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10 AI Tools Every Busy Professional Should Use

Try these AI tools for better time management and efficiency.

Nour Eldin Ebrahim
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As the founder of Scale by AI, an AI and automation consultancy, I'm exploring how AI can make businesses more efficient. I've discovered 10 game-changing AI tools that leaders can use to automate repetitive work and get data-driven insights. Whether you need better scheduling, team collaboration, handling of repetitive tasks, or more high-value work done daily, there is an AI solution out there for you. My goal is to convince leaders to embrace AI's potential to eliminate drudgery, drive faster growth through data, and unlock human creativity by taking repetitive jobs off your plate. With the right tools, AI can make us all productivity powerhouses.

1. Scheduling Assistants: Take Back Control of Your Calendar

As someone struggling with calendar chaos, I started my AI productivity journey with scheduling assistant apps. These tools help you effortlessly take back control of your schedule from pointless meetings and frequent interruptions.

My favorite is Reclaim, which protects time for your most important priorities each day. Based on the habits and tasks you log, Reclaim will block off time on your calendar and prevent others from booking over it. I use it daily to safeguard my morning workout, mid-day creative sessions, and evening family time. Reclaim is like having a strong personal assistant who knows what matters most and defends that time for you.

I also recommend Clockwise. This free app analyzes your calendar to detect inefficient meeting patterns. Shockingly, it revealed I spend 18 hours in status update meetings every month--yikes! Based on this insight, Clockwise created a new balanced schedule, promising to save me 5 hours each week. It even scheduled a 1-hour mandatory break to prove the concept. I'm still tweaking the settings, but already get so much time back.

Tips to get started:

  • Audit your calendar to identify time drains and frustration points.
  • Block fixed time for your vital priorities with Reclaim.
  • Review Clockwise insights and adjust settings for an ideal workflow.

2. Meeting Assistants: Effortlessly Capture Conversations

Between all those meetings on my calendar, I was wasting so much time taking notes and trying to remember key discussion points. Meeting assistant apps changed this completely by capturing conversations for me to reference later.

My top pick is TactiQ because of how seamlessly it records, transcribes, and organizes meetings. I simply open the TactiQ app during any meeting and it generates a shareable transcript formatted with speaker names and text highlights. I can even search the conversation later to find what I need. TactiQ feels like my personal assistant, taking notes so I can focus on the discussion.

I also use Krisp, which saves my sanity in noisy environments by removing annoying background sounds from meetings. It's like noise-canceling headphones for your conversations! The enhanced audio quality also makes meetings easier to transcribe accurately.

Tips to get started:

  • Have TactiQ running during meetings to capture transcripts.
  • Enable Krisp to filter out barking dogs, keyboard clicks, and other noises.

3. Writing Assistants: Craft Better Content Faster

Crafting good content is time-intensive, especially with my busy schedule. Fortunately, writing assistant apps help me create professional blogs, emails, and social posts more efficiently using AI.

My favorite all-rounder is Grammarly, which takes my writing to the next level by catching grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style errors. I simply paste text I've written into Grammarly and it provides suggestions to fix run-on sentences, typos, tone issues, and more. I use the Grammarly browser extension everywhere--docs, email, social media--ensuring everything I write is polished.

When I need help crafting marketing copy or testimonials, Copy.ai is fantastic. I describe the content goals and target audience. Copy.ai then generates multiple creative headlines and paragraph suggestions for me to incorporate, edit, or expand upon. I've created 20 personalized testimonials for a recent event in under 30 minutes thanks to Copy.ai's writing assistant.

Finally, Wordtune saves me time by rewriting sentences more concisely while preserving meaning. I highlight any clumsy sentence and Wordtune provides an improved version to choose from. This helps me trim word count and simplify text without effort.

Tips to get started:

  • Install Grammarly extension and paste writing samples to correct.
  • Use Copy.ai to kickstart copywriting and content creation.
  • Shorten and strengthen sentences easily with Wordtune.

4. Research Assistants: Uncover Insights Faster

Conducting research is vital in my industry, but the legwork devours time. Research assistant tools use AI to automate the tedious parts of researching, helping me learn more in less time.

