The Essential Guide to Getting Stuff Done at the Airport

woman working in the waiting area of ​​the airportEkaterina Pokrovsky / Shutterstock

Working in an airport is not ideal, but if you are a businessman, you know too well that it is sometimes necessary to create a virtual office. Here's how to do more.

Ah, the airport, a space with which we all seem to be in love-hate. It offers good things: wine bars, nice restaurants and luxury items in a duty free shop. But it also has disadvantages: security, crowd and complex arrangements that seem designed to make you miss your flight.

And anyone who has spent a lot of time in airports has probably faced the biggest love-hate relationship of airports: that of trying to get things done.

On one side, airports offer wide swathes of time, free Wi-Fi and multiple sources of coffee filling. On the other hand, you are often tired, stressed and easily distracted by the swarms of people around you.

Is the airport an ideal place to work or is it a remote work landscape? The answer can be a bit of both, depending on the moment, but you can make your time more productive without sacrificing your mental health. Here is what you need to know.

How many things can you really do at the airport?

The first step to getting things right at the airport: manage your expectations.

Everyone can accomplish things at the airport, whether it's a full-time remote worker or someone who has emails to answer and shop online. However, you must be realistic about what you can do there.

As a frequent traveler with a long layover, for example, you may think it's reasonable to work all day at the airport. However, very few people can work in an airport with the same level of concentration and endurance as elsewhere. This is not the time to tackle a normal day of work or aim zero as an inbox.

In the first place, you are surrounded by distractions: noisy children, noisy announcements and the crowds of passers-by will make it difficult to immerse yourself in the work. On the other hand, the airport offers countless variables that could make things even more difficult.

You may not find a place near a point of sale where you can plug your dying laptop. Wi-Fi can be uneven or completely non-existent. And you may be late for your flight, in which case you will not do anything.

Because of these factors, the airport is not a good place for important or critical tasks. But it's still a good place to get things done. The key is to focus on relatively simple small tasks that will be nice to check but are not very urgent.

If you have important work responsibilities for the week, plan to complete them before or after your flight. Do not schedule a big delay for the day of your flight. Instead, use the time of the airport to catch up with you.

You can answer your list of important but not urgent emails. You can offer your independent services to a few new potential customers. You can begin to describe a major project coming soon or to revise one that is largely completed, but not yet ready to be submitted.

And so on, you get the picture. These tasks are important, but do not need to be deepened and do not have deadlines to take before your flight takes off. If you tackle this type of work, you will feel refreshed and caught when you board your plane. And if you do not finish everything, there is nothing to worry about, since no one has a strict deadline.

How to make your time at the airport more productive

man checking his phone at a terminal of the airportPressmaster / Shutterstock

Keeping this in mind, there are still some ways to do more before takeoff. The more you can accomplish, the less you will have to worry about your trip. Follow these tips to get started.

Invest in earmuffs

If you often work outside the home, the idea of noise canceling headphones probably came a moment or two before. But they are nowhere more useful than at the airport.

A pair of quality noise cancellation headphones can become expensive. But if you're easily distracted by the noise, you'll use a lot, making it a clever buy for frequent flyers. They can even make the plane more pleasant.

Activate a hotspot

The airport internet may not be reliable and is often not secure. Before you go there, make sure your device is equipped with a WIFI hotspot you can log in if you need it.

Note a list

Even if you do not usually work in a to-do list, a short list of tasks you want to perform at the airport can help you stay focused. Put the things you would most like to accomplish near the top and work them in order. If you have not finished all of them, do not worry, you can select this list when you have more free time.

Try a restaurant or a cafe

It can be difficult to concentrate while sitting near an occupied door. But airport cafes and restaurants also offer good places to work. You can read online reviews to find the best ones or just walk around and look for a place where others are already working.

Do you have to work on the plane too?

As long as you do the right kind of low impact tasks, you can do a lot of things at the airport. But should you work at 30,000 feet too?

In the end, it's up to you, but we suggest you avoid working on the plane.

First of all, you will usually have to pay for Wi-Fi in an airplane because you can not use your wireless access point in the air. The extra cost can be steep for a short period of work.

But that aside, the plane is still less ideal than the airport for work. It's not just because you're stuck in a narrow seat with limited coffee rations. The pressure in the cabin and the reduced levels of oxygen in an airplane make it more difficult to focusso that you can not do your best work.

And flying can be fun and stressful. It offers a rare chance to disconnect, read a book or dream about your next trip. We suggest you take full advantage of this opportunity – these tasks and emails will be there to wait for you when you land.

By the way, if you decide to use your time spent at the airport to relax or go shopping instead of working, we will support you. These tips will help you accomplish your tasks if you wish, but airports are great places to drop the job for a few hours and just enjoy the moment.

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