ChatGPT Prompts for Productivity

How can you leverage AI so you're not falling behind the curve? Start with the three most mundane (but required) areas: Research, Project Planning and Skills Development.
Written by
Kim Le
Published on
March 29, 2024
100,000 developers took 35% of the coding suggestions from Copilot... That’s a 35% increase in productivity.” - Reid Hoffman, Microsoft Board Member, LinkedIn Co-founder and VC1

Copilot AI is the automated code writing tool developed by Microsoft Github. In less than two years of its release, more than a third of new code is written by AI. Anyone not leveraging AI is going to fall behind the curve. So how can you leverage AI?

We’re going to start with three mundane areas that anyone and everyone will likely have to do at some point in their lives:

  • Ideation and research
  • Project planning or outline
  • Teach yourself something new

Level Up Your Productivity With ChatGPT in These Areas

With each of these areas we look at its importance and purpose, then dive into how ChatGPT can be used to increase the users’ productivity in carrying out these tasks. We assume that you know how to use ChatGPT, but if not, head over to https://chat.openai.com/ and just start typing in the prompt box. It should look like this:

ChatGPT getting started screen

We’ve also included in each section a Personal Review from our own experience testing out ChatGPT for each of these areas.

Ideation and Research

The genesis of any project is ideation and research. The broader and deeper this exploration, the more robust the project's foundation. Traditionally, this phase involves scouring the internet, sifting through white papers, books, and articles for hours. It's a slow and laborious process that, even when well structured, can take days, if not months.

ChatGPT can parse through troves of information in seconds. It's akin to a super-powered Google search that brings together all the disparate pieces in one place.

The productivity gain here is an inordinate amount of time back.

Example Prompts

  • teach me how to apply to college and apply for school loans. explain how the payment process and interest works on school loans. show me what tools I can use to apply. explain what colleges are looking for and how I can position myself to stand out.
  • map out the typical first year milestones for a baby. explain what is required on a daily basis to take care of a newborn and what to look out for in terms of health issues. make a list of items to purchase and set up for a newborn. make a to-do list to prepare for a new baby.

Personal Review

I’ve found ChatGPT’s parenting advice much better than most apps for parents. I can easily ask for advice and will most definitely get a politically correct answer that shows no particular political or ideological leaning. Best of all, there are no personal horror stories of all the things that can or did go wrong.

After ideation and research is user conversations. ChatGPT can’t help with user conversations, but it can in the next phase: project planning.

Project Planning

The project planning phase can often be stuck in production hell. Writing up a project plan is often as cumbersome as it is critical. It’s not uncommon to have writer's block, especially at the onset of a new gig when the idea itself, the parameters, and scope aren't clear.

By feeding ChatGPT the pertinent details and context, you can receive an initial, organized structure to build upon.

The productivity gain here is overcoming your own inertia and getting you started.

Example Prompts

  • Map out a business plan for a new restaurant business in Cleveland, Ohio that looks to sell healthy comfort food for working professionals in downtown. Include the required local and state tax, license and any other compliance requirements. Include timeline and estimated costs.
  • Map out the grant application for DOD for a new business in climate tech. explain all of the requirements and give an outline of the project.
  • Write up a project plan following the agile framework

Personal Review

I find ChatGPT project plans to be inadequate here, which is natural since this is an area I have extensive experience in. From my high school days leading up clubs to managing a company-wide budget, project planning is second nature to me, and I have preferences on how I like to see them done. I’ll probably skip this feature of ChatGPT, unless it’s to test out a new planning framework like the last prompt above.

Teach Yourself Something New

Professionals are continually required to update their skillsets. While this idea isn't contested, the “how” often gets overlooked. How do you start?

ChatGPT can be the tutor you never knew you needed. Ask it anything, and you're sure to get an informative, coherent response. It’ll be better than sifting through a dozen of Google search results. Although ChatGPT isn’t always right and doesn’t always give enough specifics (except when it’s copy and pasting), it can get you started and nudge you (generally) in the right direction. Starting in the right direction can save you from restarting and later course corrections.

The productivity gain here is starting on the right path.

Example Prompts

  • What languages should I learn if I wanted to start learning programming
  • Map out the process for buying a new house. include any cost benefit analysis of rent versus buy. include process for getting a mortgage and what is the sale process with typical estimate for costs.
  • List and provide the verbiage for all the legal notices and documents generally required when starting a consulting business and have a website.

Personal Review

This is my personal favorite use of ChatGPT. Usually I’m researching a wide range of Google search results. By the time I get the information I need, I’ve gone through at least 50 webpages. This is a fast and relatively accurate way of getting information quickly. What I like best is that the answer is usually broken down into chunks so I can delve into each specific topic as a follow-up question to ChatGPT. It has flaws like misinformation and lack of citations, but it’s an excellent starting point.

Experiment with Other AI Tools

While ChatGPT is all the craze, it's also a poor tool for most generic use cases. Increasingly the LLM tools like ChatGPT will be tailored for users’ specific needs. Examples of this include GitHub’s Copilot used to write code or Jasper, an AI writing assistant which can transform and vastly accelerate the way you create content. Even Figma’s FigJam AI can whip up a customized brainstorming session in seconds. (We use both Jasper and FigJam’s AI assist in our line of work).

The key to leveraging AI for productivity isn't just in using each for their individual strengths or relying on one AI solution, but in experimenting and understanding how they complement each other. By testing, experimenting, and iterating on how to use multiple AI tools, you can create a workflow that streamlines your process, from conception to completion. The end result: infinite productivity gains.

Related Articles

ChatGPT Issues, Pitfalls, and Caveats - the Verdict is Still Out

ChatGPT for Stay at Home Moms Who Need to Simplify Life

How to Use ChatGPT for Work - Automating Tedious Writing Tasks in Your Day Job

Citation

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/14/microsoft-ai-leaps-ahead-heres-what-its-human-leader-thinks-about-it.html

[2]https://www.freethink.com/robots-ai/github-copilot

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