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Article: Tips for productivity on long flights

Tipps zur Produktivität auf langen Flügen

Tips for productivity on long flights

For some they are a tedious waste of time, for others a welcome opportunity to work without distractions and in a concentrated manner: Opinions differ on the subject of working on airplanes. Especially for people who have to spend a lot of time on planes every week for work reasons, the question arises as to how they can get on with their work and make effective use of their time in the air. To help you be better prepared in the future, we've compiled some of the top productivity tips for business travel that can help you avoid wasting a minute.

Got it all? Essentials for productive flying

The plane takes off, the ground is left farther and farther behind, and you're flying toward cloudy heights. Now, far from the office and the constant calls that can keep you from working, would be the perfect moment to answer a few emails or prepare for the next meeting. If only the laptop is charged and the cell phone cable is in the backpack ...

To be able to work just as effectively at airy heights as on the ground, frequent flyers should adopt a simple checklist or a good packing order in their bag, where everything always goes to the same place. After all, this is the only way to ensure that no important essentials of the job are forgotten on the plane. Among the absolutely necessary tools are, of course, the laptop, the cell phone and their charging cables, but also adapters or a mouse can be indispensable under certain circumstances. To be prepared for all eventualities, it can also be advisable to have a charged power bank with you.

If you've just settled into the rhythm of your work and then suddenly the baby in the row behind you starts screaming, the person sitting next to you is engaged in a conversation that's as exciting as it is loud, or the airplane engines are roaring, this can really put a damper on your own productivity. The best way to avoid this is to board the plane with headphones that have a special noise-cancellation system.

In addition to the appropriate hardware, you should also have everything you need in terms of software and documents. Important updates should definitely be completed before the flight, so as not to lose time with slow Internet. Those who mentally prepare their work in the air will also determine which possibly important documents on sticks and hard drives should definitely not be missing and thus be more productive during the flight.

Working comfortably above the clouds

Just as on the ground in normal office life, the workplace in the skies has a great impact on the quality of work that can be achieved here. That's why it's important to set up the workplace quickly and comfortably for the time of the flight. Everything you need should be quickly at hand and you yourself have enough space to move a little.

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A comfortable seating position makes it easier to work during the flight and lets you reach your destination fresher and more refreshed. For this, the seat and headrest should be adjusted to make you comfortable. However, it may be advisable to keep changing your seating position during the flight, as well as to stretch as far as possible or even stand up once in a while, especially on long-haul flights. Check your posture again and again during the flight, otherwise working at the computer can quickly strain your neck and cause unpleasant headaches. Stretch out your legs, move your wrists and ankles, and breathe in and out deeply. This will increase your sense of well-being and improve concentration.

To work comfortably and healthily at airy heights, it's also essential to stay hydrated. Healthy, high-energy snacks can also help you work, but nothing is as important for working in an airplane as drinking enough.

Connectivity on the plane

Nowadays, Wi-Fi is quite common on planes as well. However, this is often both limited in time and unreliable. So, in addition to working online, schedule tasks that you can advance offline if necessary. Download important documents before the flight in case of connectivity turbulence. With good preparation, periods of offline work can often prove particularly productive and fruitful, and you can get an unexpected amount done while also opening your mind to new as well as creative tasks.

Time management in lofty heights

Planning is key when it comes to productive work on a plane. Set lofty goals for it: Define the workload you want to accomplish on the flight. Be ambitious, but realistic, in order to feel a sense of accomplishment when working on flights. Focus on what's important and be clear about your priorities so you don't waste your valuable time on the plane with incidentals. Knowing your destination will keep you on track.

A dynamic start: your concentration is probably at its best at the beginning of the flight, so try to complete priority tasks right at the start of the flight. If you prepare them well in your mind and have all the necessary information and documents at hand, it will be done quickly!

Disciplined work also includes having an approximate schedule in mind for the individual work steps and sticking to it. This is especially true for work that can quickly take up a lot of time, such as reading and answering emails. Rather, devote yourself to the really urgent tasks, even if there is still a lot of unanswered mail in your inbox. The special environment above the clouds can be liberating and inspire creativity. Give preference to tasks that require a great deal of inspiration, such as brainstorming and brainstorming, in the middle of the flight, but be sure to allow enough time for these tasks!

Make long-haul flights productive

There are very specific strategies for maintaining productivity on long flights. For example, some people are able to work better for long periods of time if they can listen to relaxing music that helps them concentrate. Special playlists for this purpose are easy to find, and unobtrusive pieces of classical music or gentle guitar sounds are recommended.

If you want to work productively for many hours at a stretch on a long flight, you should keep alternating between more demanding, unpleasant tasks and lighter, more pleasant ones. In this way, one repeatedly builds moments of relative relaxation into the flow of work, creates a good basic feeling through moments of success, and can complete many smaller tasks quickly and successfully.

When it becomes too much for the head and concentration drops noticeably, it can be time for a small interruption. It's easier to close your eyes briefly in small breaks on a plane than in the office. It may do you good to listen to relaxing music while doing so, but other inputs such as podcasts or videos should be avoided. These can distract from the actual work and prevent the brain and eyes from enjoying a small, well-deserved break.


In order to be able to productively fill the travel time between two appointments, what counts most is good preparation for the trip. Important work tools such as a laptop and cell phone are a given, but thought also needs to be given to the associated documents, hard drives and headphones. Since our attention span as humans is limited, it is important to divide the work on the plane into bite-sized bites that allow you to alternate between intensive work phases and more relaxed work. In the future, take advantage of the special atmosphere above the clouds for intensive work!

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