Admin is always going to be boring. Why? Because “shallow tasks” like emailing, organizing meetings and logging hours provide little cognitive challenge. They are repetitive, easy to replicate and take us away from the really juicy, high-concentration tasks that our brains love.

But admin isn’t going anywhere. And for pretty good reason; it underpins the smooth functioning of our entire workflow – we couldn’t collaborate effectively or run a stable operation without it.

So, what do you do when you have a boring but essential task on your hands? Thanks to the growing application of artificial intelligence in business tech, you can pretty much outsource it! Here are a few of the best new apps that harness AI to automate essential admin.


Whether you create timesheets for billing or just want to master your own productivity, Timely makes time tracking effortless. It automatically logs the time you spend in web and desktop apps, on phone calls and at different GPS locations while you work. You don’t have to set timers, write anything down or even think about time tracking. It lets you see how you long you spend on specific tasks and documents, identify time drains and ensure you’re on-task. A no-brainer if you need an accurate record of all your work time.


Otter is a godsend if you produce a ton of meeting notes or just hate taking minutes. The app uses speech recognition to translate audio conversations into digital text for easy future reference. It saves you ink, paper and the time you used to take duplicating the task. It can even distinguish all the different voices in a meeting to accurately link them to the correct speaker – ridiculously cool!

Meetings are serial time drains, and not just because they overrun – coordinating times and dates, meeting prep and follow-up emails all eat into your productive time. X-ai can help reduce that wasted time by automating your email scheduling. You just connect your calendar to the app and let it intelligently handle back-and-forth scheduling emails with meeting attendees on your behalf. It’s great for booking client meetings, but the developers also suggest it can streamline recruiting and pitching scheduling processes.


Emails aren’t going away any time soon, but Astro can minimize the time and effort you spend monitoring and answering them. It can help turn a flood of uncategorized emails into a prioritized list of importance, directing you to what’s actually urgent. As you go about your emailing, it can even learn your habits and over time make suggestions to help you send messages at the best time. Want some space to focus? It can even set up snoozing options for when you don’t want to be disturbed.


Few companies have the discipline or energy to organize files consistently across the board. Do you often forget your own weird file names and spend ages trying to locate documents you created the previous week? Aloe goes some way to solving this by helping you store and link information together in a logical system. Think contacts, events, meetings and projects – everything is tied neatly together for future you to find in seconds. It sells itself as a tool to help teams achieve perfect recall, but is also good for your own self-management.  


S. M. Nelson

S. M. Nelson


Freelance writer specialising in business, marketing, tech and finance.