Creativity Hacks You Can Do While Flying

Creativity on the Road: Not Just a Dream!

Business travel can sap your creativity, with long hours and the airport-office-hotel-airport circuit. Long plane rides become work opportunities; the office can’t reach you and you can concentrate.  That’s fine, sometimes.  But the plane is also a great place to set your mind free. On your next flight, try one of these easy creativity hacks.

Make Up A Story

You have a personal story: what you plan to do on this trip, why you have this job. Everyone else on the plane has one too. Imagine the stories of the people around you. Is the man in 10D going to see his long-lost twin brother? Is the woman in 14F going to interview for a job on the International Space Station?  Family in row 12 moving to Tahiti? Turn your creativity loose: the wackier the story, the better! Write them down, or just keep them in your head. The important part is to imagine a life completely different than yours.


Some people can draw anything, others struggle to make a square.  With doodling, talent and accuracy don’t matter. Make up cartoon characters, draw the first house you lived in or the teacher you liked the most (or least) in school. Draw what you think cars will look like in 50 years. All you need is some blank paper, a pen or pencil, and a little bit of creativity.

Not a doodler? Try some of the adult coloring books available today. They are full of mandalas, geometric shapes that represent the universe in Buddhist and Hindu traditions.  Here’s a site that offers free mandalas and teaches you to draw your own.

Some studies report that drawing and colouring are a bit like meditation: they help you focus on the moment and let go of worries.  Whether colouring someone else’s pattern is as helpful as creating your own image from nothing is controversial. I think it doesn’t matter. Pick up a pen or pencil and let your creativity flow!

Look out the window

The classic airplane escape. If you have a window seat, look at the clouds and find shapes of things: a dog’s head, your grandfather’s pipe… Or look down at whatever you are flying over. Imagine what it would be like to live there. What would your house be like? Where would you work? Who would your friends be?

All three of these creativity hacks have one thing in common: they take your mind off work, so you can relax. And there’s a bonus: when your mind wanders, it’s also solving problems! While you doodle or look at clouds, your brain keeps considering the work stuff in the background. It might even give you a new solution or new idea.  Stop complaining that you have no time for creativity on the road. Use these hacks on your next trip, and see where your mind takes you!

Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.