Smart speakers have taken the world by storm and Alexa smart speakers are undoubtedly the most popular of all smart speakers. Not only are they affordable, but they are able to perform a range of well over 100 000 skills, and that number is increasing each year.
And while skills allow control over one appliance or app, maybe even as simple as a game skill, they can be combined and scheduled using Alexa routines. If, for example, you arrive home and have to say, “Alexa, play music” and “Alexa, turn the lights on”, you can set these commands to automatically take place when you walk through your front door.
You can get as creative as you like with Alexa routines and try any combination of skills available in your Alexa app. In this article, I have listed 17 different Alexa routine ideas for you to try out. I use many of these myself and I am always looking out for new routine ideas to test.
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How to set up an Alexa routine
When setting up a new routine, you need to select a trigger that will initiate the routine. Possible triggers include:
- Voice commands – be sure to keep them simple.
- Using geofencing, you can set a routine to start when you are within a certain distance of your Alexa device, for example when you leave home in the morning.
- Compatible smart devices can initiate routines, such as your smart doorbell, or smart sensors.
- Scheduling a routine to start at a certain time of the day on set days.
To set a new routine simply open your Alexa app, open the menu, click on Routines and select the plus sign (+) in the top right corner to add a new routine.
When setting a new routine you will have to enter a routine name, select the trigger under “When this happens”, and select the skill you want to activate under “Add Action”. If this all seems a bit complicated, trust me, once you have set one or two routines it becomes very easy to replicate.
To change an existing routine you can simply copy an existing routine and change the trigger or action. The routines you create are also easy to share with friends and family.
Alexa routines to help you wind down
The one thing we all love to do most in our homes, is to relax. Maybe you feel there was too much time to relax in 2020/21, or perhaps you were busier than ever. Rest is just as important as hard work and many of us don’t get enough time to recover and take it easy. I think it is essential that a smart speaker assists to make your day and your home more calming and relaxed.
Welcome home music
Setting up a routine to let Alexa play a relaxing playlist for you when you get home is a great way to be welcomed back after a busy day. You can either set it up with a voice command trigger like, “Alexa, I’m home”, or you could utilize location geofencing so that when you pull into your driveway or walk into your house, Alexa will know to get started. With either option, Alexa will greet you when you enter.
Whether you like to binge watch your favorite show in the evenings, or only have time for one episode or perhaps reading a book, a great way to help you unwind is to set up a routine whereby Alexa dims your smart lights at a certain time in the evening. No one likes bright lights when you are trying to relax, and gradually dimming the lights before bed could maybe even help you get a better night’s sleep. You could also schedule your Alexa to lower the volume at a set time in the evening.
Getting the temperature just right
During times of the year when temperatures are either high or low and depending on the season, you can set an Alexa routine to run your heating or air conditioning/fan during the day when you need it most. This routine can also be triggered by the motion sensors that come with many smart climate control systems. This is great for when you know your home will need a blast of heating or cooling at the same time each day, or simply when you enter a room.
Prioritize your mental health
Among all of the things Alexa can help you to remember and do, it can also help you to do nothing. The world as a whole felt the strain during these strange times and taking 5-10 minutes for self-care is a great way to relieve stress. Whenever you have time in the day, you can schedule Alexa to remind you to meditate and set a meditation schedule to start at a specific time to help you stick to it.
Alexa routines to get you going
When it’s time to get things done, it is always good to have a bit of help. As someone who easily forgets, Alexa reminders are a lifesaver for me. Here are a few more ideas of ways that Alexa can help you have a more productive day.
There are many ways that Alexa can help you have better mornings. You can set a routine for Alexa to wake you with uplifting music, followed by traffic reports, news and weather updates, and a briefing of what’s on your schedule for the day. You can also schedule your Alexa to increase the volume at the same time each morning.
Smart lights can be set to wake you by gradually brightening, and using smart plugs you can set your coffee to brew before you even get to the kitchen, or your slow cooker to start your porridge.
Help organizing the kids
If your kids need a lot of prompting to get going in the mornings, you can let Alexa do the heavy lifting by reminding them to get dressed and brush their teeth. Creating a set time when Alexa can tell them to start their homework and when they can finish up or do their chores, means Alexa can play bad cop and cut you some slack. If your kids have after-school activities, set weekly reminders for yourself and them to make sure they don’t miss practice or a lesson.
