As AI makes further inroads into business tech, its image is slowly shifting from one of dystopian overlord to dutiful assistant. A once unnerving, inaccessible technology is being packaged into user-friendly apps which simplify and enrich everyday tasks. Thousands of professionals are already capitalizing on the huge productive potential of AI, which some experts predict will increase US labor productivity alone by 35% within the next 15 years. We take a look at the ways AI boosts workplace productivity and the essential AI productivity apps every professional should be using.
Current AI apps for business mainly focus on automating important low-value tasks. This could involve automating whole processes to relieve workers of certain mundane tasks – like automating the timesheet creation process – or partial automation, like using AI chatbots to field generic customer queries to free more time for unusual ones.
But AI apps can also help professionals take proactive action to improve their own performance. Through its ability to quickly find patterns from huge datasets and learn what “improvement” looks like, AI can help guide positive human intervention. This could be as simple as gathering the relevant files needed to help a worker make a decision faster, or as complex as identifying disruptions, potential problems and inefficiencies in their working patterns for them to address.
It all adds up to significant overhead, time, process and cognitive savings, often leaving professionals with more mental energy for high-value, quality tasks.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t bill by the hour – AI time tracking is a must for any professional looking to understand how they spend their time and how to make it more productive. Apps like Timely automatically capture all the time you spend across devices in web and desktop apps, and pull in GPS location and phone call data to give you a complete picture of your working day. You can see how long different tasks take you, where meetings overrun, monitor your project budget spend, ensure you’re keeping to your priorities and identify time drains in your workflow. For those who do need to register hours, Timely can automatically generate accurate timesheets for you, so you can focus on productive work. It also ensures every billable detail actually makes it to your invoice, no matter how small or difficult to track.
Where one professional leaves a confusing web of scattered information, an entire team leaves a mini galaxy of the stuff. Apps like Aloe help teams store and link relevant information for quick and effortless future recall. It converts handwritten notes to text, and can even call you to take notes via diction. All information is stored and connected in a context-rich web of contacts, events and projects, allowing teams to streamline meetings, set reminders and manage different deadlines. If you take a lot of meetings on the phone, consider using Tetra – its AI creates notes while you speak, so you can just focus on the call.
If you find yourself drowning in serial meetings, consider trying a meeting AI assistant like x.ai. It automates meeting scheduling and the related back-and-forth, so you don’t have to. Apps like Zoom.AI also attempt to cut out unproductive pre-meeting preparation by scheduling your meetings with an AI assistant and pulling together relevant information from documents, digital files and CRM systems for your review – you never have to waste time rooting around for a specific file again! For the meeting content itself, try using an app like Otter to create a digital record of what you discuss. Its speech recognition is clever enough to differentiate between all the different speakers in a conversation.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, email is still hanging around. Thankfully, apps like Astro can help lighten the burden by creating intelligent inboxes to prioritize your most important emails. It learns your emailing habits and makes suggestions to help you send messages at the optimum time and snooze email when you’re not to be disturbed. For email creation itself, apps like AIZimov research your recipient to craft emails they’ll actually respond to. It’s particularly helpful if you tend to send cold emails to people outside your network. The app will learn which types of tone and length get the best results for different target audiences, as well as your own stylistic preferences.