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Tips for Making Long-Haul Flights Fly By

04/06/2016 04:22pm ET | Updated April 6, 2017
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Is a long-haul flight looming in your future? Are you dreading it? Don't! Long-haul flights are like listening to the new Justin Bieber CD "Purpose": not something you ever thought in a million years you'd enjoy doing, but once you tossed aside all of your trepidations and preconceived ideas, you found it wasn't so bad after all.

Long-haul flights mean six to 17 hours of guilt-free, uninterrupted you time, to do whatever you want, albeit in an uncomfortable chair with no personal space. But nevertheless, fly time is your time, and once you learn how to relax and take advantage of it, you'll find it's a brand new world at 35,000 feet. My list of looking forward to to-doings is so long these days that short-haul flights are frankly disappointing. Here's how you can make time fly on board too:

1. Clean out your iTunes/music library. If you are anything like me, you have about 5,500 songs in your music library, 5,000 of which you don't listen to any more or even like, and I listen to Spotify or Radio Paradise most of the time anyway. Since I carry my laptop and headphones with me almost everywhere I go, flight time is the right time to cull, cull, cull away.

2. Make music playlists. I love music and listen to it ALL the time. It's pretty much the backdrop for everything I do... like my own personal movie soundtrack. So I spend an inordinate amount of time choosing music I feel like listening to depending on my mood, or the activity I'm engaged in, which is trés annoying. While purging my music library, I take the opportunity to also create the perfect playlists for everything: writing, not writing while suffering writer's block, working out, riding my bike, being lazy, hanging with friends, cooking (totally kidding, I never cook)... and so on.

3. Clean out your email inbox and folders. This is soooo boring, but feels so good when you're done. Start at the top and work your way through, reading then responding to, filing, and/or deleting every single email in your inbox. Likewise, clear out your email folders, which at least for me are what junk drawers, storage units, garages, attics, and basements are to hoarders: every email I have ever received in the history of the world goes inside one for no good reason and remains... forever. Or until I board a flight for Africa.

4. Watch movies you would NEVER EVER pay to see. On a three- or four-hour flight, you're lucky to make it through one movie before they're starting to prepare the cabin for landing. But not on a long-haul. After you've exhausted all the new releases you were dying to see, and those movies you heard were good, but never managed to catch, you can move on down the quality food chain and take a gander at those action movies, comedies, and rom-coms you literally embarrass yourself watching, but find immensely enjoyable nonetheless. I'm talking to you, "Anchorman 2."

5. Learn something new. Curious about opera? Give it a try. Always wanted to learn to draw? Buy a book and teach yourself. Been meaning to brush up on European history? Here's your chance. What else are you going to do on a 10-hour flight? If you don't like it, you haven't wasted valuable weekend or after-work hours, and you've helped wile away the time on board to boot. And best case, you deplane with a new hobby.

6. Read a book. Yes, read! Who doesn't love reading? It's one of life's greatest pleasures and it's good for your brain, and your soul. But unless it's an awful snowy day or you're on a beach somewhere, it's hard to find time to read a great book cover to cover without feeling a tinge of guilt you should be doing other things, unless you're up in the air.

7. Catch up on a season's worth of a TV show. Finally watch that show everyone's been talking about, or watch one you love but have been too busy to see. Or do both. On a long-haul flight you have plenty of time to master the art of being a couch potato.

8. Learn the language. What better time than the flight over to learn the language of wherever you're going? Sure, you won't master it (most likely), but there are plenty of apps that work offline that will help you nail a few key phrases before touchdown.

9. Sleep. You need sleep. Plane rides are long and boring. Ergo... there is no better time to catch up on sleep. But, unless you are sitting in Business or First Class, planes are very uncomfortable, which makes them exceedingly difficult to sleep on. What to do? I say this ALL the time. Ask your doctor for something that will help you sleep. I am not advocating the use of drugs. I'm advocating the use of something your doctor gives you that you put in your mouth and swallow that makes you sleep for a long time. Trust me. You'll thank me.

What are your tips for making time fly? Comment below and find/follow me on Facebook for more conversation.

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