I want to be as productive as possible when traveling. It’s part of my ADHD. I feel the most productive when I’m multitasking and have a few tabs open. Plus with time to spare in flight, it’s a great time to get stuff done. Just sitting and doing nothing doesn’t feel right to me. It makes me anxious. (Insert Enneagram 7, Type A, self) Trust me I don’t wear these with a badge of honor, either. I say this because I am currently working on how to truly relax for myself and be productive. Also being on a flight I can be productive without distractions. Flights are a time to get things on my to-do list that I have been putting off.
Prior To Flight
The best way to beat procrastination while traveling is to plan ahead. Plan out how you are going to spend your time and what you need to get done.
When you’re packing your carry-on bag, include a smaller bag of things that will help you get things done while you’re traveling. That way you can place your carry-on bag in the overhead compartment and take out the smaller bag you’ll need in flight. This frees up a ton of legroom and will keep you organized. I try to utilize the time spent standing in lines, riding in the uber, waiting at the gate, not just the time on the flight. Think of things like a notepad, pen, headphones, backup battery, a book you’ve been wanting to read, etc. Make sure things are downloaded and available even if you don’t have wifi.
For example, I downloaded some audible books I wanted to listen to while I went through my camera roll of 12,000 photos I had to organize and sort.
Create a little to-do list of things you want to accomplish on your trip. After you spend an hour or so on work try to take a 10-15 minute break. They’re usually broken up by bathroom breaks, walks to the back, the drink cart coming by, etc. Those are great times to pause and do something fun to give your brain a break and recover.
During the Flight
Personally, I like to get started right after takeoff. I put in my headphones, set the timer, and get the work. One of the big things on my list is cleaning out my google drive. I use it for everything, and sometimes I don’t organize it as well as I should. For the next hour, I spend time deleting files or creating folders for documents. I struggle with clutter, and I have been saving things for a while without properly organizing my notes.
You can also do things like file receipts, edit photos or videos (just make sure you have a privacy screen), organize your desktop computer, clean out your camera roll, organize your notes, or blog. You can do it while listening to your favorite playlist or book on audible. I’ve found that it’s not a good time to try to upload docs and images to dropbox or drive. I wish it was but the wifi isn’t strong enough. In my experience.
After working for a solid hour, I take a break for 30 minutes to an hour which usually is reading a fun book, scrolling on social media, eating/drinking, looking out the window, etc. Then alternate back and forth between work and rest for however long the flight.
5 Things For Your Next Flight
- Plan your time: For me I like to be as prepared as possible. Having a plan before I even get to the airport. I try to stick to the plan as much as possible, but you never know who you might see either. So having flexibility is key as well.
- Set goals for yourself: What is the most important thing you want to get done on your flight? Finish your book? Editing? When planning for my trip I write everything out, batch like items, and put in order or importance. Then I keep that list where I can easily find it again.
- Block out time: Everyone is different on what time schedule works for them. I personally do 55 minutes then take a 5 minute break. Someday it might be more or less, but around average that where I get my best work done. I do the same thing like I do when I am working from home. I set a time and work hard then take a break. On my current flight everything was broken down by hours. I work hard for an hour then read a book for the next.
- Take a Break: Whatever your flight time is you can’t work the entire time. Take breaks. Schedule them in with your work time. It can be scrolling through social media, reading a book, staring out the window. Whatever it is take that time to refresh and refocus.
- Make sure work can be done without internet. If it can’t, be prepared to buy internet. On my last flight, it was 6 hours and I needed internet so I purchased it.
I hope that list helps you on your next flight. These are just a few things that I do that have helped me to increase productivity and get things done. I am curious about what others do during their flights. Tell me in the comments.