My go-to app is genei, which feels like having a team of research interns at my disposal 24/7. I simply create a new project in genei describing the research focus and keywords. Genei then explores millions of online sources, pulling relevant articles, papers, references, and graphics into an organized workspace. I can quickly scan summaries, view cited papers, check out cited references to dig deeper, or export everything to reference later. Genei even identifies the companies and authors doing the most advanced work around my topic so I can keep up with cutting-edge research.

For ad-hoc research questions, Aomni is the perfect AI-powered search companion. Rather than browsing Google aimlessly, I ask Aomni a specific question and it compiles relevant information from trustworthy sites. Aomni reads and summarizes each article, extracts key statistics, and presents everything in an easy-to-skim report. I've used Aomni to research competitor product launches, pricing studies, industry reports, potential partners, and so much more, saving at least 2-3 hours per inquiry.

Tips to get started:

  • Outline your research project in genei to automate the ongoing legwork.
  • Offload one-off questions to Aomni for quick but comprehensive answers.

5. Email Assistants: Regain Control of Your Inbox

The average professional spends over a month per year just on email. Email consumes too much time, yet I can't escape it. Thankfully, AI email assistants help tame overflowing inboxes by prioritizing messages, suggesting responses, and automating mundane tasks.

My favorite is SaneBox because it completely transformed my unmanageable inbox in just minutes. I connected my Gmail account and SaneBox used AI to analyze my email behavior. It automatically filters out newsletters, notifications, and other clutter into a separate digest. SaneBox surfaces priority emails in my main inbox, keeping it focused. With customizable rules and reminders, SaneBox prevents messages from slipping through the cracks so I can achieve "inbox zero" daily.

For customer support teams, EmailTree looks very promising. It analyzes incoming emails and suggests intelligent responses or workflow automation to handle each message. By providing relevant order updates, knowledge base suggestions, and task assignments, EmailTree can reduce manual triage time substantially. I'm still evaluating this tool for my support team, but the early results are outstanding.

Tips to get started:

  • Connect inboxes to SaneBox and adjust filters to tame email chaos.
  • Consider EmailTree to offload customer/user email from support reps.

6. Presentation Assistants: Design Decks in Minutes

Creating decks for important presentations is always a headache. Thankfully, AI-powered presentation tools now provide templates, designs, and even generated content to make light work of building slick slides.

Gamma is my new go-to presentation maker because, well, it creates truly beautiful slides with no effort. I simply choose a presentation theme, type in my title and bullets, and Gamma designs a polished deck for me. The AI considers colors, fonts, spacing, alignments, imagery, transitions, and more to transform my raw content into a presentation I'm proud to deliver. When I update numbers or text, Gamma revises the slides automatically in seconds.

If I'm short on time, Slidesgo develops the entire presentation for me with only basic prompts. I give my topic, goal, and audience level and Slidesgo's AI generates customized slides and talking points to hit the mark. I can then tweak the generated content before presenting. For last-minute deck building, Slidesgo is a lifesaver!

Finally, the easy-to-use Decktopus creates solid starter decks I can riff on. I enter key details like industry, talk length, etc. and Decktopus designs a relevant template presentation with filler text/images. I overwrite the filler with my content and swap out any images, and the starter deck helps me build faster.

Tips to get started:

  • Use Gamma to instantly prettify basic slide content.
  • When short on time, Slidesgo will generate full presentations.
  • Decktopus provides starter decks to accelerate creation.

7. Chatbots: Your Instant Expert Sidekick

Chatbots like ChatGPT are taking the world by storm by providing informative, conversational answers on demand like a personal expert sidekick. These AI chat tools offer quick access to specialized knowledge that saves time scouring sites yourself.

My favorite is ChatGPT because the detailed responses blow my mind daily. I can describe problems or questions in natural language and ChatGPT replies conversationally with helpful advice, creative ideas, content suggestions, research results, and more. For example, I asked ChatGPT for advice about pricing models for an upcoming webinar I'm organizing. In perfect English, it provided 4 pricing option frameworks with the pros/cons of each as well as examples tailored to my situation. The depth and accuracy rival what a human expert would produce!

For technical queries, Hugging Face also looks promising. It has over 100 industry-specific AI models to answer questions about programming, cybersecurity, cloud architecture, medicine, legal matters, and more. So far, I'm impressed with how Hugging Face breaks down complex topics into understandable explanations, pseudo-code, and visual diagrams. Definitely one to watch!

