Every second counts.

When you are heading out on a business trip, you can use the time waiting at the gate to catch up on CNN...or you can pump out an entire report for the boss.

When I travel, I like to challenge myself to stay productive. It's not a social time, because--to be completely honest, you'll never see your fellow passengers again anyway. If you are serious about getting work done, try these tips to gain back some time, even at an airport.

1. Create a playlist before you arrive

Time gained: 3 minutes

Here's a tip that works for me every time. If you're like me, you need to have music playing on earbuds to drown out the background noise. I used to fiddle around with iTunes or Google Music to find the perfect album to play. Now, I create a playlist beforehand.

2. Use a Chromebook

Time gained: 2 minutes

A chromebook is not as powerful as a normal Windows laptop, and you can't run any apps. No matter. Models like the Acer R11 have one huge advantage: You can turn them on in an instant. A chromebook boots to a browser, so it has hardly anything to load.

3. Board only at the last call

Time gained: 10 minutes

You can save at least ten minutes if you find a seat near the gate and then wait until the attendant announces the final boarding. It's not against the rules to wait. In fact, it's smart because you will sit on the plane for a shorter period of time in the end.

4. Use your phone as a hotspot

Time gained: 5 minutes

You can gain at least five minutes at the gate if you use a hotspot on your phone (and skip the airport Wi-Fi--which takes a long time to configure--or a mobile hotspot). Your phone is the best hotspot because you can enable Wi-Fi before you ever arrive at the gate, and then just connect from a laptop in one click.

5. Keep your cables organized

Time gained: 3 minutes

Cable clutter is a problem for most of us. You might spend three minutes or more finding cables, unwrapping them, and connecting them to a power outlet or a USB port. I use a Bluesmart suitcase that has an easy access pouch for cables. It works like a charm.

Published on: Jul 10, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.