Episode 51

From Good Morning to Good Night: Fully Customizable Routines with Amazon's Alexa

On this episode of Alexa Cast, we're diving into the world of smart home devices and routines. We'll explore the basics of getting started with routines, finding inspiration within the Alexa app's pre-made templates, and customizing routines to suit individual needs.

Dave shares insightful tips and tricks, such as utilizing Fire TV actions to add to your routines and incorporating a "DND" (do not disturb) technique during reading time. We'll also discuss the usefulness of routines, including morning and nighttime routines, screen time tracking, and more. Join us for an informative and entertaining episode that will leave you eager to explore the possibilities of creating routines with Alexa."

Mentioned In This Episode

Fire TV

Amazon Alexa Page

Alexa Routines Page on Amazon

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

Key Points

- Introduction of the topic of smart home devices and routines

- Using the featured routines in the Alexa app as templates

- Using Fire TV actions to enhance routines

- Creating custom routines with Alexa based on scheduled times

- Different routines available on Alexa, including good morning routine, start my day routine, screen time routine, weather after alarm routine, and good night routine

- Customizing routines for individual preferences

- Introducing the concept of creating routines with Alexa and the limitless possibilities

- Cool examples of routines include scheduling porch lights to turn on automatically, nightlight and sleep sounds routine, and Alexa Guard routine

- Sharing routines with friends and family

- Explanation of what routines are and how they work

- Personal anecdote about using routines to announce dinner time

- Tips for creating a productive and calming environment with routines

- How to create a "start my day" routine and enable routines through voice commands or the Alexa app

- Gratitude towards listeners and recommending the podcast to Alexa owners

- Daily stock market updates

- Using Fire TV actions to add actions to routines

Mentioned in this episode:

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Dave Jackson [:

Hello, welcome to the Alexa cast. Here's your host, Dave Jackson from the school of podcasting.com. After a bit of a hiatus, we're back with the Alexa cast. And today we're talking Alexa routines and they're kind of shortcuts. They can save you time by grouping together a bunch of actions. So you don't have to ask for each 1 individually. And There are many ways to activate routines. You can do them via voice.

Dave Jackson [:

It could be time of day. Uh, if you have smart home devices, you know, maybe when you turn off your alarm, all sorts of fun things. So that's what we're going to be talking about on today's show. Now, the easiest way to get started is, let's say, I don't know, you need some inspiration to get going. There is a featured routine in the Alexa app. They're like templates, in other words. They're basically ready to enable and you can start using them right away. So if you wanna play with this, this is an easy way to get started.

Dave Jackson [:

So an example might be, there's a start my day routine. So when you ask her, and I'm not gonna be saying the A word today, so I might say Lexi, how's that? That doesn't trigger mine, so we'll call her Lexi so I could say Lexi Start my day, and she'll tell you something new She'll update you about the weather and the traffic and then start your flash briefing so you're ready for the day Ahead you're like oh that sounds kind of cool. Well how do you turn these on? You obviously open the Alexa app, you select more from the bottom navigation, you select routines in the basically from the menu, you tap featured and tap on the name of a featured routine and then tap enable and that's it. Your routine is ready to use. You can also enable a featured routine by voice. So for example, you could say, hey Lexi, enable the good morning routine, and she'll wish you good morning. She'll tell you something new, and then play you your flash briefing. We've talked about flash briefings in the past.

Dave Jackson [:

You could say Lexi, enable start the day or start... So that's the good morning routine. You could say Lexi, enable the start my day routine and she'll tell you news traffic and more. Another 1 is the, you could say, enable the screen time routine and it'll keep track of an hour of screen time. You could ask Lexi to enable weather after alarm routine So she will tell you the weather when you dismiss your alarm. That's kind of interesting. You could say Lexi enable the good night routine and she will say good night and play sleep sounds. Now you can build your own.

