It’s a Bird. It’s a Plane. It’s a Productive Frequent Flier!

Here are some easy productivity tips for frequent fliers who want   to get more work done while using airline travelThis time of year, you hear a lot about holiday travel along with tips and tricks for making these trips smooth and efficient. However, more often than not, business travel tips are neglected from mention. We’re here to remedy that.

Make your next business trip more productive and avoid wasting time with these five tips for becoming a productive frequent flier.

Have Impeccable Timing
The first and best piece of advice is to time your arrival so you can minimize the amount of time spent standing around waiting in the terminal. If you want to schedule a meal or a work call, block out the specific time you’ll need.

Here are some key points to know:

  • Determine your true in-flight travel time. It’s your starting point for a productive trip. Know how much real task time you will actually have (the time in your seat with your laptop open).
  • Learn your true commute time to the airport. Consider all aspects of terminal traffic, parking and shuttles during the time of day you’re traveling.
  • When possible, avoid peak hours that take longer to get through ticketing, security and baggage claim lines.
  • Consider an airline club membership as a productivity investment. Seemingly pricey, these lounges are productivity oases and worth their price in gold. The amenities are typically first class and offer convenient access to free Wi-Fi, workspaces, outlets for charging your gadgets, privacy, seating and refreshments.
  • Plan your trip the night before by writing your schedule out in your daily planner. Need a complete planner for scheduling your travel? An executive monthly planner is an affordable and classy planner upgrade.

Work Through Your Delays
If you travel often, odds are good that you’ll experience a flight delay. Therefore, it just makes good sense to have a go-to plan for taking advantage of this time. Plan ahead to read a chapter of a book, type a set of emails or sneak in a quick meal. You should always know going in what to do with your time should a flight delay occur.

Try these tips:

  • Before you reach the airport, designate an activity or two you can easily step into at the first notice of delay.
  • Make sure you have a project or activity that can be started quickly and easily wrapped up. Avoid tasks needing multiple steps, software programs or extensive paperwork.
  • Prepare a project folder you can pull out of your carry-on that contains all of your task materials. A great tool is a lightweight expanding file.

Plan Your Flight Time
Your in-flight time can be extremely productive, but only if you have a set idea of what you can accomplish. Your time is too valuable to be spent staring ahead blankly or reading whatever diversion the in-flight magazine offers.

These tips will help you make the most of this time:

  • Learn the power of ONE. Have in mind one priority task or project that you can accomplish during your travel and stick to it. It will keep you focused and give you a solid sense of purpose during your travel.
  • Don’t neglect your pockets of time. You can accomplish a TON in the 20 minutes or so it takes to fully board an aircraft.
  • Once you sit down, get out your laptop and work until they tell you to stop. Or, pull out your planner and prepare your daily task list and schedule.

This is the most over-looked productivity tip for anyone…productive flier or not.

Use the Right Tools
This step separates the productive fliers from the pretenders. Look around your next flight and you’ll see those who have the right tools and those who don’t.

Here are a few ideas for travel gear:

  • Keep a travel bag fully-stocked with compartments to keep everything organized, including all cords for charging up while in the terminal, a back-up charger and decent headphones.
  • Don’t take chances. Protect your laptop with a convenient padded sleeve, and having a laptop lock in place isn’t a bad idea anytime you travel.
  • Coach class seats leave little elbow room. A keyboard folio can convert your tablet into a compact laptop, perfect for typing messages, notes and other copy that can be later cut and pasted into email messages and word documents.

Improve Your Balance
Here’s something few people appreciate: airline travel offers you a fantastic opportunity for balance. Think about it: flying is one of the few times you can be undisturbed, undistracted and unplugged from the noise of your life.

Consider the following work-life balance tips:

  • Take some time to shoehorn in a little personal reading, music listening, journaling, even a little shut-eye, all things that you might not otherwise take time to do.
  • Get some rest. I have tremendous appreciation for people who board with neck pillows and eye-masks. They’re making it a priority to recharge their personal batteries.
  • Meditation can be a terrific stress-reliever. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a short period. It’s a great way to block out the noise and chaos around you.

Try these tips and you’ll forever change your airline travel into a positive, productive experience. Join the ranks of the Productive fliers…you’ll wonder how you ever did it any other way!

For more productivity, planning and organizing tips, visit the AT-A-GLANCE Planning Center.

[photo by Kevin H.]

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