Those of you who travel for business probably find yourselves on an airplane almost as frequently as a flight attendant. You may prefer to use this “air time” as a chance to prepare for upcoming meetings, sales pitches, and conferences. You may figure the tray table on the seat in front of you was invented more for your laptop than a bag of peanuts. Yes, it may seem like an airplane is the ideal working environment, but what do you do when it’s not?
Everything from a screaming baby and turbulent weather to that drunken girl near the wing (who is erroneously under the impression that she is whispering to the sleeping man next to you drooling on your marketing proposal) can stand between you and your ability to concentrate. Unable to simply get up and leave — or ask others to — you may find yourself looking for another way to pass the time. Do not fret. Even if you can’t get much work done, a plane ride can still be beneficial in other ways.
Read a Book: “Who has time to read?” is a question many business people ask themselves. After all, there are places to go and people to meet, and those people don’t include Harry Potter or the Prisoner of Azkaban. Still, reading is beneficial to the mind and body. Not only does it keep you relaxed and provide an outlet for escape, it also improves writing and literary skills. When it comes to an airplane, a good book has the ability to make time literally fly.
Listen to your iPOD: Music – surely you can’t leave home without it. Since iPODs replaced Discmans as the players of music, they have been showing up on planes, trains, and automobiles. A great way to take your mind off of things, and to ignore the distraction of other passengers, is simply to put on your headphones and listen to a favorite song. Gearing up for your business trip, you might want to listen to something that can inspire the moneymaker within. “If I had a Million Dollars” is a nice choice.
Do a Crossword: Crosswords keep your mind sharp and keep your tongue up-to-date on the latest and greatest of Webster’s Dictionary. For those who make a valiant attempt to complete them, instead of simply looking at the answer key, crosswords are a rewarding experience. Just be sure not to sit near anyone who is going to look over your shoulder and prematurely tell you the answers.
Practice Small Talk: Ah, small talk. It’s hard to avoid when you’re on an airplane. Sandwiched next to complete strangers, some people have no way to pass the time than to speak to anyone who will listen. This includes you. Maybe the person next to you wants to tell you about their grandkids or the results of their latest physical. Perhaps they want to share with you where they are going or get your opinion on the spouse they suspect of cheating. It can be annoying sitting next to someone who talks your ear off, but it’s also an opportunity to practice conversation skills, something absolutely essential for businessmen and women.
Traveling by plane can be a pain in the butt – and not just because the seats aren’t well-cushioned. It’s stuffy, it’s compact, and, often times it’s flat out boring. Getting some work done on a plane may seem ideal, but even this isn’t always possible. When it’s not, try one of the above-mentioned ideas as a way to benefit yourself in a non-work related area.
When all else fails, simply remember these two words: drink cart.