Work like an Air Traffic Controller | by Abigail Dove | Mar, 2024

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Imagine standing at the control of an entire airport, ensuring flights land safely and take off on time. It’s the prime example of peak productivity. Imagine working with the precision and organisation of an air traffic controller, orchestrating multiple tasks, priorities, and deadlines with finesse. Whether you’re navigating through daily tasks or managing a bustling airport, adopting the mindset of an air traffic controller can elevate your productivity to new heights.

Communication is key

Air traffic controllers excel in communicating, providing clear instructions to pilots navigating the complexities of airspace. Effective communication is vital in the workplace. Define clear tasks, expectations and deadlines when delegating. Avoid waffle and ambiguity. You will find you minimise errors and maximise efficiently. Sometimes you can say more with less.

Prioritise and sequence tasks

In the same way air traffic controllers prioritise incoming and outgoing flights-based don urgency, prioritise our tasks on importance and deadlines. Use techniques such as Eisenhower’s principle or the pomodoro technique to focus on high priority tasks.

Embrace wise multitasking

Air traffic controllers juggle multiple flights simultaneously, they make split second decisions and manage multiple task and parameters. But if you were to go and visit a control centre, you’d see that controllers only work in these high multitasking environments for short periods of time, some spend no more than 90 minutes at a time. Batch similar tasks together to minimise context switching, but don’t spend too long doing to many responsibilities otherwise you’ll burn out and be less efficient.

Make the most of technology

Technology can be a useful co-pilot. Productively tools or AI can streamline your workflow, if you use them effectively. Apps such as notion and even chat GPT can enhance your organisation, communication, and project management with efficiently.

Stay calm under pressure

Air traffic controllers remain calm and composed, making critical decisions with clarity in high pressure situations. They do this by cultivating resilience and emotional intelligence but by safeguarding their focus and mindfulness by taking frequent breaks and recharging frequently.

Monitor, review and adapt

Planes, weather, and millions of people traveling make for a constant need to adapt and adjust plans. Similarly, review your progress and successes; identify issues and bottlenecks and adapt as needed. Staying dynamic allows for optimisation and personal development. Learning to pivot and adapt at hurdles prevents you falling at them. And if you do fall, you will learn how to jump that hurdle next time.

Don’t be scared to Collaborate

Your reading this because you want to learn more about productivity. You want to learn, share knowledge, and find mutual support. Don’t be afraid to commutate and coordinate with others. You will find by being more open and working with others you will get great feedback and learn more knowledge more efficiently.

By adopting the principles and strategies employed in air traffic control, you can optimize your productivity and navigate through your workload with precision and efficiency.

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