As a leadership coach, I need to travel a lot for face-to-face meetings. Most people waste a lot of time when traveling. If I’m not careful, I do too.
Let’s face it; travel causes a bunch of necessary interruptions during your travel day. It can feel easiest just throw in the towel and let the day happen to you. After all, you have little control of airline schedules. When driving to and from the airport, while boarding the plane, and while walking to the rental car can be difficult to be productive. I am far from the most productive person but I try to be aware of where I can squeeze productivity in to my travel day and hopefully take action.
I listen to podcasts because I can absorb a healthy diet of useful information while still paying attention to what is going on around me. I will put my earphones in and can be walking through the airport, waiting to board, or even wait for takeoff (while the cabin door is still open) while feeding on useful podcast information. I make sure that my MP3 player synchronizes the night before I leave so I can get the most recent episodes.
Wi-fi or No Wi-fi
While waiting at the gate I try to do one thing on my to-do list. Most airports have free wi-fi, so I can even get on-line if necessary. If there isn’t free wi-fi, I can still use my laptop to update notes in Evernote, draft an email, or clean out my email with an “off-line” email function that Google mail supports. My email later synchronizes automatically during my next internet connection.
After boarding the plane I read. Of course there are no electronic devices right before take-off, during the early parts of the climb, or during landing. I always have a book or magazine to read. Most people don’t think there is enough time to do much during these wait times. Most passengers pull out the Sky Mall magazine or simply sit (complaining about the delay). I am not a fast reader, but I am always surprised how much I can read during this time.
Once reaching cruising altitude I will do laptop work. Even on relatively short flights I will launch my laptop to get more done. I have optimized my laptop settings to take advantage of stand-by mode. Stand-by hardly uses any battery. When I am ready to use my laptop again, I simply open it and it resumes exactly where I left off.
I present these ideas as if I have it all figured out. I don’t. There are times I will sit there like everyone else and gel out because I need a break. I don’t feel bad about taking a break every once in a while to refresh myself. More times than not, I get motivated to be productive. What makes it easier to be productive is being ready with my MP3, books, magazines, notebooks, and laptop to make the most of any little bit of time that I have.
How do you plan to be productive?
When do most people waste time when you can be productive?