8 Ways To Get Things Done on a Plane

I just got back from a quick business trip.  I don’t travel often, but when I fly, I like to make the most of my time on the plane.

Do you get things done on a flight?  Or do you end up watching the inflight movie?

Today, I wanted to share some of my best productivity tips for air travel.

So, turn off the inflight TV and let’s get some stuff done… on a plane!

8 Ways to Get Stuff Done on a Plane

Here are my favorite tips for staying productive while flying:

1.  Plan Ahead – If you wait until you are on the plane, you are going to realize that you didn’t bring all the materials needed to do your work.  Instead, plan out your inflight tasks before you go.  This also sets some expectations as to what you will accomplish on the flight.

2.  Have Things to Do During Take Off and Landing – Many of us use our laptops during the flight, but that leaves quite a bit of time during take off and landing when “approved electronic devices” are not allowed.  You can end up wasting 20-30 minutes on each end of the flight.  Make sure you bring reading material or tasks that don’t require your computer/phone.  I will often write in my Moleskine notebook during these periods.

3.  Take Advantage of Inflight WiFi – Most major flights these days offer inflight WiFi.  Many people balk at the fee to get online, but is the small charge worth your time to be connected?  For me, it is.  Just make sure you are not using it to surf the Internet.

4.  Get a Seat That Lets You Work – Everyone has a different seat preference.  Make sure you get the type of seat that works best for you.  Whether aisle or window, you will be more productive if you are comfortable.  Make the extra effort to check-in early for your flight to get the seat you want.

5.  Bring Your Own Snacks – This tip has a double purpose.  First, you may want some nourishment to boost your energy levels.  Secondly, it will keep you from eating the junk that the attendants offer you.

6.  Avoid the Chitchat – If you are trying to get things done on your flight, the last thing you need to be doing is listening to a stranger telling you their life story from when they were born.  I find that noise canceling headphones are a great way to give you peace and to discourage the random conversation.

7.  Make Sure You Charge Up Before You Go – If you plan on working on your laptop or iPad during the flight, make sure you have charged up.  It amazes me how many people get onto their flight only to discover they did not charge the night before.  On a recent flight, I had a co-worker tell me she had forgotten to charge her laptop.  She wanted mine.  Um, sorry, but no. :)

8.  Have Some Low Energy Tasks – Despite your best preparation and dedication, the airplane environment can be draining.  You may find that you just cannot get into the productivity groove.  Make sure you have some low energy tasks that you can do if you can’t muster the effort for your main tasks.  I find that this can be a good time to catch up on reading, task list reviews, and even email inbox clearing.

Do you work on the plane? What are you best inflight productivity tips?

Related Posts:

What Did You Forget To Pack?

5 Ways to Manage Your Commute

Email Rampage!  8 Tips To Find The Bottom of Your Inbox

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://twitter.com/marceloruiz Marcelo Ruiz

    I just can’t work on a plane. I tried it once and I could only make a quote. But most of the time I find flights are just good for relax and I just can’t turn my mind into work-mode.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com Craig Jarrow

      I hear you. Sometimes, it is hard to do anything productive on a flight.

      Sometimes, the downtime is just what you need to recharge. :)

  • http://twitter.com/giannini2003 Nina ♥

    I never went on a plane :)

  • http://www.thinkblotcommunications.com Christy

    Finding something productive to do during that take-off/landing time was key for me. I’ve started journaling as well, and it’s been a big help. Great list!!

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com Craig Jarrow

      Yes, it can be hard to get much done during the take off/landing.

      I find that I always have something to do upon landing. That taxi to the gate can be a big time waster. Just the other day, we arrived 30 mins early… only to sit on the runway for that time because a gate was not ready. :(

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  • carriewriter

    If you fly Virgin America, you can charge your computer or smart phone at your seat, as they have outlets just under each seat. I noticed other people using this on my last flight, and the flight attendent showed me where it was…cool! The cost of the internet was about $13 for a single flight, but you could get a deal if you bought a package.

  • carriewriter

    If you fly Virgin America, you can charge your computer or smart phone at your seat, as they have outlets just under each seat. I noticed other people using this on my last flight, and the flight attendent showed me where it was…cool! The cost of the internet was about $13 for a single flight, but you could get a deal if you bought a package.

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