When it comes to being more productive, Post-it notes, to-do lists and reminders only go so far. Staying on top of a heavy workload, or simply clawing back time for yourself calls for something more powerful. This is where AI comes in.
With more of us working remotely, and with the current climate calling for businesses to do more with less, productivity tools and services are on the rise. Some cater for specific job roles, others help everyone be more efficient.
Below we explain how you can take advantage of AI to become more productive right now. Instead of listing the tools individually, we’ve grouped them based on the challenges and stages involved when trying to be more productive.
Manage your time
Being more productive ultimately means being more efficient with how you divide your time. This is often the hardest step to becoming more productive because it requires a level of introspection. Using an AI-powered time-tracker gives you this.
A time-tracker helps you understand how long a certain task takes, allows you to better plan yours and your teams’ workloads, and means you can better manage the expectations of clients, colleagues and management. You may even find unbilled hours as a result.
Instead of manually logging the time you spend on tasks, AI-powered time-trackers sit on your browser and/or computer and monitor your activity. It sounds Orwellian but these services are designed to keep your data private and secure. They’re opt-in and you’re asked to verify any recordings to make sure they’re accurate.
Clockk tracks the time spent on tasks and projects. Not just for individuals, but teams too. Throughout the day – or the hours you set – Clockk will track which files you edit, web apps you use, your calendar, project management tool history, and emails you send. It uses AI to group tasks, identify habits and generate timesheets. A daily summary allows you to approve, remove or edit entries.
Timely offers similar features to Clockk but is geared towards businesses. It tracks time spent on the web and desktop apps, integrates with all the main operating systems and browsers, and uses AI to organise and manage your activity. Timely additionally offers an API for systems and workflows that aren’t already catered for, and it works with automation tools such as Zapier and Make to streamline efficiency further.
Tackle specific tasks
In addition to helping you understand how long something will take, time-tracking helps you identify productivity black spots. The average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and answering emails for example, while every minute of a presentation takes about an hour of preparation. This is where AI and automation comes into its own.
An absolute must-have in your productivity arsenal is Zapier. On its free plan, you can connect various apps together and automate almost any task, or series of tasks. Think of it like the Rules function in your email inbox but for hundreds of different services. Zapier Business members can access AI by Zapier, which adds machine learning capabilities to workflows and tasks.
Canva has changed the design game and it’s regularly adding AI-powered tools to make the process even easier. Two recent launches include Text to Image and Canva Docs. With Text to Image you can type a description of an anything you can imagine; Canva then uses AI to create that image from scratch. Canva Docs helps create a presentation from a written document, or generate beautifully designed documents.
A similar, more advanced option for presentations is Beautiful.ai. You can put notes, bullet points, tables and more into the platform and the built-in AI designer will create an entire presentation, pulling in relevant animations, stock images and video. All in your brand colours. It can even create a voiceover.
To manage email overload, Flowrite turns bullet points or other written instructions into fully formed emails. Select a template, set the tone (casual, formal, friendly, respectful) add brief details and Flowrite will compose a draft at the click of a button.
Instead of transcribing interviews or taking notes in meetings, Otter.ai does it for you. It records the audio, generates an automated summary as well as a full transcription before adding notes, finding common themes and categorising the content using AI.
The popularity of TikTok and video in general is putting more onus on brands to increase their video content. Easier said than done. Pictory is an AI tool built to help you turn long-form written content into short, branded videos for social media, presentations or websites.
Like Pictory, Toonly turns written content into explainer videos, and it does so using AI-generated animations.
Browse more productively
Each of the AI tools above help you become more productive on specific tasks. Which is great. But how about a browser designed to make you more efficient overall?
SigmaOS makes you better and faster at working on the web. That’s the claim, at least! It organises pages, tabs and web apps by project, sets reminders for individual projects and helps you multitask with notes and split-screen functions. It’s like Chrome meets OneNote.
SideKick brings all your apps, tabs, projects and accounts together, like SigmaOS, but it does so with some key speed upgrades. This browser uses AI to learn your habits, offload tabs you’re not using, and combine pages from the same site or program to vastly improve loading times and CPU usage. This not only makes you more productive by organising your work, it allows you to get things done quicker without page-loading delays.
Ignore the talk about AI stealing jobs: instead, use it to keep you focused and motivated in yours. Automation is our friend, and it’s time we all took advantage of it.
UPDATE: On 13 July 2023, we updated the link to a report about (workers spending 28% of their week managing email) as the previous link no longer worked.
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