Anna Burgess Yang

Tinkering With Ideas #003: AI in real life

Published over 1 year ago • 2 min read

Hi Reader 👋 -

Happy Thursday. It started snowing in Chicagoland this week so my tea intake has increased to "by the gallon" levels. My current fav is called Winter Wake Up Tea from Trader Joe's.

If you have a favorite tea, reply and let me know — I'm always on the lookout to try new teas.

1) Reflection:

I've been playing around with AI writing tools for the past week. TBH, I've yet to see them do anything that makes me go "wow" but I'm committed to learning.

(Side note: my spouse is a software engineer and he is all 🤯 that I might use AI tools.)

I've been using Midjourney for a few months to generate images for my Substack and blog. Does it replace the talents of an artist? No. Is it an upgrade from the generic Unsplash images that everyone uses? Absolutely.

I've been a longtime fan of reducing manual tasks. I'd rather free up my time and energy for work that only my brain can produce. Example: when I sign a new client, I have automation that creates a client folder in my GDrive (with subfolders), adds the client to my CRM, and sets a few reminders for me.

How long would this take me to do manually? Maybe 10-15 minutes. But it's the interruption in my day that I'm trying to avoid.

It was curiosity that led me to automation. And now curiosity that led me to AI.

2) Product:

I've tried several AI writing tools over the past few months, including,, Sudowrite, and most recently Lex.

I foresee that writers of the future will use AI as a way to get unstuck. Can't think of a conclusion? Prompt the AI for help. That's been the best use case for me so far. Lex will kick back a few sentences and sometimes it's enough to give me a direction. Even if the direction is, "Well that doesn't make sense at all, but now it's given me an idea."

It will be interesting to see how AI evolves in the coming years. Right now, it's pretty rough. But, as I heard at an October conference I attended: It's not going away.

3) Tip:

I've wholeheartedly embraced AI voice commands in our home. We had one of the first generation Amazon Echo devices and now have one in almost every room of our house (including our vehicles).

One of my favorites? "Alexa, add X to my shopping list."

Everyone in this house knows how to do this. If you're using up the last of the butter, you tell Alexa to add it to the shopping list. My kids have been doing this since they were really young: it comes naturally to them now. Then I use the list the Alexa app when I'm in the grocery store.

I also use Alexa to add to-do items to my calendar.

Want more stuff to read?

That's it for this issue of Tinkering! See you again in two weeks.


Anna Burgess Yang


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Anna Burgess Yang

Writer. Productivity Geek. Always Tinkering.

Practical tips to make your day better & make your life easier.

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