Is AI Actually Helping Me Be More 'Productive'?

Eliminate manual work from your ChatGPT flow

A couple of months ago I found myself thinking:

'Is AI actually making me more productive?’

I’m thinking to myself,

I'm constantly copying and pasting prompts, searching for them in Notion.

Even with using tools like TextExpander or TextBlaze (which I love), I'd struggle to recall whether my snippet for an ‘idea prompt’ was '/promptidea' or ‘/gptidea’.

It's exhausting.

Ring a bell?

Let's talk about that.

(Resources to all the automation templates and database will be included below)

The Problem: The Disconnect Between AI and Real-World Productivity

AI tools promise productivity gains, but there is still a lot of repetitiveness.

To illustrate, let's consider a common scenario.

Say you need some ideas on a topic you want to write about.

You have a prompt called ‘Idea Generation’.

The Manual Way: A Fragmented Workflow

  • Start by searching for the prompt you saved,

  • Manually paste the saved ‘Idea Generation’ prompt into ChatGPT,

  • Search and copy relevant parameters such as context and audience, then sift through the outputs, going back and forth,

  • Choose the best GPT-generated outputs,

  • Copy and paste the selected content into Google Docs or Notion for later

A week goes by… 🕝

  • You want to use one of the ideas and back to digging through the ChatGPT app or Notion to search for those outputs…

A flowchart of what this workflow looks like:

It may not seem like much, but repeat this process 30 times and it gets exhausting and mentally draining.

AI vs Automation: What’s The Difference?

Before we continue, let’s quickly define the difference between AI and Automation and why it’s important to make the distinction.


  • Simulates human decision-making.

  • Learns and evolves from data.

  • Handles tasks requiring judgment. (Not perfectly, of course)

Think of AI as a barista who remembers your favorite blends, adjusting the coffee based on the season or even detecting when you might want an extra shot of espresso.


  • Executes repetitive tasks.

  • Moves data between apps.

  • Predictable.

Imagine automation as a coffee machine pre-programmed to have your coffee ready at 8 AM, every day.

Aaand now I want some coffee ☕️ 

So, why is it important?

Separating the two helps with understanding what tool to use for which kind of task.

Especially if you do client work and you’re scoping out the project so you avoid any potential misunderstandings (since they mean different things).

Let’s continue…

Generate Outlines From Your Voice Notes 📝

Now picture a fully automated workflow that starts the moment you record an audio note with a specific tag… for example:

Fully fleshed outline in a Doc from one single voice note!

Here is the flowchart to show you how it works

This voice note triggers the automation, generating ideas for your topic, creating a Google Doc in your desired location in Google Drive, and sharing the G-Doc link to your Airtable (or Notion) database.

All without manually copying and pasting or searching for anything!

Let’s turn this into a Zapier automation in 5 steps…

Are you new to automation? Check out these 3 posts:

5-Step Breakdown: Automated Idea Generation

Step 1: Record a Voice Note in AudioPen

  • Record a voice note in AudioPen tagged with "Idea Generator" to trigger the automation process.

Step 2: Add a Filter in Zapier

  • Add a filter step to continue only if the note contains the tag "Idea-Generation."

Step 3: Configure ChatGPT

  • Use the ChatGPT action step and set up your instructions (prompt) to take the voice note as input for generating ideas.

Step 4: Create a Google Doc

  • The next Zapier action will take the generated ideas from ChatGPT and create a Google Doc. Specify the location where you want this doc saved.

Step 5: Save to Airtable

  • Finally, Zapier will take the Google Doc link and the AudioPen voice note and save them to an Airtable database.

Here is the Zapier automation using this Idea Generation workflow:

Here is the prompt I used to generate the ideas.

Elements you should include:


  • Product or service name

  • Product Description

  • Target Audience

Idea Generator Prompt

Make sure you “map” the TOPIC with the AudioPen “Note” data point.

Generate 5 ideas based on the topic below. These ideas should be unique, creative, and subtopics that I can use to write an epic newsletter.
Separate each idea with bullet points and subtopics.

TOPIC = {{Map the 'Note' from AudioPen here}}

The ideas should be related to my audience and business.

PRODUCT NAME = Hidden Levers Newsletter

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION = A weekly newsletter that provides AI/Automation and systems tips, templates.

TARGET AUDIENCE = is busy solopreneurs and digital content creators who run an online business. They are overwhelmed with busy work and wish they had more time to focus on work they love and spend time with the people that matter in their lives. They value straightforward advice, actionable, clear steps, and relatable, real-world examples.

Here is the output in my Airtable database:

Click to duplicate the Airtable database

What if you use a different note-taking app?

Not a problem.

Just replace the first TRIGGER step in the automation.

You can check if your app has a Zapier integration by following the Scribe walkthrough.

→ Scribe walkthrough: Find Triggers and Actions in Zapier

Use this spreadsheet to note triggers and actions for your favorite app(s), like the ones I’ve listed in the example.

If you prefer to use Make, you can check the apps they integrate with by doing a Google search: “[YOUR APP NAME] + Integration.”

AI-Automation Use-Cases 💡

Automated Content Curation: Use ChatGPT to sift through a list of articles or posts, summarize them, and automatically update an Airtable (or Sheets) with the summaries. Notify via email when a new summary is added.

Automated Meeting Summaries: How to leverage tools like Airtable, ChatGPT, and Make to automate analyzing customer feedback and meeting transcripts. Made by me 😉

Expense Tracking: Use Nanonets (OCR) and Zapier to scan receipts and bills. Data is automatically extracted and categorized. Use ChatGPT to analyze spending habits and offer suggestions for cost-saving.

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