How to Use Amazon Alexa to Better Organize Your Day

amazon alexa

August 31, 2020

By now, most of us know that knows how Amazon Alexa can play music for you, answer lots of questions questions and control smart home devices; everything from lightbulbs to microwaves. But Amazon’s virtual assistant can also play a key role in making your life more organized.

Alexa can add items to your to-do lists, run several timers at once, add appointments to your calendar, remind you of anything, and even help you get to work on time.

Here’s are some helpful organization tips for using Alexa to help organize your life:

How to share your calendar with Alexa

Working from home due to COVID-19? Need to share your work calendar with family members, colleagues, and maybe even babysitter? Alexa makes doing so faster, easier and more efficient.

Open the Alexa app or head to alexa.amazon.com and log in Tap on the menu icon in the top-left corner

Tap Settings Scroll down and tap Calendar under the Alexa Preferences tab Tap on the service which applies to you

Tap continue and follow the instructions to log in

Calendars from Google Gmail, G Suite, Microsoft Outlook, Office 365 and Apple iCloud can all be logged into with Alexa.

Once you have shared your calendar with Alexa, you can add appointments to it with voice commands and ask Alexa to make changes to your schedule. Alexa can even be used to set up one-to-one meetings with your colleagues, automatically picking time slots which work for both of you.

How to add items to your Amazon shopping list

If you’ve just remembered you need to buy something online but are busy doing something else around the home, Alexa can maintain a list for you. Just say: “Alexa, add [item name or description] to my shopping list.”

Next time you’re on the Amazon website, under the ‘Your Lists’ tap you’ll see your Alexa Shopping List. This isn’t a list of specific items, but of the exact words you asked Alexa to add to the list. For example, we added AA batteries; we can then click ‘show search results’ to search the site for an exact item.

If you really want to save time Alexa can even add things to your Amazon cart. She won’t automatically order them, unless you ask her to, then, provided you have a valid payment method on file in your Amazon account, she will, saving you even more time.

How to check on your commute traffic

If you are back to working outside the home, or as an essential worker never stopped, you still have to deal with a commute. Alexa can help make sure you have plenty of time to get where you are going.

If you tell Alexa your destination and she’ll let you know how the traffic looks whenever you ask. To enable this, follow these instructions:

Open the Alexa app

Tap on the menu icon in the top-left corner

Tap Settings

Scroll down to the Alexa Preferences tab and tap Traffic Input where you live and where you work

You can also add stops, for if you pick colleagues up on the way, for example

Now you can say: “Alexa, how’s my commute?” and the assistant will give a rough overview of traffic conditions, followed by the estimated time of the quickest route, and which main roads that route uses. She can also now let you know about published changes to bus transportation and METRORail train changes due to COVID-19 (or whatever your local mass transist system is if you don’t live in the Houston area.)

How to add items to your to-do lists

Alexa is compatible with a range of to-do lists, such as Any.do, AnyList and Todoist. Sign into the one you use via the Settings page of the Alexa app, then enable the app’s skill and log in when prompted to.

Alternatively, you can use IFTTT (If This, Then That) to make Alexa communicate with Evernote. This IFTTT applet, made by Amazon itself, updates Evernote with everything you add to an Alexa to-do list. This applet can also add your Alexa shopping list items to Evernote if you decide to go shopping in a store instead of online.

How to manage multiple timers with Alexa

It’s easy to have Alexa look after multiple timers at once, helping you keep on top of work tasks, homeschool assignment and tasks the kids are completing and even cooking dinner at night.. For a single timer, just say: “Alexa, set a timer for 5 minutes” and the assistant will sound an alarm when that time elapses.

For multiple timers, say: “Alexa, set a timer called [name] for 10 minutes” then say: “Alexa, set a timer for [name] for six minutes” and you will be alerted at the right time for each.

Cancelling each timer by name is a case of asking Alexa to “cancel the [name] timer”. If she doesn’t hear you properly, Alexa will ask which timer you’d like cancelling and remind you of the names of every timer you have running.

How to ask Alexa to remind you about anything

Setting reminders can help you stay more organized on an hourly – maybe even minute by minute – basis. Say: “Alexa, remind me to take the trash out on Thursday morning” and she’ll ask for a time. Let her know, and she’ll faithfully remind you at the right time. You can also ask Alexa to remind you every day at a set time, or every week on the same day.

Cancelling these reminders isn’t as simple as cancelling timers, because if you set more than one you’ll need to go into the Alexa app to cancel the right one. If you only have one reminder set (even one which repeats every week), it can be canceled by saying: “Alexa, cancel my reminder.”

Need more help with life organization? We can help. Book an in person or remote professional organization session with Just Organized by Taya today.

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