Work while flying

work while flying
Grand Canyon planes
Not being an avid plane spotter, this was the most appropriate image I could find. Yes, the planes I take are usually a bit bigger than these…

What is it about airplanes and getting things done? I find I’m at my absolute most productive when I’m strapped into my Economy class seat, whether it’s a quick flight over the Channel or a transatlantic odyssey. Is it just me? (Maybe so, as when I look around I mainly see people sleeping, watching films or playing Candy Crush Saga on their iPads, or – the horror! – staring out into space doing nothing at all.)

For me, at least, I can identify a few reasons as to why I’m so productive on board…

  • No WiFi

Yes, I know that planes are starting to offer WiFi on board but I’m not a fan. This is the one moment you can be without Facebook and email and it’s wonderful! You can’t keep refreshing your feed or checking if another super important message has appeared in your inbox. On a recent flight from Singapore to Dubai, I watched as the man sitting diagonally in front spent the entire trip trying to send a selfie over Whatsapp that said, “Hi mum, I’m on the plane!” Human creativity at its finest. The lack of access to (functioning) WiFi leaves your fingers as well as your mind free to focus on the one thing you have in front of you.

  • No… anything!

It’s not just WiFi that’s missing on board, it’s all those other distractions you have at home. Here, you don’t have a basketful of dirty laundry, a pile of bills that need paying, a pack of screaming children running around (unless you happen to have brought said children on this particular flight – in that case, good luck to you)… No opportunity for multi-tasking like a madwoman once again keeps you focused on one thing at a time.

  • Nowhere to go

On a plane, you’re also physically limited and even the most hyperactive of us will tend to stay seated in one spot for most of the flight. You can’t escape into the garden or go and make a cup of tea, you can’t potter aimlessly about the house. With your bum cheeks  planted firmly in your seat, you’re much more likely to keep reading that book or working on that document.

  • No limits

Taking a more esoteric view, there’s something about being in transit, being up in the air, between two places. The act of being in transition somehow opens your mind to all sorts of possibilities as you imagine new opportunities and feel ready to make all those changes you’ve been thinking about. The only challenge here is to keep your head in the clouds once you’re back on solid ground, and avoid getting distracted once again by the mundane realities of everyday life.

What about you? Are you productive when flying? Do you take the opportunity to disconnect? Do you gorge on free beverages and catch up on Netflix (#nojudging)? Let me know in the comments below!

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