You’re probably already pretty productive. Given your large brain, insane work ethic and capacity to produce, you can smash through tasks at lightning speed and take days to generate output that would take others years. Learning how to prompt ChatGPT effectively could make you unstoppable. Human plus machine, making light work of complex labor, amplifying your impact for the benefit of your customers.
“ChatGPT is a powerful productivity tool,” said Matt Gray, “but most people suck at using it effectively.” Gray knows what he’s talking about. Known as The Systems Guy, he helps founders scale their brand and community with proven systems. He’s founder and CEO of Herbworthy and Founderos, with over 200,000 followers on Twitter and a 65,000-strong newsletter that shares weekly tips on growing your personal brand and community.
Gray shared his 6 ways to make ChatGPT your productivity machine in 2023, so you can get more done in less time.
How to use ChatGPT to improve your productivity
Simplify complex topics
“Don’t waste time and effort learning complex topics,” said Gray. Instead, ask ChatGPT to “provide examples, break it down into smaller parts and explain each part in simpler terms.” You shouldn’t have to read a lengthy textbook or watch hours of YouTube tutorials to grasp a new concept. Get the essentials distilled for you, in the format by which you learn best.
Paste this prompt into ChatGPT and cut out the learning curve: “Can you simplify the concept of [insert complex topic]? Please share a bullet point summary of its main parts, explain each part in simple terms, and provide examples of it in practice.”
Prepare for a client meeting by understanding their industry on a deeper level. Resonate more in a 1-to-1 by using their lingo. Never feel out of your depth at a conference or dinner by swotting up with your AI friend.
“ChatGPT can generate summaries of articles or reports,” explained Gray. Here’s how you can understand long-form content fast. “Ask for a summary. Scan the summary to see if the output is relevant.” You can then expand this into bullet points or ask how it relates to your field if it’s worth exploring further.
The prompt is simply: “Can you provide me with a summary of this [insert article/report URL]?” If you’re using internet-enabled ChatGPT, this will work just fine. If not, copy and paste the article in and ask the same question.
Sometimes the crux of a piece is buried pages in. The real gems require searching for and you don’t have time for that. ChatGPT should find those nuggets and report them back, so you can incorporate and share as you see fit.
Edit your writing
Using a human proofreader is a process. Find a good one, agree on a rate and set a deadline. Send your work and diligently wait for them to complete the task and send the file. Check their edits and go again. Now, “ChatGPT is your personal proofreader,” said Gray. It can, “check errors in your work, suggest ways to improve your writing and explain why a certain suggestion was made.”
Enlist ChatGPT’s services with this simple prompt: “Can you check my writing for any errors and suggest improvements? [Copy and paste your writing].] Give the LLM more context for the edits you want to see, perhaps specifying the target audience, the purpose of the piece, or any mistakes or habits you want it to look out for. What comes back should be your work with a shiny new slant.
While ChatGPT might not catch everything, and won’t make the higher level suggestions a copy editor would, it can get 80% there in a fraction of the time. If you want a more critical view, ask for it. If you want suggestions for spin-off articles or holistic writing improvements for future pieces, ask for those too.
Everyone communicates in different ways, and entrepreneurs can be too blunt and direct or come across as passive aggressive if they’re not careful. While this isn’t your intention, you may rub people up the wrong way. Not only can you train ChatGPT to write your emails, but you can ask for its advice on emails you write, to “make sure they are clear and effective.”
Gray suggested you ask ChatGPT to “review the email, check spelling and grammar errors, and suggest relevant language and tone.” Use the prompt, “Can you help me write an email to [add the name and role of the recipient] about [add the subject and outline what the email should include.]” For further context, say, “Here’s the draft I have so far: [add your draft email] and more information about the recipient is [include additional information.]
The more you know about the person on the other end, the more your email can resonate with their world. Tell ChatGPT their demographics and personality, add their Myers-Briggs type if you have it. Give all the information possible and let it craft your words into something they’ll love to receive.
Discover new ideas
Beavering away at your laptop to the sound of your air conditioning unit probably doesn’t make for the most imaginative of output. Gray has a plan for how this can change. “Break out of creative ruts and generate fresh content,” he said. “Asking ChatGPT for ideas, then ask it to use those ideas to generate content, as well as new prompts and new topics.” Prompt ChatGPT to tell you new prompts, so you can tap into creativity on repeat.
It’s very likely ChatGPT will approach the prompts from a different angle than you, which leads to very different results. Here’s what to say: “Can you suggest some prompts I can use with ChatGPT to get topic ideas for [explain your area of expertise]?”
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You know what you should be writing about and you know the points you want to make. Get ChatGPT to give you a head start. Gray suggested you, “use ChatGPT to structure your work.” Tell it what you want to talk about, and ask it to, “suggest key points and organize them into a logical structure.” Then use this outline to guide your writing.
For this prompt, you can approach ChatGPT with a high level approach. Take your main content pillars, whatever they may be, and add them into this line, which you can copy and paste. “Can you suggest some key points for a piece of content on [insert topic]?” Add more detail with, “The goal of this content is to [explain the reaction you want your audience to have] and to establish me as [describe the authority you want to evoke, perhaps an unbiased reporter or a subject matter expert.]” ChatGPT will suggest the structure with this in mind.
You might find that once you have an outline, the rest of the piece writes itself. All you needed was a few subheadings to guide your mind in the right direction.
Become incredibly productive by seeking help for the parts of your work where you get the most stuck. Some entrepreneurs can start but not finish, some need help getting going. It starts with self-awareness and ends with awesome content via a few, well-placed prompts. Unblock your creativity and turn ChatGPT into your productivity machine.