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The Productivity Heist of the Century

Learn how leveraging AI tools can save knowledge workers 1-4 hours per week, delivering significant ROI and enhancing the quality and depth of work produced.

This is the second post in my “The Ultimate Immunity Idol: Using AI to Outperform, Outproduce, and Outgrow in the Workforce of Today and Tomorrow” series sharing my experiences using AI tools working for a young startup. In this post I’ll share some basics on how I use AI and the ROI.

Work smarter, not harder. A lifelong adage that has driven technology advancements for centuries in manufacturing, transportation, farming, and almost every other industry has now found the information economy. In today’s competitive business environment, leveraging technology to boost productivity is not just an option, it’s a necessity. Generative AI tools such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Zoom’s AICompanion, and Microsoft Copilot are the modern-day equivalent to the Gutenberg printing press in the 15th century.

Over the past months, I’ve expanded my professional toolkit and experienced firsthand the transformative power ChatGPT+ and Microsoft Copilot can bring to the table. With a combined monthly subscription cost of $50, these tools have not only enhanced my daily workflows but have also offered significant financial returns on investment (ROI).

Horizontal Use Cases: Streamlining Processes

Let’s start with the broadest applications of AI, I call these the “horizontal” use cases. I define “horizontal” use cases as prompts and applications that have the broadest adoption, cutting across various tasks and departments. These prompts are primarily used to automate routine tasks.
In my daily use, these include:

  • Automated Discussion Summaries: “Recap this discussion” quickly condenses and distills my hour-long calls & meetings into concise, actionable minutes, saving significant time on note-taking and follow-up. As a result, I’m more present in meetings whereas in the past, many times I was listening to document vs listening to participate. It’s an invigorating feeling to be on video and see my hands on-screen…participants know they have my full attention.
  • Drafting follow up emails: When I tell Copilot to “Draft a follow up email summarizing this discussion” I receive professional emails that accurately capture the essence of the meeting in half the time that I previously would have spent writing them from scratch, saving me ~15 minutes per call. While I still will add some edits to these drafts, the speed of building a framework to renovate vs starting from scratch after each call is a massive productivity gain, especially when multiple emails must be sent to different audiences for the same meeting (internal commentary vs external communications for example).
  • Task Tracking: Copilot has done an incredible job in keeping track of project deadlines and deliverables without manual inputs, ensuring less slips through the cracks.

These tasks are just examples and, while necessary, they are time-consuming and often repetitive. AI tools handle them with ease, allowing me to free my focus on more strategic activities. The bulk of my ROI comes from these prompts. Depending on how busy I am from week to week, I generally recover anywhere from 1-4 hours a week from these horizontal prompts & use cases.

Vertical Use Cases: Delivering Insights

Here’s where the mind-blowing power of these tools begins to emerge. “Vertical” use cases are prompts and use cases that are more focused on specific workflows, so their application will vary across different lines of business. These prompts & use cases are focused less on automating routine tasks but instead provide insight into decision-making. Basically, AI acts as a trusted advisor, coach, and an extension of my team, helping me confirm what I believe, challenge my assumptions, or illustrate potential blind spots I may have missed in conversations.

Examples include:

  • Data Analysis: During or after calls & meetings I’ll ask Copilot “Based on this conversation…” and then add a question based on the call. Copilot will provide insights and analysis that helps steer project directions and decision making.
  • Market Research: I have ongoing conversation threads in ChatGPT 4.o brainstorming potential ideas for marketing campaigns, branding differentiation, and competitor analysis. Using dedicated conversation threads helped, pre-release of 4.o, with enabling “memory” inside of ChatGPT+, I didn’t have to include reminders in every prompt…we just picked up conversation threads right away.
  • Custom Reports & Strategy: As I’ve begun developing marketing strategies & architectures, I’ve used ChatGPT for coaching, advice, and solicited constructive feedback which has dramatically enhanced the outputs and delivered outsized successes.

These AI-driven tasks are not just about saving time; they are about enhancing the quality and depth of work produced, thereby impacting business outcomes more significantly.

The Cost-Benefit Analysis

According to recent data, the average hourly wage for a North American knowledge worker is approximately $34.75. In my experience, integrating AI tools into my routine has saved me between 1 to 4 hours each week. Here is a quick look at the math:

  • 1 hour saved per week: $34.75 x 1 = $34.75/week → $139/month
  • 4 hours saved per week: $34.75 x 4 = $139/week → $556/month

Comparing these savings to the $50 monthly expense for the AI tools, the financial benefit becomes clear. Even at the lower end, using these tools offers an ROI that far exceeds their cost, freeing up valuable hours and directly adding to the bottom line. I’m sure I could even further amplify the ROI by streamlining to just using Copilot, but my experience using it outside of Teams is limited but growing. I’m still a satisfied ChatGPT+ customer thanks to my ability to have conversations with the tool using the voice interface (bring back SKY!)

Conclusion

Integrating AI tools like ChatGPT+ and Microsoft Copilot into my daily workflows is not just a matter of staying current with technology—it’s about strategically enhancing my productivity and ensuring I have a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace and tomorrow’s workplace. The investment in these tools, both in terms of money and time spent learning them, clearly pays off, providing not just quantitative returns but also qualitative improvements in work life.

As Scott Galloway aptly put it, “AI isn’t going to take your job. However, someone proficient in AI will absolutely take your job.” By mastering these tools, you can ensure you’re not just keeping pace but staying ahead, outproducing, outperforming, and outgrowing the competition.

In my next post, I’ll share a creative way I’ve used ChatGPT to scale my marketing department with purpose built GPTs.