There are a finite number of working hours every day, but put them to good use and you’ll feel like they are enough. The goal isn’t to be beavering away around the clock, missing out on sunshine, life and health in a bid to make more money. The goal is to be hyper-focused when you’re working. To arrive at your computer knowing what you need to do, and get it done.
ChatGPT is already making people more productive. Co-creating with OpenAI’s large language model can help you write your emails, website homepage or SEO-optimized blog posts. But what about getting help before you even decide what to work on?
How to train ChatGPT to be your productivity coach
Structure and prioritize your tasks
Wake up every morning with a plan of action, and you’ll be wide-eyed and raring to go. Fall out of bed without that plan, and the whole day will seem disorganized. Cintas-Canto suggests you ask ChatGPT to plan your day, in a handy table format. Explain what matters so you get the most important stuff done.
“How should I structure my day to achieve the most? Express the outputs in a table [Insert tasks and available time]” Additional prompts could include information about what you want to achieve from the day, “it’s important that I complete [describe your main tasks] today”, as well during which hours you have booked calls or meetings and when you tend to have the most energy to create.
Sometimes, the best way of doing something isn’t using the method you just made up. It’s the industry-wide accepted way of getting something done. Could it be that your industry has a blueprint that has so far passed you by? Find out what it is with this simple prompt.
“Considering the nature of my role [explain more about your role] within the field of [explain your industry], list some industry-specific time management strategies I could implement.” Ask ChatGPT to recommend which one you use based on what it knows from question one.
It’s not what you do, it’s what you don’t do. Packing your day full is probably not the right thing to do, but how do you decide what to cut? ChatGPT can help you remove the nonessential. It can be hard to eliminate tasks, close side projects and say no to people who want to pick your brain, but it needs to happen if you’re going to smash your business goals without compromising your sanity.
We recommends this prompt to reduce your load: “Considering my day’s plan [add the plan from part one], what nonessential activities could I reduce or eliminate to save more time?” You could also ask, “How would I do this in practice?” and explain, “based on my one main objective of [explain your mission].”
By now you have a daily plan that contains tried-and-tested productivity methods and only the absolutely essential tasks. Ask ChatGPT to expand this daily plan into one for your whole week. It knows your goals, it knows what you’ve cut out, see if you can get a structure that carries right through to Friday.
The prompt, from Cintas-Canto is very simple: “Generate a weekly schedule for me based on these tasks [insert tasks] and my business goal of [your one main goal].” You could add that, “I would like each day to be [similar/different] to the daily schedule you outlined by [explain changes for the other days].” What follows is an option for how you spend your week. Ask for alterations until it’s absolutely perfect.
Timeline of milestones
You have the day and week’s plan in place and you know how you’ll spend each hour. But how does that fit with the bigger picture? The purpose of today is to make progress, so map that progress out to stay focused and keep going. Prompt ChatGPT by explaining your long term goals, and get it to suggest how you break them into smaller pieces. If the schedule looks less ambitious than you, ask for it at double the speed.
Here’s the prompt from Cintas-Canto. “Based on my goals [explain your one big goal and any smaller ones], suggest a timeline with milestones, so I can achieve these goals within [insert time frame].” See what comes up and re-prompt with edits as required.
On any given day, you will be interrupted. Customers will raise their hands, team members will want to pick your brain, and there’ll be knocks at the door. But you want to protect your schedule and get stuff done. Ask ChatGPT for assistance on how to ignore those well-meaning busybodies, so you can get back to doing your work without causing offence.
We recommends you copy and paste this prompt to be prepared for anything. “Provide a guideline on how to efficiently handle interruptions and distractions during my workday. These might include: [insert typical interruptions and when they might happen].” If any sound interesting, ask for more information. ChatGPT could even give you polite ways of turning someone down.
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