The best Alexa productivity tips

In my never-ending quest for efficiency, I realized that I could save a lot of time if I could stop constantly looking at my phone all morning. More importantly, I could stop getting distracted by all that other stuff on my phone.

And there was the Amazon Echo Dot in my kitchen. Until then, it had been a timed, music-playing, two-trick pony. But I had a sneaking suspicion that it might draw more weight into the Aamoth household.

As I thought about all the things I check — my calendar, my to-do list, the messages — I wondered how much I could replicate with Alexa to keep my phone in my pocket.

A lot, as it turns out – and all it takes is a handful of commands. I hope you find them as useful as I do.

Check your calendar

Alexa has pretty good support for Google, Microsoft, and Apple calendars. To add your calendar, open the Alexa app, tap More in the bottom right, then tap Settings and select Calendar.


Once you’ve added your calendar, just say, “Alexa, what’s on my calendar?” and you’ll see a view of your daily schedule. If you need to add or move things, you can tell Alexa to “add an event” or “reschedule a meeting to a different time or day.”

Add to your to-do list

If you’re like me, you keep making mental notes and then never think about doing any of them. It’s no way to live.

Alexa can help. Tell him to add something to your to-do list and then — and this is important — ask him what’s on your to-do list later so you can actually get things done.

If you’re really ambitious, you can create multiple lists outside of the standard to-do list. Tell Alexa to create a list and it will ask what to name it.

Later – this is also important – you need to remember how you named your list to ask what’s on it.

Find your phone

Bell’s Law: You can never find your phone if you’re late and on your way out the door. However, your Alexa device is almost always within earshot.

Ask Alexa to find your phone, and after a quick initial setup, it’ll ring your phone so you can (ideally) hear it ring between the sofa cushions you might have sworn by just checked.

And while this is an Alexa-focused item, the service is limited in that it can’t audibly ring a muted or vibrating-only phone. However, you can do this through the official Android and iPhone phone finder apps: Googles Find my device and Apple’s find my iphone.

Check your commute

The pandemic may be lingering much longer than we all hoped, but pandemic non-traffic is a thing of the past. If you live in a part of the country with widely varying commute times, asking Alexa to check your commute distance is a godsend.


To set your home and work addresses, launch the Alexa app, tap More in the lower-right corner, then Settings and select Commute. Then enter your work and home address.

Ask Alexa how you commute to work every morning and you’ll get an idea of ​​when to leave the house.

Getting caught

Depending on how much time you have, you can get a quick look at the day’s headlines or a more solid helping of the notable news.

For the quick version, ask Alexa to tell you your “flash briefing” for a few minutes with messages from a handful of providers that you can customize. To choose your Flash Briefing providers, tap More in the lower-right corner of the Alexa app, then Settings, then News, then Flash Briefing.

For the long version, just ask Alexa about the news and it will share more in-depth stories from your favorite news source. To choose your source, tap More in the lower-right corner of the Alexa app, then Settings, then Messages, then My News Channels. The best Alexa productivity tips


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