We normally take 1-2 long plane rides a year, and I actually look forward to them. I’ll have my trusty Turtle neck pillow, eye mask, headphones charger, kindle, laptop, and of course phone. I’ll even often bring a hardcopy of a book that’s been gathering dust on my bookshelf.


Why do all this?

Because the time spent on an airplane feels magical. I know what you’re thinking. No, I don’t travel first-class or even business. I’m always in economy seats. Those hours are magical because I’m in a productivity flow state. I get more done in a few hours than the rest of the week, if not month.


That comes down to one reason: no distractions. No text messages, news alerts, no emails. And importantly, no internet. Yes, I know that planes have the internet these days. But if I had gotten it my productivity would plummet. I would check Reddit or Facebook and lose myself down a rabbit hole of unproductivity.



Instead, I’m able to do some light reading, listen to a few podcasts, even watch an episode or two of a show I’ve been putting off. I’ll even have time in the middle for a nap.


Often, I’ll get more done in those 12 hours than I had gotten done in the whole week before. I’m energised when I land. I had gotten so much done that I could enjoy the trip with no guilt. And there was still the return trip!

Airplane Mode Boosted My Productivity 10x - Reading | Pranay Parikh

After my last trip, I thought there had to be a way I could recreate this feeling and productivity. There was! It’s called airplane mode. I wish it was as simple as turning it on.

I try to mimic the experience best I can. Instead of sitting on my sofa with my laptop, I’ll go to sit on the desk. I made sure to not have a desk chair that is too comfy. I’ll turn off the wifi to not give me any temptations and set the clock. The clock could be an hour or two depending on how much I need to get done.



I’ll have my kindle and laptop and even a physical book. I can’t say I can be productive for 12 hours straight like I can on a plane. But an hour or two that acting like I’m on a plane is often more productive than a full day otherwise. Like my brain tricks me into thinking I need to eat that cookie, I trick it into being productive.