💯 How I Improved Productivity By 40%

What I’ve learned about generative AI in 2024

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Onward Everyday

Good morning.

I wrote about generative artificial intelligence (AI) eight months ago, and have learned a lot since then. It’s wild to think I’m barely scratching the surface of how it can be used in my businesses.

Today, I’m sharing what I’ve learned, in hopefully, the least nerdy way possible.

Use the Poll at the bottom to let me know if you think ChatGPT wrote today's newsletter or not. I’ll share the answer next week.

Let’s get into it.


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Today, I’m sharing how I think about generative AI and how I leverage its power and speed to improve my productivity by 40%.

Technology’s purpose has always been to improve human lives.

It has simplified complex processes, increased efficiency, and automated manual tasks that would have taken a person dozens of hours or been impossible to complete in one’s lifetime.

As artificial intelligence continues to develop, it will fundamentally change how we work and live.

One person will have the ability to accomplish what large teams do today.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of noise and uncertainty around AI right now. Uncertainty causes most people to pause. The problem is that the world is changing too fast for anyone to afford inaction.

Artificial Intelligence won’t replace humans. Humans that use AI will replace humans that don’t.

The good news is, the mindset to have regarding generative AI and how to use it to explode your productivity is right here: 👇

How I Think About Generative AI

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@StarWars via GIPHY

As we learn to deeply integrate artificial intelligence into our daily workflow, we will see a 10/80/10 rule for using AI.

  1. You do the first 10% of the work (i.e. you THINK)

  2. ChatGPT executes the middle 80% (i.e. the heavy lifting)

  3. You do the last 10% of quality control (i.e. editing, fine-tuning)

Humans have so much context and perspective from their lived experience that AI doesn’t have. Our ability to think critically, have empathy, understand nuances, and be creative are innately human.

We will continue to use these skills to begin our work and finish it.

AI will allow us to complete hours or weeks of work, that middle 80% in minutes or seconds.

While it will continue to become more accurate and produce higher-quality outputs over time, we will (likely) still need to check its work and put our finishing touches on it.

How I Get Better Results with ChatGPT

When it comes to inputs and outputs, this has always been true:

Garbage In = Garbage Out

The same goes for working with generative AI.

Better Prompts = Better Results

A prompt is an instruction you give AI.

Better prompts require a different type of thinking than most of us are used to today.

You have to write, in detail, what you want AI to do. Furthermore, in order to write in such detail, you have to be able to clearly visualize and think through each step.

I’ve found that ChatGPT doesn't understand what, “Write at an 8th grade reading level” means.

I have to describe it. “Write in short sentences. Avoid jargon. Have an active voice. No adverbs. Make it sound conversational.”

You can also use a technique called “role prompting” to control the style of the output. It gives AI the context it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Role prompting is often used to style text.

You ask AI to pretend to be a certain person, or act in a certain way, thus changing how it writes based on the assigned role. You can use this technique to change the tone, style, and even the depth of the output.

Here’s an example:

“You are a customer service representative. Draft an email to a client advising them about a delay in the delivery schedule due to logistical problems.”

When leveraging tools like ChatGPT, be very specific in your prompts.

Begin with a role, then outline specific instructions.

Your instructions may include formatting or style requirements and also exclusions (i.e., what you don’t want).

How I Improved Productivity By 40%

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Nothing worth doing happens overnight.

To achieve the results we want, we must slow down enough to learn the skills necessary for a breakthrough.

ChatGPT was available for over a year before I slowed down enough to learn some basic prompt engineering.

I invested a few hours learning how ChatGPT can help me in my work. I then invested a few more hours slowing down and incorporating it into my daily workflow.

A few hours upfront have helped me save 40% of my time each week to redeploy into other priorities.

Are you leveraging AI in your business? 

Hit reply and let me know!


In The Weeds 🌾
Resources so you can dive deeper

  • Learn Prompting—Learn how to effectively and safely use AI. Courses crafted for professionals with real-world applications

  • Write With AI—A weekly paid newsletter specializing in training the next generation of writers

  • Jeff Su—Productivity At Work YouTube channel