prepare for the next partnership meeting on your calendar.
For example, you can listen to a couple of past podcast episodes where you’re making a guest appearance. Listen to the host’s style. Get used to the types of questions they ask each guest. Maybe you’re preparing a Facebook Live presentation for a partner’s audience. Go through your notes and plan out what you want to say on each slide. Feel free to rehearse quietly in your seat, or, if you’ve got a chatty seat companion, pitch your presentation to them.
It’s a good idea to download podcast episodes to your phone or tablet if you can’t access the airplane’s WiFi.
5. Plan your week, month, or quarter
The great irony of planning is that few people take the time investment to do it in the first place. There’s no better time to fill in the calendar squares than when you’re sitting on a plane for a few hours.
Get out your planner and start thinking through ways to improve your life. What significant goals do you have? What aspirations have you put on the backburner for too long? Conduct a goal-setting brainstorming session. You can think about short-term or long-term goals. Write down business goals, life goals, and even future travel plans.
From there, put together a weekly, monthly, and quarterly plan of attack. Start with what you’d like to accomplish three months from now. Back those goals up by asking yourself what you need to complete each month.
Write down what you must accomplish each week to hit the monthly goals. Finally, break up the following week into daily tasks and start working on them after you land.
6. Get some sleep
Have you been burning the candle at both ends recently? Maybe a long, refreshing nap is the best way to stay productive on your next flight.
You might be wondering how sleeping helps you stay productive, but the truth is, you can’t produce anything if you burn yourself out. Ask the flight attendant for a pillow and blanket, put the seat back as far as it goes, and settle in for a good snooze.
You don’t need to keep yourself busy with work, reading, podcasts, or movies when traveling on a plane. You can also try to work on your meditation for a clear headspace.
Prepare by watching a few videos about meditation before getting on the plane. Select the meditation practice that resonates best with you. On the plane, try putting it into action. Breathe slowly, pay attention to your thoughts as you go within, and see if you can quiet those thoughts into a deep, relaxing meditation session.
8. Catch up on emails
Everyone struggles with a flooded email inbox. Use your flight time to catch up on all the emails you’ve meant to open and read over the past few weeks. Bookmark the emails that you want to revisit after the flight. Delete all unnecessary email messages. If you can return to your life with a cleaned-out email inbox, then you’ll probably feel a little bit lighter walking off the plane.
9. Daydream or let your mind go
Do you need to do anything at all on your flight? Maybe the thought of sitting down without a plan makes you feel better than anything else. Even meditation takes some effort to get yourself into the required state of mind. Try simply letting your mind go. Let yourself daydream for a while and take a three-hour vacation through the clouds.
With a bit of advance thought, you can make your next flight a productive powerhouse. Make sure you download any media or work materials before you take off. Then, put your nose to the grindstone and your landing gear to the tarmac.