Dave Jackson [:

Yeah, this is where things get fun. You can create your own routines from scratch, only limited really by your own imagination. Open up routines again in the Alexa app, and there'll be a little plus sign in the top right hand corner to get started. And some routines that are really kind of cool, things like scheduling your porch lights to turn on automatically at sunset, turning on the nightlight and playing sleep sounds when you say, hey, it's Lexi, it's, you know, whatever your kid's name is, bedtime, and telling you the weather and turning on Alexa guard when you say hey Lexi it's time to go. Alexa guard is that thing where It really listens all the time for like breaking glass or loud noises, and then it would alert you that's kind of a handy little tool if you have home automation tools you can basically automate your home and Manage compatible smart home devices like turning off lights and resetting the thermostat at 10 p.m. Or creating a movie night environment to set the mood for the next big blockbuster film you're getting ready to watch. But the other thing that's kind of fun is you can share your routines with your friends and your family or receive and enable routines shared with you for here are some trending shared routines 1 is called dinner time So in this case you make dinner a special occasion in your home and Lexi will announce that it's dinner time on all your devices. That's kind of cool.

Dave Jackson [:

Set them to D&D. That's do not disturb for an hour and play soft dinner music to set the mood. I might have to try that 1. Then there's reading time. That's a routine again. Take 30 minutes of your day for reading with this routine. Alexa will set your devices to do not disturb so you're not interrupted and let you know it is time to get back to whatever you were doing. That's cool.

Dave Jackson [:

If you're into the stock market there is a if you're into the stock market there's a daily stock market update and at the closing bell each weekday she will give you an update on the stock market. Here's a fun 1, probably inspired by COVID. Wash your hands. After you arrive home each day, she will remind you to wash your hands. And if you use a Fire TV, actions can now be added to your routine. So, and I love my Fire TV. I got a Fire TV stick and I love it. Basically, it makes it super easy.

Dave Jackson [:

You know, it used to be you'd have to have all these cables going everywhere and if you've got great Wi-Fi, it's a piece of cake. So, fire TV actions, you can add these to your routines. So it might be like, you know, Hey Lexi, I'm getting a snack. That's funny, but think about this. When you say that it pauses what you're watching and turns on your smart lights simultaneously. Or if there's a program you watch every day, create a custom routine where she turns on the TV and navigates to your favorite program based on scheduled time. That's just cool. I'm sorry, that's just cool.

Dave Jackson [:

Fire TV actions include power on and off, playing, pausing, and resuming video, and selecting content. Head to the routine section again of the Alexa app to enable featured Fire TV routines, or to create your own. Now some TVs may not be compatible for the power on action, but there's more information. I'll put a link to, I'm getting this from an Amazon site here, but it's something that you can see, I love the dinner time 1. When I was growing up, I would be in our basement, we had a separate room down there, and my mom would come down about 3 steps and just kick the wall because we'd have the stereo on and so having this announced that, hey, it's dinner time is kind of cool. So, for more information, check out our website, alexacast.com, for more episodes. I'll be doing these more frequently, as well as, and I just realized I triggered my device. Sorry about that when I said the name of the website, but you can follow the show there.

Dave Jackson [:

You can, there'll be links there to go to Amazon if you want to go do some browsing. And thanks so much for listening. I deeply appreciate it. If you know somebody else that has a Lexie, and again, you know the word I really want to say there, but I'm trying not to trigger everybody's device. Tell them about the Alexa cast. Thank you, goodbye.

About the Podcast

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Alexa Cast | An Unofficial Journey of an Amazon Echo User
Follow the journey of using the Amazon Echo and get power tips and get more out of your Amazon Echo

About your host

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Dave Jackson

Dave Jackson began podcasting in 2005 and launched the School of Podcasting (schoolofpodcasting.com). His School of Podcasting show has over 4.0 million downloads. He has helped hundreds of people plan, launch, and grow their podcasts. He is the author of the book Profit from your podcast and is a featured speaker at events. In 2016 Dave joined Libsyn (the largest podcast hosting company) as part of their tech support team.  In 2018 he was inducted into the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame.

Find all his shows at www.powerofpodcasting.com