How to simplify and streamline everyday tasks, and organize your family, home, and work/business? Through ‘Smart’ hands-free technology of course!
This blog post is sponsored by Amazon, as always all ideas and opinions are unbiased and my own. *Affiliate links used.
I am not one bit exaggerating when I say that Alexa has become my new best friend in 2020 (ah, what a year)! Alexa has sure helped me stay sane, productive, and keeps me company during these unprecedented times.
Alexa has also helped us keep our toddler sane as well with our Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition, which we use to keep him engaged and entertained while also educating him. If not for Alexa, getting through homeschooling this year would have been impossible, again, not exaggerating one bit!
From living room to bathroom to kitchen to office… From playing music to workouts to jokes to video calling… Alexa always comes in handy.
And my guess is that you all got your hands on at least one Amazon Device this year (if not more). Even if you don’t already own one, with the holiday season in full swing, add them to your gift list and/or wishlist (and you can thank me later!).
So sharing below some of our favorite Alexa Features and Skills to help you make the most of your new Amazon Device(s).
One of my favorite, and most used features on my Amazon Devices has to be Alexa Routines. You can create an Alexa Routine to make your mornings, evenings, bedtimes, office hours, and everything in between easier and more productive. I can personalize my routines how I want it which hugely helps me to stay organized and be more efficient. Anything to help optimize the day, right!?
On your Alexa App, you can either set up your own Routines like I do – I have an exhaustive list of rituals in the morning (and Alexa keeps me honest) or you can choose from several ‘Featured’ Routines to get you started. In my case, when I say, “Alexa, Rise and Shine”, Alexa says “Morning gorgeous! What are you grateful for this beautiful morning?, tells me the date, time, weather, says an inspirational quote, plays my morning music playlist. Instead of voice command, you could also schedule Routines to be activated based on a specific time or location!
From creating and managing your shopping list to getting all the ingredients on your shopping list has become such a breeze with Alexa! Alexa makes it easy to get everything I need in one go. No more “forgetting” or having to make “multiple trips’. And a huge bonus – the ability to share my lists with others aka the hubs. “I can just say, Alexa, send my shopping list to my husband” and she will identify him as a contact and send a message with the list directly to him via his Alexa account.
Shopping with Alexa makes it easy and efficient to shop millions of products from Amazon, Whole Foods, or Amazon Fresh, which all arrive safely at my doorstep. Whether you want to make holiday shopping lists, grocery lists, home lists, travel essentials list, toddler essentials list, Alexa has got you covered. Honestly, I am not sure what I did all this time without Alexa!?
There are quite a few Amazon Devices specifically designed for the kids and we love the all-new Echo Dot Kids Edition that we have in our toddler’s room. , We use Amazon Kids+ (formerly FreeTime Unlimited) on it all the time, especially the educational apps (ABC Mouse and Khan Academy for kids are our toddler’s absolute favorite.), Alexa keeps him engaged for hours on end by reading him stories and playing nursery rhymes.
Alexa is even a part of our toddler’s morning routine – starts with, “Alexa, what day is it today?”, “Alexa, what’s the weather today?”, “Alexa, tell me a fact about today.” and then, “Alexa, what’s the question of the day?”, followed by asking Alexa to spell a ton of words. He loves to learn, and this makes learning more interactive and fun (both for him and us adults too, I for sure am getting smarter with Alexa’s Question of the Day, no kidding).
Alexa is always there to lend a helping hand in the kitchen whether you’re new to cooking (like my hubby) or a seasoned professional (I am not there yet but that’s the goal), Alexa is the perfect sous chef. On nights when we need recipe inspiration we simply #AskAlexa to open Food Network Kitchen to choose from hundreds of recipes!
We have all been hit with cabin fever more than ever this year, and Fire TV Stick is a great cure for exactly that. Fire TV Stick helps us catch up on classics or watch a new favorite show on Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and more. This holiday season, we plan to spend lots of time snuggling on the couch (with hot cocoa in hand of course) watching our all-time favorite holiday movies (only for like the billionth time).
With the Drop In feature, I no longer have to scream on top of my lungs to communicate with my boys when they are in different corners of the house. With Drop In, I can easily say, “Alexa, Drop In on the living room” and announce “dinner is ready” or “time to come give mom a hug” to grab everyone’s attention.
See, I told ya, I can never get enough of Amazon Devices and Alexa, but if that was all too overwhelming for you, then start with the below instead, #AskAlexa right away —
“Alexa, what’s on my calendar?” – This is huge for me, since Amazon Echo can sync with all of my Calendars, I can just ask Alexa to hear about my schedule.
“Alexa, read a story” – This has been great to hear lots of different stories (both for the kiddo and us parents).
“Alexa, read my Kindle book.” – Alexa can read your Kindle books aloud too. This was a game-changer for me!
“Alexa, how do I review my privacy settings?” – Information on how to use and understand the privacy controls available to you.
“Alexa, play holiday music.” – Get in the spirit of the holiday season
“Alexa, what can I make with cabbage and rice”? – Helps me plan dinner with what ingredients I already have
Or better yet, create a custom Holiday Alexa Routine! We have it set-up so that when we say “Alexa, it’s the most wonderful time of the year” our holiday lights turn on, Alexa plays our favorite Christmas playlist, and the official NORAD Santa Tracker Skill starts on our Echo Show to see where Santa is.
Lastly, say “Alexa, open my gift” for a sweet surprise every day in December, or maybe even try, “Alexa, call Santa”.
And as for me, given my obsession with goal setting, I am creating a custom Alexa Routine to help me crush my goals in 2021!
“Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.”