June 18, 2024

A Founder’s Guide to Using AI For Productivity

AI productivity tools

AI is shaping the way we work and live. As a founder, I’m fascinated by the current discourse surrounding AI. Artificial intelligence holds so much potential for startups: It can help teams operate more efficiently, enhance customer experience, and improve products.

If you’re a founder or CEO like me, you’ve likely considered how AI might be useful to incorporate into your existing tech, or you may have based your entire product around it. AI startups have been experiencing quite a boom: In February 2024, global venture capital funding amounted to $21.5 billion. AI startups secured $4.7 billion of this funding.

All of this is very exciting. However, one thing you may not be considering is how significantly it can improve your day-to-day productivity as a founder and influence your performance as a leader.

Why Founders Should Use AI For Productivity

As startup founders, we have a unique role to lead, support, and create the vision for our businesses. But increasing daily demands and a packed schedule can leave you struggling to keep your head above water. When I have the time for deep work, I perform better and contribute more meaningfully to my business. I suspect that’s true for you, too.

Excessive interruptions, meetings, or too many small administrative tasks reduce my ability to reach that valuable focused time. One obvious way to cut down on these administrative functions is by delegating to your teams, a designated IC, or an assistant. Delegating is undoubtedly a huge piece of the productivity puzzle for us founders, but using AI can accelerate task completion and even make the delegating process easier.

Additionally, I’ve found that leveraging AI helps cut costs and reduces my work hours, freeing up my time to focus on growth and innovation.

If you want to use AI for productivity, it’s essential to understand how to use it for the best results. Drawing from my own experience and that of Double customers –– many of them startup founders –– I want to include some examples of ways you can use AI to help you improve your output.

A word of caution: The best combination for high efficiency includes AI tech and human effort. Leave the nuanced, complex work to your teams, managers, or assistant and the simpler, straightforward tasks to AI.

Ideas For Implementing AI For Productivity

Content Creation & Editing:

Content creation is one of the more well-known functions of generative AI. You have probably heard of tools like ChatGPT that can answer questions and draft content for you, and perhaps your marketing and sales teams have already started using this kind of feature.

But AI-generated content can come in handy for founders, too. You could use generative AI for multiple time-sucks, including:

  • Drafting email responses
  • Writing blogs and articles
  • Outlining a presentation or speech
  • Creating social media posts
  • Building a job description

Think of how much time you could save by generating content like this in seconds. You can even use AI to edit your finished product as well –– I used Grammarly to help me edit this article you’re reading right now! However, even AI may not produce a perfect draft the first time. Always give any generated content a final check before you post to ensure it captures your vision.

Aside from its writing capability, AI can help generate quick visuals, videos, and graphic design.

Suggested Tools: ChatGPT, Grammarly, Jasper, Canva, Adobe Firefly

Scheduling:

As founders, our time is always in demand, and managing the calendar can feel like a full-time job. Fortunately, I’ve found that by delegating to my remote executive assistant, Améline, and using AI tools, I can offload calendar management to optimize my productivity.

Tools like Clara and Calendly collect specific information from teams, clients, investors, and other relevant stakeholders to pinpoint dates and timings that accommodate everyone. They also capably handle rescheduling and cancellations, ensuring ongoing efficiency for you as plans inevitably change.

With the saved time, channel your focus toward your deep work and urgent projects.

Data Analytics:

For me, data is critical when I’m making decisions for Double. Founders like us can use data as our guiding light to understand trends, the market, and business performance. With its capability in data analytics, AI can be used to:

  • Analyze large quantities of data quickly
  • Reduce human error
  • Create predictive analysis
  • Identify relevant trends
  • Cut costs and hours for data review

You can use AI-generated data analysis to inform your decisions in hiring, GTM strategy, and product roadmap.

Suggested Tools: Polymer, Tableau AI, ChatGPT Data Analyst, IBM Watson Analytics

Delegating & Project Management

We founders may find it challenging to let go of tasks and projects we are used to handling ourselves. No judgment –– believe me, I’ve been guilty of this. However, delegating is one of the best things you can do for your mental health and the success of your business. A study conducted by Gallup found that CEOs with higher delegation skills posted an average three-year growth rate of 1,751% –– 112 percentage points greater than those with lower delegation skills.

But who should we delegate to? If you’re leading an early-stage startup, you might be worried that you’re overburdening your small teams with too many requests. I completely understand this feeling, and it’s a problem I’ve been passionate about solving since I founded Double.

Something that has worked for me has been delegating a set amount of hours weekly to my part-time virtual assistant, supplemented with our Mingo AI. There are several ways AI can help cut down the workload for myself and my assistant:

  1. Context gathering. When I need to delegate something, Mingo, the AI co-pilot built into the Double app, will ask any clarifying questions I may have missed and gather context so Améline doesn’t need to ask for additional instructions.

  2. Generates a Brief: Once the AI has gathered enough context, it generates a detailed brief for Améline so she can start working on the task.

  3. Provides Supplemental Assistance: AI can assist Améline with her work by finding information, giving context, and even helping with her tasks like research, writing drafts, and providing suggestions for faster task completion.

If you’re curious about what kinds of tasks to trust AI with, I can share how other founders and their Double virtual assistants use it to assist with task completion. From our internal product data, the top tasks that the Mingo AI co-pilot helps most with include:

  1. Research for things like restaurants, venues, and travel.
  2. Meeting notes summaries
  3. Personal purchases

This usage points to how helpful AI can be for tackling those small yet time-consuming tasks that we all deal with, both at work and at home. When you are able to delegate or pass these tasks off to AI, you become much more productive.

Your Daily Productivity Matters

Embracing AI for productivity can be a game-changer for startup founders. It’s not just about keeping up with trends or leveraging cutting-edge technology; it’s about reclaiming your time and focusing on what truly matters – driving innovation and growth.

Integrating AI tools allows you to streamline operations, delegate more effectively, and maintain a healthier work-life balance. As you navigate the exciting journey of entrepreneurship, remember that the power of AI lies not just in its capabilities but in how you harness it to amplify your vision.

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