Thanks to the lack of barriers to becoming a digital nomad these days, it seems like we’ve never spent more time in the air (for work or otherwise). But while these stints in the sky used to be happily wiled away by watching back-to-back movies or making friends with our neighbours, the increase in our professional mobility means we now have more reason than ever to make our flights productive. If you harbour visions of working at 40,000 feet (or your boss does), read on for tips on how to make the most out of your airtime:
Carefully pack your carry on
If you want to work from the sky, your carry on certainly needs to contain more than just your boarding pass, passport and a comfy pair of socks. But who’s got the space for much more? Slide an ASUS Transformer 3 Pro into your under the seat carry-on: the 2-in-1 PC means it’s as light as a tablet but as powerful as a laptop, meaning no unnecessary lugging of a heavy device through customs. This device really comes into its own mid-flight due to its adjustable viewing modes: the Transformer 3 Pro can be viewed at a 170-degree angle and in laptop, tablet or tent mode – so even if the passenger in front of you reclines their seat, you can still use your device from your now-compromised tray. What’s more, the ASUS pen is perfect for jotting down the thoughts that inevitably only visit us when we’re given the luxury of time to think. Unlike bulky laptops, there’s no danger of the Transformer 3 Pro exceeding your baggage allowance either, as it measures in at 8.35mm thin and weighs just under 800 grams.
Turn off the Wi-Fi
Flying is one of the rare times within our busy lives that we are completely free from distraction (drinks trolley aside). So instead of lamenting the poor (and often expensive) Wi-Fi while 40,000 feet in the air, capitalise on the lack of it by choosing a task that requires the type of undivided attention you’d never be able to secure on the ground. This is the time to dive deep into that 40 page document, skim read that recommended book and brainstorm your coming years’ worth of content. Make sure to download anything you need – such as emails or documents – ahead of your flight so you’re fully prepared to work away offline.
Cancel out the noise
Speaking of distractions; it only takes a crying baby or noisy fellow-passenger to derail your plans for productivity. This fascinating study on mice highlighted the power that silence has on the brain: two hours of daily silence, for example, developed new cells in the hippocampus – the part of the brain where memory, learning and emotion has its home. While noise-cancelling headphones are excellent at drowning out background sound, some models can be a little pricey. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, keep a pair of earplugs handy throughout the duration of your flight.
Unless you’re flying first class (say hi to George and Amal for us), space is likely to be limited so it’s imperative that you organise your belongings before boarding – unless you enjoy pulling out the entire contents of your bag while people queue up just to pass in the crowded aisles. This Grid-It organisation system is exactly the type of vessel that makes flying that little bit less awkward – not only will grabbing your headphones from the overhead locker be less of an ordeal and more of a fluid movement, it will be almost impossible to lose any of your electronics when going through customs.
You might be right into the rhythm of working in your (hopefully) silent office in the sky but don’t let that stop you from getting some shut eye, especially on a long haul flight. Your best chance of staying productive mid-flight is to know what your body needs to do at any given time. Download an app like Entrain which helps you adjust to new time zones by monitoring your body’s circadian clock, which is your internal time zone, effected by things like light, food and movement and work according to your body’s accepted working times, not at its equivalent of 3am (unless you’re one of those workers).