5 Ways to Be Productive On a Plane

Learn how to better utilize your time when you travel.

I’m sure by now you have been on a fair share of airplanes. Whether you went to Vegas for that conference, New York for meetings, or that long-haul trip to Europe.

You should know that time is money. And you must spend it wisely. Whether it’s achieved through minimizing the amount of meetings you have per week, using software to help with daily task management, escaping the office to get in a midday workout, or minimizing time checking into your next flight.

Being the leader of any organization is no easy task. Which explains why there aren’t many managers or owners within an organization.

It can be stressful at times, and very rewarding at the same time. In order to be the best leader possible, you need to stay productive. Productivity can encompass many things, but your job is to make sure things get done well and on time; preferably under budget too.

The area that I want to shine the productivity light on is when you are traveling. Being in an airplane can be an amazing time to get things done and be super productive.

To help you with this, I wanted to provide you with five things that I use myself to increase productivity on an airplane.

  1. Review your Flight Schedule

The worst thing you can do is just show up to your flight not knowing what time it departs and arrives at your destination. By doing this, it puts you in the mindset of not knowing how much time you have to work with.

What I suggest you do is always check your flight times to see how long your flight is. This will allow you to be able to plan how to use your time on the airplane. For example if it’s a short one hour flight, maybe it’s a great time to catch up on some sleep you’ve been lacking. Or, if it’s a longer flight you can start to plan different objectives you want to accomplish during the flight.

Just remember to always look at your flight schedule before you leave home. This will set you up to be productive as soon as you hit the check-in desk.

2. Analyze Current Business Situation

You might be thinking that I’m going to tell you to dive deep into your business at 30,000 feet. Well not exactly.

I think you should analyze your current business situation and decide what tasks or objectives are important to your business today. Not tomorrow, or 3 months from now.

Focus on the tasks that need to be addressed or dealt with now. Being on an airplane allows you to focus without the sound of your phone ringing, or an employee knocking at your office to get approval for that new partnership agreement.

Deal with the tasks that are important for your business today. Depending on the length of the flight you can designate a certain block of time to focus on these tasks you identify as “being important today”.

There should be a sense of accomplishment when you finish replying to those 10 emails that have been sitting in your inbox all day. Striking off important tasks from your to-do list already signals you’re using time wisely.

3. Read a Book or Magazine

One thing that’s essential for myself when I travel is to bring a book or magazine with me on the flight. Reading allows me to keep learning new things, and expand my mind. I like to read books that will help myself be a better leader or build a better business.

That’s the type of book I suggest you bring. If you need some book suggestions check out this great list of must-read books for 2017. By reading a book that teaches or enlightens you, it allows you to come at a situation in the future with a different perspective.

This is why reading on an airplane increases your productivity. Choosing to learn and grow as a leader, instead of just sleeping or playing Candy Crush. Teaching your brain new things which is important for anyone.

4. Allow Time to Reflect

Depending on who you’re travelling with, this could go a few different ways. If you are travelling alone allow yourself some time to just relax. If you’re reading this my guess is you’re an entrepreneur or business owner already, working around the clock to keep growing and sustaining your business.

What a lot of business owners and managers don’t do enough of is choose to rest. Rest and relaxation is important for anyone’s health. What I suggest you do is have 15–30 minutes on each flight to just sit back and relax.

No computer, phone, book, or anything. Allow yourself to soak up the fact that you have time to reflect and think.

Now if you are travelling with co-workers or even family members, this might not be easily achieved. You can still do it, but it will be a bit tougher. You can choose to lay back in silence for 15–30 minutes without any distractions. Another idea is to put your headphones on to some easy-listening music and then no one will distract you.

5. Watch a Documentary

Reading all of this you might be thinking, there has to be an easier way for me to pass time while on a flight, and still be productive. Essentially there is and it involves movies.

Now not all movies in my mind are productive. Don’t get me wrong I like a good suspenseful thriller, or lightsaber battle, but watching Star Wars on an airplane isn’t really the best use of my time.

If there is a type of movie that I feel is a better use of my time, it’s watching a documentary. Now not all documentaries are made the same, but I find documentaries to be very enlightening whether they are on a topic I’m passionate about or not.

For the most part documentaries are based on someone or something that is real (not always the case). By watching, listening, and learning about something that is real you are expanding your mind.

I hope these hacks help you on your next flight as they have for me. Remember you can’t predict the future, nor go back in time, but you can make the best use of your time today. So stop making excuses and be productive.