How to Improve Productivity with AI

Computer screen that is utilizing AI to analyze data

image above was generated by ai

Consider this opening paragraph:

 “In today’s fast-paced business landscape, efficiency is paramount. Every decision counts, and every moment matters. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) steps in, offering a transformative solution to streamline processes and unlock new potentials. From automating routine tasks to uncovering insights from vast data sets, AI holds the key to unlocking unprecedented efficiencies that can propel businesses forward in a rapidly evolving marketplace. In this blog, we’ll explore how harnessing the power of AI can revolutionize the way businesses operate, delivering tangible benefits that drive growth and success.”

What you just read was written entirely by ChatGPT. 

Could it be better? Absolutely.

Could our team have written an original draft more quickly? Probably not.

chatgpt prompt for business strategy consulting firm description

We’re not suggesting that you let AI tools like ChatGPT take over major tasks like content development. But we are demonstrating how AI tools can help you gain efficiency in your work and boost your productivity. A recent study on the impact of generative AI on highly skilled workers led by Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group, among others, found that when AI is used within the boundaries of its capabilities, it can improve a worker’s performance by as much as 40 percent compared to workers who don’t use it.

Circling back to the example above, people often struggle when starting a writing project. Whether it’s a blog, article, speech, or even a social media post, people frequently get hung up figuring out the best way to open it or they get overwhelmed before they even start, procrastinating for hours or even days beforehand.

ChatGPT is a fantastic tool to get you over that initial hurdle of simply getting an introduction down “on paper” that you can then revise and refine as you choose. Best of all, it can do this in mere seconds as opposed to what might otherwise take hours. Efficiency is one of the primary benefits of integrating AI into your everyday work.

Of course you’ve heard the chatter and concerns about AI replacing humans in many areas of the professional world. But the fact is, AI cannot replace the human brain, which is capable of so many other things such as reasoning, invention, creativity, emotion, empathy, and perhaps most important, the curiosity that drives our questions. And, as we’ve stated before, questions are becoming increasingly important to harness the power of AI. Therefore, we believe it’s safe to say that AI won’t replace people in the professional world; however, people who know how to use it will likely edge out those who don’t.

With that said, the best way to learn how AI can help you in your work is simply by trying it. Over the last year at MindSalt, we’ve incorporated AI in numerous ways ranging from analyzing data to creating graphics. For a recent research project, we used ChatGPT to extract key themes from survey responses. We organized and uploaded open-ended survey responses into the premium version of ChatGPT, then inputted the appropriate prompts asking it to summarize key themes from the data. It very quickly produced results that we later confirmed through our own analysis were on target.

“Using AI helped expedite the analysis from what would have previously taken several days or longer down to a single day,” said MindSalt Consulting Associate Jake Lovinger. “We’re being very careful to think of AI as a reference rather than use it as a crutch. In this case, it gave us more eyes on information that we were looking to contextualize and helped us summarize what we were trying to better understand. It also helped us compare and verify our own analysis, acting as a tool to confirm and improve our work.”

As you continue your exploration of AI and how it can help you gain efficiency, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Consider Your Pain Points – When thinking about how to best use AI, consider the pain points in your work. Are there tasks that routinely take a considerable amount of time or resources? If so, determine if any of the related tasks can be handled or even just started by AI tools like ChatGPT. Not sure? Give it a try and find out…which leads us to our next tip.
  • Prompts Are Critical – To get the most out of AI, we have to train our chosen tools to generate the output we’re seeking. This is why prompts are so important. “It only knows what it knows,” Lovinger said. Before we even ask the tool to do something, we must tell it who and what we want it to be along with all the perspectives we want it to integrate into its response. The quality of inputs we provide will always be key in attaining the quality of output we want.
  • Understand Its Limitations – Because AI only knows what it knows, it is certainly subject to error. It is still deeply reliant upon us, our ability to train it, and ask the right questions. So, we must recognize that it should serve only a supporting role in our work, not the lead. As Lovinger said, “We try not to approach it as something that has all the answers, but as a way to enrich our work vs. do it for us.”

 Do you have questions about how AI tools could help you or your organization gain efficiency?