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 make it go further. Apps like Timely automatically capture all the time you spend across devices in web and desktop apps (and even GPS location) 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. Its AI then takes that data to generate accurate timesheets for you. Spend less time on essential time reporting, and access an objective automatic timeline of your day.
Where each employee creates a confusing web of scattered information, an entire team makes 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.
Emails, Slacks, work tool updates – a sum of notifications continually divide our attention on a daily basis, making it virtually impossible to lock focus on productive deep work. Instead of manually setting “Do Not Disturb” across your individual apps and browsers, AI tools like Dewo can do it for you. By learning your productive patterns, they can auto-trigger notification muting whenever you enter a flow state – and re-enable notifications whenever you’re done. As an added bonus, it also intelligently reschedules meetings to salvage the bubbles of time trapped between meetings.
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 Plicca can help lighten the burden by creating intelligent inboxes which prioritize your most important emails. Its AI email assistant learns how you rank communications to sort your inbox for you. It can also help out with relate data management tasks while it's there, including calendar scheduling, data entry and invoicing. Check out SaneBox too which does a similar job – ranking and filtering your inbox to produce a slimmed inbox of high-priority messages, and an intelligent folder structure for low-priority ones.