How to productively use your laptop on a flight.

Take a guess where I’m writing this article? Pretty obvious right… I’m on a short airplane flight from Atlanta to Miami. On this hour and 20 minutes there are plenty of things that I can be doing. One of the most obvious ones and the one that I normally do is watch an “Awesome” movie; we all know that is not always the case. How many times have you watched a movie and hoped you could get that hour of your life back?

We all have choices to make everyday of our lives and how we spend those precious hours can make a huge impact on our lifestyle. While I see about 80% of the people around me either playing games on their tablets, sleeping or doing something else here are a few tips to effectively use your time during a flight with your laptop.

1. Clean up your computer.

If you are anything like me and your desktop has 100 screenshots and files at any given time, this is a perfect moment to fully clean up your entire computer without getting distracted. This is one of those things that we always want to do but never find the time to do it. While you are on a plane without the distraction of being online take 10 to 15 minutes to go over all of your files. Organize them all into different folders and delete all the old files that you no longer need. Your computer will thank you the next time you re-start it.

2. Write

We all know we have to take some time off our daily lives to write. If I can recall one tip from every great business leader or personal development book is to write. I for once have lost the mojo for writing lately. After I finished writing my first book and a couple of articles on this blog as you can see before this post, I have not been very persistent on my writing. When I started I told myself that I was going to try to write here about two to four times a week. Unfortunately weeks, oftentimes months have gone by where not a single article has been posted on here. Hopefully after this one I can stick to it.

Seth Godin probably one of the most influential marketers of our time says, one of his top 5 strategies for success is writing everyday on his blog. He has persistently written an article every day for many years now. If you don’t take it by me, take it by one of the most respected businesspersons in the world. Take out some time to write, what better time than when you are 10,000 feet in the air with nothing better to do.

3. Brainstorm

We all have plans in our lives. I understand not everyone in the world is a business owner/entrepreneur or wants to be, but either way we all have plans and things we want to achieve in life. Many of us go day-by-day just living on autopilot and we rarely stop to think about what we want in life or business and how to achieve it.

Fire up your note pad and start writing anything that comes to mind. Make a plan for your life or business; write as much as you can. Where do you see your life or business in one year, five, ten or twenty? What do you need to do to get there? If you are flying with someone get them involved in this. I have traveled dozens if not hundreds of hours with my wife and oftentimes we start discussing what we want to do in the future, ideas for new businesses etc. I wished I had written or recorded some of these discussions, as it oftentimes gets lost after we arrive to our destination.

Do yourself a favor and start writing all of your best ideas and keep them in a place where you can come back to them, and even better make a plan to revisit them every couple of weeks.

4. Create a To-Do list.

I’m terrible at keeping clean up to date To-Do lists. I have tried doing it on my Notes on the computer, on different websites (my favorite tool so far is trello) but somehow I don’t stick to it for too long.

Take sometime on your flight and make a detailed to-do list of everything you have to do. After your brainstorming note taking session this is the perfect time to put everything on an organized manner.

Make a clean To-Do list for work and for your life plans. It is amazing how much more effective we are when we have something in front of us reminding us of all the important things we need to do. In this time and age where it is so easy to get distracted by social media and the infinite amount of information online, making a simple list of things we need and want to finish and accomplish can help us big time to actually complete them.

5. Start a Bucket list.

We all heard of it, watched the movie and probably know we want to make one, but few people ever get around to actually writing down a bucket list of all the best things they want to do in their life.

This is again another fun exercise if you are traveling with someone for each of you to make your own Bucket List. In just a couple of minutes start writing down a list of all the things you want and dream of doing. Chances are if you start this conversation with someone it will be a great chat and discussion to kill some time. The best part of all is that everyone’s bucket list is always changing. As you learn about new destination, new hobbies, etc. this is another document that you’d like to revisit every couple of weeks or months.

Hopefully you can come back to it every once in a while to discover that you have accomplished some or many of them.

To get you started, think about places you want to visit (go to Antarctica), languages you want to learn (French), sporting events you’d like to attend (the world cup), bands or concerts you want to see (burning man / guns n roses (the reunion)), charity work you’d like to do (volunteer in building a school somewhere), etc.

6. Create/Edit

If you have any type of creative work or hobby use this time to create or edit anything you’d like. Remember all of those Social Media banner and backgrounds you’ve been meaning to update, or that last vacation photos or video you’ve been meaning to edit for years. Use some time to do some of that design, editing work you’ve been meaning to do.

TIP: prepare files before you get into the flight. Once you start the routine of doing proactive work on your flights make a folder on your desktop for things you want to work on. Don’t be like me in this flight as I just left my external hard drive on my bag that I can’t reach with all of the files to the video I wanted to finish editing. This goes for any web files, photos, etc.

Enjoy the flight and make time go by faster… On the other hand create something of value that will both make you feel good about the time well spent, and even better create something of value for you and others. You never know and that plane flight might inspire you to write your best blog post ever or give you the best ideas for your next project.

Ladies and gentlemen please buckle your seatbelts. One hour and 10 minutes and even though I obviously did not finish all of the items on this list. I did clean up all of my files which I urgently needed to do and had not done for a while “not enough memory on your disk” anyone!!! – I also got to completely finish this article, which hopefully will inspire me to keep writing on a more consistent basis as well as hopefully get any of you to be more productive on your flights!

Von Voyage!