Help to wake up your brain
If, like me, you are not a morning person, Alexa has skills that can help you wake up that fuzzy morning brain. You can set a routine for Alexa to quiz you in the morning and get you thinking, or if oversleeping is a concern, you can play loud music in another room that you have to get up to switch off.
A great way to get you in a positive mind frame is by repeating affirmations. You can either listen to affirmation channels or upload your own audio file. You can set this routine for the start of your day, as a lunch time pick-me-up, or any time during the day that works for you. Positive thinking breeds positive results!
Security and smart home appliance routines
When it comes to smart home appliances, you will likely use the product app initially. However, voice commands using Alexa can be even more convenient, especially when you don’t have your phone at hand. If you have all the gear, you may as well use it optimally.
Securing your home when you leave
By setting a voice command such as “Alexa, I’m leaving”, or a geofencing trigger, you can set a routine for Alexa to lock your smart door locks and set your smart alarm for you. Whether you are in a rush to get to work or just going for a quick trip to the supermarket, it is great to know your house is locked and secured. This can also be set to trigger in the evening by saying “Alexa, I’m going to bed”, or “Alexa, goodnight”. Amazon has even launched a feature called Alexa Guard that will listen for noises while you are away and alert you of any possible emergencies. There is a small monthly subscription fee after a 30 day free trial, and is this skill is compatible with many smart security devices.
Smart lights routine
Lights can be a useful security measure and burglar deterrent if used correctly. Setting a routine for your smart lights in living areas to come on and switch off at different times of the day or night while you are at work or away on holiday, can give the illusion that someone is in fact at home. Alternatively, you can use your smart doorbell sensors to switch on the front door light and the entry lights in your home to scare off any trouble makers.
One of my favorite routines is my robot vacuum cleaner being triggered by me saying “Alexa, goodnight”. A similar routine could easily be set to start a smart washing machine or dishwasher. Alternatively you could use a smart plug if your appliances don’t have smart technology integrated.
Dock the lawn mower
Robot lawn mowers are great time savers and there is a range of options if you are looking to buy one. However, many of them don’t mow well when the grass is wet, and at the same time don’t have rain sensors to tell them to dock in a downpour. Setting a voice command such as “Alexa, it’s raining” can trigger your robot lawn mower to dock.
There are any number of smart appliances that can help you out in the kitchen. You can set a routine for Alexa to preheat your smart oven, and to set a timer to tell you when your food is ready. You could set a routine for Alexa to give you dinner ideas, possibly even by knowing what ingredients you have in your smart fridge.
Alexa routines to challenge you
Whether you need a fitness coach or just an inspirational quote on tap to get you through the day, Alexa has you covered. Maybe you want to flex your mental muscles and see how much you really know. Either way, Alexa has a whole host of skills that can challenge you and keep you on your toes.
Reminders to move
It can be difficult to remember to take breaks to stretch your legs during the work day and to get blood flowing, but it is very important to do so for your health. Setting reminders to get up and walk around or stretch multiple times during the day is a great way to ensure that you give yourself necessary breaks.
Alexa as your personal trainer
Having the motivation to exercise each day is tough, and not getting bored of doing the same exercises repeatedly is just as hard. Why not set a routine to remind you to work out when you know you’ll have time, and have Alexa give you instruction on what exercises to perform. This way all you have to do is show up and do your best.
Under skills and games in your Alexa App, simply search for Exercise Routines and try them out to see which one you like best.
Test your knowledge
Do you love game shows? How about a good pub quiz? Get your general knowledge fix and test how much you know by using any of the quiz skills in the Alexa app. It can be great to schedule a quiz for a family game night, or simply enjoy it while you are busy with chores.
Try cooking different cuisines
Thinking of what to have for lunch and dinner every day is a reality of life. However, if you are feeling adventurous, why not ask Alexa for recipe ideas of cuisines you have not tried before? Set a routine for Alexa to give you an authentic cuisine recipe once a week for a month, and then switch it up if you feel like it. You can do one month of French cuisine, followed by a month of Peruvian cuisine and so on.
There are thousands of different skills and actions that you can automate with Alexa routines. Most people will only actually use a few good routines. Be creative and see what routines you can come up with for your home. Hopefully they will add more fun and convenience to your life like they were designed to do.
What to do next
If you enjoyed this article and found it to be useful, come read our article 9 Annoying Alexa Issues and How to Fix Them Yourself.