I see traveling (whether for work or pleasure) as an awesome opportunity for productivity. It is rare for me to get several hours of uninterrupted time to focus on projects, emails, writing or reading, so I see time on a pane as an opportunity that can’t be passed up. Here are some ways I get things done when traveling.
One key to being productive while traveling is planning ahead for your travel. I want to make sure I don’t run out of things to do on the plane, so I try to account for all possible needs. Being an Atlantan, I almost exclusively fly Delta, and it seems most Delta flights now have wifi. That being said, I have learned the hard way that you can’t rely on the planes having wifi, nor can you rely on the wifi working (yeah yeah – Louis C.K.). So, to make sure I can stay productive during flights, I make sure to:
- Bring reading materials that are in my “Read” context. This is a whole lot easier than it used to be. Before Instapaper and iPads, I would print out the research and reading I wanted with me. Now, I always have the articles I need with me at all times. Just be sure to sync for off-line reading before heading out the door.
- Sync emails on my Mac prior to boarding. Again, while many planes are now featuring wifi, it isn’t always reliable. One reason I have migrated from the Gmail interface to Postbox is the ability to have all of my emails with me at all times.
Once on the plane, I pop in my headphones and get into a zone. I am not suggesting that you should be anti-social on a plane, but after the initial brief chatter while boarding, I like to excuse myself to my work.
The great thing about the wifi on planes is that while it is fast enough to send and receive emails, it is slow enough to be annoying for mindless surfing. I have actually wondered if throttling the internet speed in the office would decrease to amount of idle surfing (because who wants to wait 3 minutes to see pictures of cats!).
Enjoy the Gift of Time
I honestly believe the time spent traveling can be seen as a gift. Enjoy the uninterrupted time to catch up on your pleasure reading or dive into that project in your someday/maybe list.