As an entrepreneur, I always seem to be on the go. Bouncing from coffee shop to café to office to airport; travel time is nearly unavoidable. Rather than get frustrated and categorize travel time as a sunk cost, I recently chose to reframe it as a highly valuable asset; specifically in flight time.
Whether its personal or business, I spend a lot of time in the air. Traveling can be stressful, as is the fast-paced nature of being an entrepreneur. So why not use your time in the clouds to benefit your career? After boarding over 40 flights in the last year, here are my favorite ways to ensure that you will be in a better place when you touch down than when you took off.
1. Clean up your Inbox / Organize your Phone
Having a tidy inbox and phone doesn’t just mean faster loading speeds. Whether it is deleting the apps you tried out but never use, shedding the excess weight of no longer useful screenshots, or tackling those annoying emails you have been meaning to unsubscribe from; having that “cleaned up” feeling will help you feel more organized and boost your confidence.
I like to organize Company images on my mobile phone. By creating a folder specifically for my Company, I am able to quickly access content for our social media accounts as well as memorialize a bit of our company history.
2. Tweak your Pitch Deck
Your deck should never, ever be static. Think of it as a living and breathing organism. As you meet new people both formal and informally, your deck should morph based on what you learn. Tweaking your deck is especially helpful to do on flights to and from a business meeting.
On the way there, you should be refreshing your talking points. Upon return, you should be analyzing the feedback you received and thinking about how people reacted to your product/concept. Were there phrases that your audience tripped up on? Was there any point that got people really excited? Maybe your slides should be reordered to build more initial excitement. Maybe some key messaging needs to be rephrased with new terms you picked up. Your deck should improve each time you present it. Your next flight is a perfect time to capitalize on new knowledge while its fresh!
3. Catch up on News
It is easy to get so consumed in the day to day of your business that you fail to keep up on meaningful news. With applications like Flipboard, or your native mobile bookmark manager you can easily catch up on headlines you might have missed.
Often when I am on the BART train, I will skim through Flipboard and save articles that I know I will want to read later. That way have a useful magazine collection of articles that I had every intent of reading, I just didn’t have the time until on board.
4. Read a Book
Sometimes it feels good to disconnect. And although more and more flights are equipped with personal outlets, sometimes the wifi is out of service or you forget your laptop charger. Life happens. For this reason, I like to travel with a book.
Often it feels good to stare at a page for a bit instead of a screen. Here are a few of my favorites – quick reads, inspirational stories, and useful for your business: Shoe Dog, The Experience Effect, #GIRLBOSS
5. Chat with the Person Next to You
Yes, you read that right. Instead of putting on your headphones and tuning out. Talk to your neighbor. This isn’t always useful every time. But providing you are sitting next to a friendly individual, it can be really beneficial to get new opinions on what you are up to.
It’s almost a given they will ask “So, what do you do?” Boom! Perfect opportunity to practice pitching your business and get some out of the norm feedback! He/she might have some useful advice or even offer to introduce you to other helpful people in your industry!
6. Make a Playlist
Music is an amazing motivator, but making quality playlists takes time… the time that is hard to find when running around on the ground. So think about your destination, and your objectives for the trip. Create a power playlist that will fuel your time away from home, and give you energy when you need it most. Not only will building a playlist be a fun activity (Who doesn’t like revisiting old jams? Memories!), it will help frame your mindset for whatever your itinerary holds!
Being confined to a plane doesn’t have to constrain your productivity… even if you have the middle seat! Make the choice to maximize the value of your next flight and hit the ground running on landing!