Super Productivity – The Trick Of Train & Plane Time.


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I don’t know about you but I get through an amazing amount of work when I travel on a plane or a train.  I also get some of my most creative ideas, so much so that a couple of times I’ll admit to getting on a train to Cork even when I didn’t have to! i.e. I did it because I get so much out of that ‘special’ kind of time.

So why does it happen?  What’s special about the experience of being on a plane or train that gives this ‘Super Productivity’ and how can we bring some of it into our normal days?

Here’s my thoughts so far:

1. You have to sit in 1 place for most of the time which helps focus.

For most there’s always a reason to be distracted.  Whether it’s email, a call, surfing the net or unmanaged interruptions the typical work environment is not designed for ‘Super Productivity’.  On a plane or train, there are no emails to check (if you don’t have access to wireless broadband). There are no phone calls and you have to spend most of your time sitting.

2. A different environment makes you think different

Getting out of your normal routine and environment changes your perspective, even if you don’t intend to do it.  I see this all the time when I facilitate ‘off-site’ reviews for clients versus ‘on-site’ ones.  The change in scenery automatically ‘freshens up’ your thinking.   Plus when you’re seeing unfamiliar places your mind tends to pay more attention which is great for accessing your creativity.

3. There are reduced chances of interruptions

On a flight there’s no phone access or e-mail (although this will change in time unfortunately).  On a train the mobile and wireless coverage can be ‘iffy’.  Plus there’s no chance of the dreaded ‘walk-in’ interruption that breaks your concentration.

4. Definite start and stop time – Plus intensity!

When you travel on a plane and train you know (hopefully) how much time you have to work.  And there’s nothing like a deadline to get you focused on flying through stuff.   Urgency helps the intensity.

So based on the above, here’s one immediate idea you can take to bring ‘Plane & Train Super Productivity’ into your normal business day:

Plan 1 Hour Every Week For ‘Out Of Office’ Super Focus:

  1. Change your environment completely at least once a week – For me, the best is a coffee shop up in the Wicklow mountains.  Just by sitting there I access a different part of my thinking.
  2. Set a defined time to do ‘Super Productivity‘  e.g. start at 3pm, end at 4pm.

3. Turn off your phone and email – Go on, the world will still go on!

4. Let yourself work on whatever you most want to i.e. whatever you’d enjoy doing.

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