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How Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence Can Help You Save Time at Work

17Nov

By Adelyn Zhou Every entrepreneur can likely relate: You wake up each morning to hundreds of unread emails, stare at a to-do list that never seems to die, and schedule meetings on a fully-booked calendar two months out. With a workload like this, every minute is essential. That’s why I constantly invest time in finding ways to automate the more mundane aspects of work

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By Adelyn Zhou

Every entrepreneur can likely relate: You wake up each morning to hundreds of unread emails, stare at a to-do list that never seems to die, and schedule meetings on a fully-booked calendar two months out. With a workload like this, every minute is essential. That’s why I constantly invest time in finding ways to automate the more mundane aspects of work. I founded a company that curates the latest news on bots and AI, and recently, I found a series of artificial intelligence-powered bots that collectively save me, and potentially you, an hour a day.

  1. Personal Assistant

Countless hours each week are spent in the back and forth of coordinating meeting times. A typical meeting takes at least five emails to schedule (not including rescheduling!). At one minute per email, that’s five minutes to schedule one meeting. Assuming you have five meetings a day, that is 25 minutes a day spent on scheduling alone!

The traditional solution has been executive assistants or outsourcing to virtual assistants. However, not everyone has this luxury. With intelligent bots, directors, managers, and even individual contributors can use a bot schedule their meetings. X.ai‘s Amy Ingram is an AI scheduling bot that integrates with your calendar to organize meetings based on your preference. Clara is another AI-powered assistant that is supported by humans as a fail safe.

Now, if you were to ask me to meet for lunch, I’d send you an email and CC Clara or Amy. They’ll automatically reach out to you to find a time based on my meeting preferences, and put the event on our calendars.

Time saved: 25 minutes/day

  • 2. Mutual Connection Search
  • Whenever I met someone, I always try to get a sense of who they are before we meet. With Intro on Slack, you can get detailed information on all your team member’s connections in Slack. Need a warm intro to potential partners, clients or talent? You can simply search in Intro in Slack for team members who are first- and second-degree connections to the contact you are trying to reach. 

    Time saved: 10 minutes/day

  • 3. Team Polls and Feedback
  • Sometimes, we want to grab a group lunch, but no one can decide on a place to eat. With Polly or Simple Poll, it’s easy to create a poll to find the best answer. Furthermore, I really like the functionalities to automatically ask for feedback after team meetings and to create a recurring pulse check on team happiness. As a manager, it’s important that I stay on top of the overall employee sentiment.

    Time saved: 5 minutes/day

  • 4. Daily News Feeds
  • There’s so much happening in the business and tech space. In the morning, I set my Amazon Echo to wake me up with the Daily NPR Newd Brief. During the day, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and the New York Times all have chatbots on Facebook Messenger or Slack that share relevant news. Furthermore, Harvard Business Review recently released a chatbot on Slack that shares top business management theories and practices.

    Time saved: 5 minutes/day

  • 5. Meditation Reminder
  • Have a moment of mindfulness each day. While it may not explicitly save you time, it can rejuvenate your mind and boost your productivity. Try using any bot that reminds you to meditate in order to form a habit. My team and I preferred to develop our own product called Peaceful Habit, a Facebook Messenger bot, that combines with the Amazon Alexa skill kit to choose different durations for meditation.

    Time saved: 5 minutes/day

  • 6. Team Task Completer
  • I Done This on Slack (or Status Hero, which is cheaper) are great tools to share with team members what you’ve accomplished during the day. It’s daily check-ins and progress reports allow my team, especially a geographically distributed one, to run more effectively. It emails me each day to fill out my accomplishments, pools them, then shares them.

    Time saved: 5 minutes/day

  • 7. Team Shopping
  • Every office needs supplies such as coffee, paper and printer ink cartridges. However, shopping for lots of items on a regular basis can be very time-consuming. Kip is an easy-to-use group shopping tool that coordinates team purchases and tracks group spending. Even if you have an office manager, this can save that person the time to track down different order preferences.

    Time saved: 5 minutes/day

    Total time saved: 60 minutes/day

    With these seven bot and AI automation tools, I’ve saved myself an hour of time each day. By outsourcing the routine parts of my work, I free up my time to focus on strategy, form game-changing partnerships, maintain my health, and hone many other important aspects of being an entrepreneur.

    Adelyn Zhou is the Co-Founder & Head of Marketing at TOPBOTS, a leading firm focused on the strategy, design and marketing of chatbots.

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