The Real Reason You Should Be Using AI (Hint: It’s Not Productivity)

Alexis Haselberger
4 min readOct 2, 2023

Photo by Tara Winstead

(Ah, who am I kidding? I’ve been on this bandwagon for a while now. But there’s one thing I definitely DON’T use it for, and that’s writing this blog. I LOVE writing an article every week, and rest assured that this voice is all me, no robots included.)

Now, does AI represent some scary shit?

You bet. But we’re already on that train. And it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.

Like all tools in life, AI can be used for good, or for evil.

But here’s the thing, I bet you’re already thinking, “Ugh, enough already, I’ve been inundated for months by literally EVERYONE about how generative AI is going to make me be able to accomplish so much more, so much faster. And if I don’t jump on board now I’m going to be left in the dust”.

But never fear, because I’m not here to suggest that you use these technologies to simply get more done, to be more productive, or to be more efficient. I’m here to show you how you can use these tools to save you time so that you can have more time to do whatever you want.

What if you got 8 hours of work done in 6 hours? And then you use the remaining 2 hours to do something for yourself?

Like, read a book.

Or go on a walk.

Or hang out with your teenager because, strangely, they’re open to it today and haven’t rolled their eyes at you once. (Oh, that’s just me…please tell me I’m not the only one!)

Instead of the end goal being the ability to do more work, let’s choose an end goal that actually improves the quality of your life.

Have I convinced you of the value of using ChatGPT and other AI tools to give yourself more time to do exactly what you want?

Yes?

Okay, then, let’s go!

Let me show you just a few of the ways I’ve been using these tools to help me do more in less time, not so I can do more work, but so I can have more discretionary time.

Do your research for you!

I don’t know about you, but I love a good spreadsheet. And you know what ChatGPT can do for you? It can provide you with results in table form. All you have to do is ask it to do so!

What have I used this for lately?

  • Restaurant research
  • Summer camp options
  • Extracurricular options for my kids
  • Vendor comparison (price and features)
  • Plan your vacations

Yes, you can use ChatGPT for this, but you can also use ForgeMyTrip.com, which streamlines the process so that you don’t really have to know how to create a prompt.

Enter your dates, your destination, and your preferences and it’ll spit out an itinerary.

Write emails faster

How much time do you spend agonizing over the wording in an email? More than you’d like?

Outsource it to ChatGPT or BingAI Compose. You can even ask it for a specific tone (funny, friendly, professional, even “pirate”).

Will you send the exact email provided? Probably not. But it’ll get you 80% of the way there, and it’ll definitely get you over the writer’s block hump.

Staring at a blank page is harder than editing what’s already there.

Not sure if your tone will be perceived as you mean it to? Run it through ChatGPT or “ The Judge “ for a tone check.

Explain and summarize

Want to learn something fast?

Ask ChatGPT to summarize for you, or to explain a complex idea to you like you’re a 10-year-old.

Define the next steps for your task or project

Ask ChatGPT for step-by-step instructions, or to help you define the steps or phases of a project.

Another great tool for this is Magic To Do.

Meal Planning

Tell ChatGPT your dietary preferences (and even share the contents of your fridge/freezer) and ask it to create a meal plan for next week, complete with recipes.

And of course, there is no shortage of new “AI Meal Planner” tools that do nothing but this.

Will the results you get from any of these tools be perfect?

Nope (because nothing is).

But it’ll get you most of the way there in no time flat.

And remember, when you’re whizzing through your task list with your AI helper, resist the urge to fill up the newfound time with more work to do. (There will always be more work.)

Instead, use that time for something you enjoy.

In the past, automation and mechanization have not meant a reduced workload.

The dishwasher was patented in 1850 along with the vacuum in 1907.

However, folks spend about the same time on housework today as we did before we had all those tools.

Why? Well, in my opinion, it’s because we weren’t intentional and we didn’t “advance and protect”.

We just found more work to do.

As you start to claw back time through AI, I urge you to actively resist this fate.

Learn from the past.

That time you’ve saved by using AI?

That time is YOURS.

Don’t give it away.

Use it for something you enjoy.

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Originally published at https://www.alexishaselberger.com on October 2, 2023.

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