Productivity and Creativity at 30,000 Feet
What does flying in an airplane make possible? I’m about to land in Austin. The flight from Dallas to Austin is just under an hour. In the twenty minutes that we could have our computers out, I wrote this blogpost.
The flight from Nashville to Dallas was about two hours. Just enough time to get some significant work done. Now, granted, I don’t have a lot of real “work” to do. I don’t have an employer and I’m not in business for myself … yet. But, I do have lots of ideas and projects I’d like to complete. There are books I want to read, topics I’d like to study, and blog posts I need to write, just to name a few. The airplane is just the place to get them done.
I’ve known for years that Mike can be incredibly productive on an airplane. A while back, when he was feeling particularly distracted and overwhelmed, I remember him toying with the idea of booking himself a flight to LA and back just so he could get some work done. It’s fun to discover that I can experience that desire, too.
Today, during the first flight from Nashville to Dallas, I read and took notes on Chapter 2 of a book I’m reading. My mind was spinning with ideas stimulated from that chapter. I also jotted down the steps I needed to complete for project I’m undertaking. And I wrote the outline for this blogpost.
Before I landed I asked Mike, who was sitting beside me, and cranking out another one of his killer blog posts, “Why is riding on an airplane so sinkin’ productive?”
We came up with five conditions an airline flight provides which makes it possible to get the most work done in the shortest amount of time. Here’s what they are:
1. You can’t move. Once that seatbelt is fastened, and the flight attendant has the drink cart in the aisle, you are going nowhere.
2. You have very few distractions. After the attendant and the pilot give their little spiels, and unless the person sitting next to you hasn’t gotten the message that you have work to do, there’s nothing to distract you from your task at hand. (A good set of noise-canceling head phones are in my future, just in case.)
3. You can focus. Because your “desk” is teeny tiny, it’s easy to zero-in on one thing at a time.
4. You are enveloped in wonderful white noise. Let’s be honest, there’s no white noise like that of a jet airplane. If it doesn’t put you to sleep, it will most certainly put you into the creative zone.
5. You have a time limit. Once the plane is up in the air, out comes the computer, the book, or the pad of paper. The clock is ticking. I seem to read faster, type faster, and write like there’s no tomorrow when I know the speaker will soon tell me to “put away all electronic devices.”
I’ve got lots I want to learn and much I want to accomplish. Most will be done from my desk or my favorite chair at home. But I have to say, I’m especially excited that I have lots of trips planned for 2012. What will they make possible?
Question: What could your next flight make possible?