AI Prompts for Productivity

May 13, 2024 9:55:50 AM

If you can't find enough time to get through everything on your task list, AI may be just the help you need – even if you're not technologically inclined. Recently, AI's writing and imagery 'skills' have been in the spotlight. Generative AI is the technology that does this, and the big tech companies are in a kind of tech-tool arms race with their releases. As a business owner, you can benefit by getting smart about your prompts and what you use them for.

Prime with precise prompts

Before looking at ways AI can help your productivity, here are some general tips on getting the most from prompts. Generative AI refers to a subset of artificial intelligence technologies that can generate new content, ideas, or data based on the inputs it receives, so prompts are key. A well-crafted prompt can result in outputs that save time, generate innovative ideas, or automate routine tasks.

Be specific: The more detailed your prompt, the more accurate and useful the AI's output will be.

Define the goal: Clearly state what you want to achieve with the output, whether generating ideas, automating tasks, or creating content.

Provide context: Giving the AI context helps tailor the outputs to your business's unique needs and audience.

Find more speed in tech tasks you already take on

Administrative tasks can take up a big part of your day. Generative AI can help you out in creating documents, reports, or even code for simple website updates. To create a customisable document that saves hours each month, try, "Draft a monthly sales report template highlighting key performance indicators."

Microsoft business products are quickly integrating AI into their standard suites, so you can expect to see AI help pop up soon. You'll also see this option in many other software offerings. Marketing platforms that allow you to write and schedule social media posts now include AI. This brings a productivity gain for you. Rather than sit and wonder about what hashtags to include, you can just click and have AI do that work. You can do the same thing with emojis! Even outside specific platforms, you can use a prompt to save time with such tasks. Here's an example, “Please give me some ideas for emojis to include in social media posts about business mentoring in New Zealand.”

Streamline content creation

Creating consistent content can be a daunting task for small businesses. Generative AI can get you underway with blog posts and social media updates. With the prompts that outline your business's tone, target audience, and key messages, it can deliver drafts that require minimal editing. For instance, "Please create a 500-word blog post about the benefits of sustainable packaging for small businesses, targeting eco-conscious consumers."

Create spreadsheets, tables and formulas easily

AI chats can do more than create text! If you have a particular formula you need in a spreadsheet or want to set up a table, you can ask AI for help. This can save you a lot of time if there are tricky formulae that you don't use often. Rather than search for the details, you can ask your AI chat to make the sheet for you ready to download with the formulas already in it. Similarly, if you need information in tables, you can just ask, and voilà. This can be great for rosters, etc. You can ask it to make adjustments to the first version, too. Here's one example: "Please create an Excel sheet I can download. The leftmost column should be formatted as dates. Please include a formula for that column so it lists every third day only.” And here's another: "Please create a table that lists two staff members for every day of the week over March. I have five staff members. Their names are Alex, Tai, Sam, Max, and AJ."

Have help with difficult emails

Every now and then, most people find themselves agonising over a delicate email. It might be a response to a customer complaint or replying to a supplier issue that makes your blood boil. When your emotions are running high, chat AI can give you an objective perspective and fresh ideas. Usually, you won’t want to take the first answer you get, but the fit will improve as you refine your prompts over time. However, the outputs you get can be all you need to conquer the blank page or find a few phrases that would fit the bill. Just remember not to put in any personal data. Here’s an example: “Please write me an empathetic email of about 300 words to our customer. It should explain we cannot refund a customer's deposit as they cancelled their appointment outside our usual grace period. This is an important customer; we hope they'll keep doing business with us.”

Generate business ideas and solutions

Small business owners often need to think creatively to solve problems or identify new opportunities. Generative AI can act as a brainstorming partner. You can unlock a range of suggestions and solutions by inputting a prompt that outlines a specific challenge or goal. For example: "Generate five innovative product ideas for a sustainable fashion brand targeting millennials."

Simplify market research

Understanding market trends and consumer preferences is crucial, but extensive research can be time-consuming. Generative AI can summarise articles, reports, and reviews, giving you insights without the need to sift through large volumes of data. A prompt could be, "Summarise the key findings of the latest report on consumer preferences in organic food products."

For small business owners, generative AI is not just a futuristic concept but a practical tool that can enhance productivity, creativity, and efficiency today. By understanding how to craft specific prompts, you can leverage AI to automate tasks, generate new ideas, and better serve your customers. While the technology might seem complex, its application in your business doesn't have to be. Start exploring the possibilities of generative AI, and you might be surprised at how much you can achieve with just a few well-chosen words.