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Automate Your Way to Personal Productivity

October 26, 2022 Collaboration and Productivity
By Dux Raymond Sy

Seventy-eight percent of business leaders today believe that automating tasks within their organization can increase overall productivity and accelerate efficiencies. Typically, they're focused on technology that supports team operations like sales and marketing automation, or customer service chatbots. What's often overlooked though, is how we can automate personal productivity using AI and machine learning algorithms.

Investing in personal productivity — and using AI to get there — is critical, especially as we witness the emergence of concerning trends like longer workdays and reduced focus time.

Reset the Workday: Find More Productive Hours

Over the past two years, Microsoft identified new patterns like the triple peak workday, where folks have added a productivity peak later in the evening, outside of traditional working hours. Additionally, Microsoft found a 14% increase in weekend work, as based on Teams usage, from 2020 to now. As we know, these habits can lead to an uneven work-life balance and ultimately burnout.

This is where AI-based tools enter. Using AI-powered tools like Motion, Cortana or Sanebox can help schedule meetings and prioritize emails. At a high level, you give the software access to your inbox, calendar and your to-do-list. Once fed this data, it will use AI and machine learning to prioritize emails, schedule meetings with colleagues and block off time on your calendar for certain projects. If you don't complete a project, this tool will automatically reschedule or book more time for you. You can even modify your preferences based on when you are most alert. For example: I am most productive from the hours of 5-8 am so this tool will schedule focus time for me then.

Similarly, individuals can use AI technology like Microsoft's Viva or file prioritization capabilities in Google Drive to suggest files that you should attach to a meeting invite or share items you should review ahead of time to prepare. Not only does this save time searching for files, but it also makes meetings overall more efficient when everyone has properly prepared ahead of time.

Related Article: Worried About Quiet Quitting? How to Create an Environment Where it Doesn't Happen

Use AI to Make Meetings Better

As compared to February 2020, the average Microsoft Teams user spends 252% more time in weekly meetings today. In addition to clogging our calendars and limiting available time for productive work, meeting fatigue has a negative impact on overall wellbeing too. While some organizations have experimented with making certain meetings optional and offering recordings, data suggests reduced engagement and information retention. Similarly, skimming a full transcript after a meeting can be tedious and it is easy to miss key takeaways.

Instead, AI can help to generate more structured documents from meetings. For example, you can imagine a document with a table of contents, headers and subsections to make information easier to digest, and more interactive. Further, individuals in a meeting may be able to alert their colleagues by simply saying their name to ensure the algorithm tags them in the relevant section, directing them to key information or actionable next steps. Ultimately, these activities will make meetings as efficient and useful as possible for live attendees and other viewers.

Related Article: Here's a Novel Idea for Leaders: Don't Monitor, Participate

Streamline Information Sharing

Over half of US professionals report wasting time searching for files in the cloud, and more than 80% can't find an important document when a boss or client has put them in the hot seat. To help, AI assistants have the potential to expedite information retrieval and sharing, to reduce time spent on lower-level tasks and free space for deeper and more creative work during the day.

For example, at AvePoint, we use AVA, our virtual assistant that helps find files, documents or even emails that are hard to locate, or were accidentally deleted. This saves users valuable time and also ensures that files which were backed up can be easily recovered. That way, they have more time to actually work on said documents and projects, instead of searching for them. Additionally, having this automated technology in place ensures that our IT team can focus on other high priorities.

At the end of the day, AI can help enhance productivity at the individual level — and yet, many of us are not implementing tools already at our fingertips, leading to more time spent working outside of traditional working hours. Using AI, however, can infuse more time into our workdays to increase output, boost engagement on higher priority projects, and ultimately mitigate the risk of burnout.

Related Article: Are Digital Assistants the New Face of Search?

About the Author

Dux Raymond Sy is the Chief Brand Officer of AvePoint and a Microsoft MVP and Regional Director. With over 20 years of business and technology experience, Dux has driven organizational transformations worldwide with his ability to simplify complex ideas and deliver relevant solutions.


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