What I told myself before the trip:
- “I’ll work on the plane!”
- “I’ll work in my free time on the trip!”
- “I’ll program Chorus or Tumblr or Instapaper.com or Instapaper-iPhone or Instapaper-Kindle, or I’ll write some good blog posts!”
- “I’ll catch up on all of those flagged-for-reply emails!”
Nope. I hardly did anything. I think it was a combination of factors:
- I could never get comfortable. There are no ergonomic desks or chairs in planes, hotels, or other people’s houses.
- There was never a large block of time during which I could accomplish anything significant — it was divided into chunks of less than 2 hours.
- I strongly prefer my home computer with its massive monitor, keyboard, and mouse for any serious work, especially programming. The MacBook Air’s 1280x800 screen doesn’t cut it, and I’m uncomfortable working on a non-“Natural” keyboard for long periods.
I never even took my laptop out on the plane rides. I played iPhone games, slept, and was infuriated by screaming infants. (Seriously, I’d gladly pay $50 extra for a flight with a minimum passenger age requirement of, say, three years old. Or maybe two. At what age can you be reasonably assured that most kids won’t scream and cry constantly for three hours? This one was young enough to be carried — and seated, I think — in one of those little chair things with a handle, which I assume means that the parents still probably express the kid’s age in months.)
Now it’s 2 AM, my body thinks it’s 11 PM, I can’t sleep, and I’m recovering from a day of bad airport food (except for our breakfast of natural, organic, extremely locally grown stolen fruit) and a long weekend of busy days with strange hours. There’s absolutely no chance I’m getting anything done until tomorrow.
Next time I travel, I’ll be a bit more honest with myself about my work expectations: I won’t get anything done, and I should just let go of productivity delusions and enjoy the trip.