And (gasp) don’t believe in Wifi on a planes. Said the person who runs her entire life online. Airplane mode is the best way to disconnect in this busy and loud world that we live in.
Here is a snippet of how my afternoon went yesterday:
I spent 2 hours hours visiting one of our stores to both train them on a new system and pick up merchandise for our upcoming catalog. I then drove back to the office on a conference call to review digital ad spend – pure luck and excellent timing because I nearly forgot.
When I walked through the door I was received with a borage of questions coming at me from every direction. “Kristin, do you want this merchandise?,” “Where should we put this? We are out of room.” “I’ve been thinking we need to try this.”, “Which of these 3 bloggers do you want to work with next?” “Is this ad correct?” “Can you review this email?” “Can you approve this site banner”, “Customer A didn’t receive her package, but it shows delivered and she has never ordered from us before, should I do blank?” “Customer B is having a panic attack because we charged her tax. It’s escalated and you will have to call her back.” “Store 9 won’t do the express shipping we need them to do, can you talk to the manager?”
Sound familiar to anyone?
I am not listing above because I think I am special; it is just the demands I am most familiar with. Almost every person I know has these same demands regularly thrust upon them. Someone mentioned 9-5 work yesterday and I said, “What the heck is 9-5? I have never had a 9-5 job and I don’t know anyone who does.”
Even if your work isn’t pulling you in 30 different directions, maybe your family is. Between kids, extended familial needs, non-stop work schedules, demands on household upkeep, pets, side hustles, fitness and health, the onslaught of never-ending information and technology changes, plus the desire to keep your social life and friendships alive, not to mention hobbies and supposed self-care; I can’t imagine there are many that are truly keeping it all together. If you are, please tell us the super secret sauce in the comments below.
I work full-time and I travel regularly. I like it that way. While my travel/work-life balance can occasionally overwhelm me, it is the travel that keeps me sane. I truly need a mixture of both. The other night, Jeremy and I were discussing our upcoming travel schedule and starting to work out our 2019 schedule and Jeremy point-blank said to me, “I love to travel, it is fun for me, but you actually need it.”
So what does this have to do with this airplane mode and wifi on planes?
When I get on an airplane, it might be the only time I can think of where all of the busy-ness stops. Life slows down.
Airports and air travel are equated with chaos, madness and stress for so many people. In fact, for many it is potentially the most stressful place they could go on the planet. But for someone like me, when I step foot in an airport I can finally see, think and hear my thoughts.
I crave several hours on a plane for true disconnection. 18 hours of flying sounds insane to most and I don’t get to do it often, but sometimes I secretly look forward to that much time for me to just simply think, daydream and create. All thanks to a simple concept called airplane mode.
This week was one of those weeks where I felt like shit was hitting the fan over and over again and I was lost in a pile a crap. I was getting stuff done, but it was a little mad. It is officially busy season and I could have stayed home this weekend and sat in my office, digging into and pouring over the 1000s of to-dos and to-want-to-dos, but I am not sure that more is always better.
When you are present, it can be easy to get caught up in the minutia.
These are the things that are important, but probably aren’t your most pressing action items. When you step away and get some quiet and clarity, you can see what is truly the most important.
Don’t get me wrong, I thrive in the fast pace of the E-Commerce world. I love the speed of change, the innovation, but I also need space for deep thought and creativity.
I write in the space of travel and even more specifically this idea of conscious travel. While conscious does touch on sustainability, it also means for me finding ways to be more conscious in life and in travel. To be present, find deeper experiences, and slow down. But as you can guess this is as much a practice for me as for anyone else.
I have learned over years of travel that I will do my best creating, thinking and writing on a plane or on a long car ride. It is one of the few times in life, where I can only be where I am. My phone is not ringing off the hook. That Google machine cannot answer my every random thought and question therefore distracting me from the task at hand. There are no podcast notifications. I do not have hundreds emails to read – they exist, but thanks to airplane mode, they are just not accessible for the flight.
The to-do list seems so far and nonexistent. I can’t see those dirty dishes from where I am trying to work. While you could walk up and down the aisle and visit the bathroom, you can’t go anywhere else. For me this takes away the guilt of “maybe I should be doing this instead of that.” I should play with my dog or kid, I should fold the laundry, I should finish that report.
We don’t live in a world anymore that is unplugged.
I certainly do not. My entire business, side project, hobbies, etc. revolve around my desktop, laptop and pocket computer, my iPhone. In one minute I can check sales, the next publish a blog post, say hey on Instagram and respond to an angry customer all on my phone. I’m not sure why we even call it a phone anymore. 1% of my activity on the iPhone includes actually speaking to someone on the phone. But I embrace it. I think most days that it is fun. But I also recognize the peace that comes with turning off and powering down.
Airplane mode allows me to reach a full state of calm and consciousness. It is the only time in my life where it is just me, maybe some music and my laptop or a journal for writing. Also, occasionally a crying baby or a chatty neighbor, but that is what noise-cancelling headphones are for.
It turns out I am not the only one that feels this way. Peter Shankman, the public relations guru who dreamed up HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and has penned numerous books, also uses airplanes to get in the zone. Cal Newport, in his book Deep Work, shares a story where Peter Shankman was fast approaching a manuscript deadline so he booked a round trip business class ticket to Tokyo and wrote non-stop for 30 hours of travel. He landed back home with the completed manuscript.
Let me know in the comments below: How do you disconnect? What helps you get in touch with your deepest thoughts? Where do you do your best creating and thinking?
Written from Seat 20F on AA3680