If you have an Amazon Echo product, you’re likely familiar with Alexa, the friendly female voice that tells you jokes, controls your smart home products, plays your favorite music on command, and lets you know when an Amazon package has arrived at your front door.
Although you probably already know how Alexa can add voice-controlled entertainment and convenience to your home, she also has a wide range of skills under her belt that can help you stay on task and get more done each day.
Here are 5 of Alexa’s most useful productivity skills:
1. Spring into Action
Starting your day is a lot easier when you have a little extra motivation in the morning. Whether you need help simply getting out of bed, getting out the door for work, or starting those chores you’ve been meaning to do for weeks, just say “Alexa, Get Me Up.” Alexa will then begin to spew words of inspiration to help you spring into action.
If Alexa’s first inspirational platitude wasn’t enough, say “get me up” again, or say “no” if you’re up and ready to start the day.
2. Manage and Add to Your Calendar
Once you’re up, checking your calendar can give you a clear idea of what’s in store for the day or week so you can take control of your schedule. Alexa works with a variety of calendar apps, including Google, Apple, and Microsoft calendars. Here is a great guide on how to sync your calendar with Alexa.
Once it’s synced, you can ask Alexa nearly any question that comes to mind about your calendar. For example, you can ask “Alexa, what appointments do I have this week?” or “Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?”. You can also add an event to your calendar by saying, for example, “Alexa, add a doctor’s appointment to my calendar for Thursday at 11AM.”
3. Make a To-Do List
If you have multiple small tasks to accomplish throughout the day, week, or month, creating a to-do list is a great way to keep track of them and check them off as they’re completed. If you want to create a shopping list, just say “Alexa, add bread to my shopping list.” If you want to create a list of errands you need to run this week, say “Alexa, add go to the post office to my to-do list.”
To stay reminded of what’s on your list, all you need to say is “Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?” or “Alexa, what’s on my to-do list?” and Alexa will name everything that is on either list for you. Once a task on your list has been completed, just tell Alexa to remove that item from the list.
4. Set a Timer
Time management is not a skill we all innately possess, but Alexa can help. If you’re prone to checking social media during work only to find that you’ve spent an hour browsing and chatting, setting a 5-minute timer before you open Twitter can help keep you on track. Just say “Alexa, set a timer for 5 minutes.” Once the timer’s up, you’ll hear a gentle alarm sound, reminding you that it’s time to get back to work.
Another popular time-management skill offered by Alexa is Tomato Helper, which uses the Pomodoro Technique to switch between a 25-minute timer for productivity and a 5-minute timer for a break. To begin using the skill, just say “Alexa, open Tomato Helper.”
5. Set Reminders
It’s easy to forget important memos when they’re not written down somewhere, but Alexa makes remembering easy with reminders. To set up a reminder with Alexa, say “Alexa, create a reminder.” Alexa will then guide you through each part of the reminder, like what it’s for and the date and time. If you’d prefer to give all the details of the reminder at once, you can say something like “Alexa, remind me to start the laundry at 10AM.”
To check on your reminders, just say “Alexa, what are my reminders?” and Alexa will read them to you so you can get a head start on everything that needs to get done that day.