Faster Flying

How to recharge your creativity in flight

While you could spend your next long-haul flight making your way through hundreds of hours of movies, TV and audio entertainment, why not get your creative juices flowing and step off the plane fully recharged, says tech journalist Daniel Bennett

Bring on the noise

If you need to get creative, a little noise can help. An experiment published in the Journal of Consumer Research found background noise of a busy restaurant helped people solve puzzles faster than total silence. Start with a blank slate using a good pair of noise-reduction headphones, such as the Parrot Ziks (£299). Then choose the right kind of background noise with the help of an app like White Noise + (£1.30).


Get some shut-eye

Lucid dreamers - people who take control of their dreams - solve complex problems faster, according to University of Lincoln research. The Aurora Headband (£195) uses flashes and sounds to jumpstart a lucid dream. 


Put pen to paper

Brain-imaging studies have found that writing the old-fashioned way engages more parts of the brain than typing on a keyboard - and will help form stronger memories. A smart pen such as the Livescribe (from £129.95) offers the best of both worlds, saving your notes as digital files and letting you attach voice memos to your text.


Be mindful

Meditation can relieve anxiety, improve attention and even help you grow more grey matter. In a study by  Leiden University in the Netherlands, people who meditated were able to think of more novel uses for household objects than people who'd never tried it before. Try the Headspace app (free 10-day trial available) for starters.


App up

Inspiration can strike at any time. For musicians there's the Korg Gadget (£26), which will turn the iPad into an all-in-one production studio. For budding videographers there's Replay (free), which allows you to combine your photos, video clips and music into a slick edited film. For scribblers, there's Paper (free), the closest you can get to a virtual Moleskine. Doodle anything, from a business plan to an idea for a new product and have it instantly ready to share.


Get instrumental

Take time out with a virtual instrument to cultivate what psychologists call 'divergent thinking'. The iGrand (£14.99) app lets you tinkle the ivories on a touchscreen, while  Guitarism (£3.99) teaches you the basics and simulates dozens of effects and guitars.