Ever since it was first introduced, Amazon’s Alexa assistant has added features and functionality at a steady rate. Combine the core functions with the ability to add device-specific and service-specific Alexa Skills, and you have a very powerful tool.
Alexa’s Routines feature only makes it more powerful. This lets you take a certain trigger like leaving or arriving at a location or even a simple voice command, then tie multiple actions to it. It’s easy to set up and can make parts of your day much easier.
If you don’t know how to set up Alexa routines, read our guide first
1. Playlists for Different Times
It’s no secret that Alexa can play music from services like Spotify, Pandora and Amazon music, but you can also get a little more specific by setting up playlists for different times of day.
Create several different routines, titled things like “Workout playlist”, “Morning playlist” and so on, then link them up with the specific playlists and music you want to play.
You can of course use these playlists for other routines, such as a playlist for when you get home, or a playlist to help get rid of the cobwebs when you wake up in the morning.
2. Good Night
Finally, with Alexa Routines, you can easily shut down most of your devices when you go to bed. As the trigger phrase, use something like
“Alexa, good night.”
Turn off the lights, TV and other devices
Dim the lights to low percentage, then after a pause turn off the lights.
Set devices to Do Not Disturb.
Play ‘Sounds of Rain’ skill, or a playlist of your choice
3. Waking Up
Sure, you could wake up using a standard alarm clock, but where is the fun in that? Using Alexa Routines, you can do everything you need to do to wake up, including waking your kids up at a separate time.
To start, open either the iOS or Android version of the Alexa app, tap the menu button in the top left, and select Routines. For the trigger here, you’ll want to use a time of the day. Then you can set your smart lights to turn on, and maybe play some nice music.
You can place an Echo Dot Kids Edition in your kids’ rooms, then create another similar routine to wake them up a little later. This will give you a bit of peace when you first wake up.
4. Start Your Day
Waking up and starting your day are different things. Alexa also comes with a “Start My Day” routine already programmed and ready to go. Simply say “Alexa, start my day.”
By default, it will update you on the news, give you a random fact, and brief you on the weather and traffic as well as any upcoming events on your calendar. You can customize this by adding functions to turn on your TV or play music.
5. Welcome Home
Alexa Routines can also have location-based reminders. This can let you trigger Routines when you leave your home or when you get home. Here, we’re looking at the latter.
To do this, create a new Routine, and under “When This Happens,” choose “Arrive Home”. Then you can add actions to turn on your lights, set the thermostat, and even announce to the rest of the house that you’ve arrived home.
6. Movie Time
Do you get annoyed having to manually set the lights when you want to kick back with a movie? Alexa Routines can help here, too. For this, under “When This Happens.” you’ll want to use a trigger phrase like “Alexa, it’s movie time.”
Then, under actions you can turn certain lights off and dim others. You can also turn on your TV and turn certain other speakers off.
This article focuses on just a few basic Routines that will probably apply to most people. Just seeing what these can do will probably give you some ideas on more customized Routines that can help you automate parts of your day.
Of course, Alexa isn’t all work and no play. Just say the right thing or ask the right question, and you’ll find Alexa can be quite the joker. If you’re looking for a few ideas, take a look at our list of funny things to ask Alexa.