Tips to get started:

  • Use ChatGPT for everyday questions and watch in awe as it answers conversationally.
  • Check out Hugging Face's technical models if you need coding/expert domain support.

8. Image Generators: Visually Bring Ideas to Life

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so I'm always trying to communicate complex ideas and emotions visually. But finding or creating meaningful images myself devoured too much time until AI image-generation tools arrived. Now I can instantly turn text descriptions into remarkable photos and designs.

My favorite AI image creator is DALL-E 2 because the quality of the computer-generated pictures is unbelievable. I simply describe the photo I want as "a daisy flower against a purple and blue cloudy sunset sky." In seconds, DALL-E 2 generates dozens of photos matching my prompt with shocking realism. I now use these AI images across my documents, websites, and social posts to reinforce concepts quickly.

Midjourney also produces impressive AI artwork, especially for abstract concepts. I gave Midjourney the prompt "a businesswoman juggling too many tasks feeling overwhelmed" and it designed a striking surreal image conveying that emotion perfectly. For marketing campaigns or presentations, Midjourney helps translate feelings and ideas into memorable visuals with ease.

Finally, Stable Diffusion generates images from text prompts like DALL-E 2 but also allows you to adjust aspects like style, perspective, lighting, etc. for more control. This is ideal when I want to guide the AI to create very specific designs.

Tips to get started:

  • Feed DALL-E vivid text prompts and use the images anywhere.
  • Midjourney excels at turning abstract concepts into surreal AI art.
  • Adjust Stable Diffusion outputs for precision image generation.

9. Video Generators: Automate Multimedia Production

When I need to communicate concepts visually, basic images don't always cut it. Creating professional videos myself however is extremely time-intensive. Thankfully, AI video generation tools now help accelerate the editing process or even fully automate video creation!

My favorite is Descript because it uses AI to transcribe audio and video files, and then allows editing of the text script to manipulate the media. I can rearrange, delete, or extend sections by editing text only! Descript also improves audio quality and can generate synthetic voices. This simplifies editing podcasts, vlogs, interviews, tutorials, and more.

Runway provides some video creation magic too. I can upload a few images and describe the video I want. Runway's AI will animate the images, create transitions, add effects, incorporate music, etc. automatically. The AI even attempts to lip-sync generated audio narration with talking head videos!

Finally, Wondershare Filmora remains one of the best classic video editors, now enhanced with AI features. It can auto-crop footage, smooth cuts between clips, remove background noise, add automatic captions, and much more. I don't need to spend hours fixing basic issues anymore.

Tips to get started:

  • Upload audio/video files to Descript to accelerate editing.
  • Turn images into short animated videos with Runway.
  • Use Wondershare Filmora's AI tools to enhance footage.

10. Automation Platforms: Seamlessly Connect Workflows

While each AI tool above provides immense value, I struggled to connect insights across all the disconnected apps. The breakthrough for me was process automation platforms like Zapier that integrate tools into workflows.

For example, I used Zapier to automatically create Mem flashcards from interesting Slack conversations for later review. I also set up a Zap linking DALL-E's AI image generator to automatically add any new images as assets in my Buffer social media manager.

With thousands of app integrations and using natural language to create flows, Zapier opened my eyes to connecting workplace tools via automation. Managing individual apps is one thing, but stitching data and workflows across tools lets me leverage AI much more strategically. Take time to explore what's possible!

Tips to get started:

  • Think through your daily processes to identify bottlenecks.
  • Check out pre-made Zaps for your most-used apps.
  • Use Zapier's natural language builder to create automation.

I'll be the first to admit--I was skeptical about AI productivity tools at first. Could they enhance my workstyle and output so significantly? I couldn't have been more wrong. Leveraging these AI apps has fundamentally upgraded my daily efficiency and capabilities.

The key is smart integration. Each tool has strengths on its own, but interconnecting them via automation platforms like Zapier is a game-changer. Now I have AI-powered systems running behind the scenes to liberate my time for higher-level work. I have more energy focusing on core priorities instead of logistics and tedious tasks.

My advice? Don't write off AI as just hype. Start small by picking a few tools in this article that resolve your biggest work pain points. Over time, expand your repertoire and connect more systems with automation. Before you know it, you'll have your own Iron Man-esque AI ecosystem powering your productivity. The future is here and waiting for no one--it's time to ride the wave to accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible!

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