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Amazon Echo routines are your secret superpower. Here's how to do them right

We'll show you how Alexa can help make your day easier from the moment you wake up.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Katie Teague
3 min read
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You don't always have to remember to tell Alexa to do something for you, especially if it's a command you perform every day at the same time, like check the weather and get a readout of your schedule. That's where Amazon Echo routines come in. Routines can help get your day started by brewing your coffee, kicking off your morning meditation and reminding you to walk throughout the day. They can also turn the lights off when you leave the house, in case you forget.

Whether you've been using the same routines on your Amazon Echo for years or you're just getting started, it's time to shake things up. For example, if Alexa wakes you up by playing music, we'll suggest a different skill instead. Or, if you've been rising up earlier than your alarm, you don't have to wait for your routines to start anymore -- you can start them yourself. 

Here are four Amazon Echo routines to change or set up now.

Use your voice to start your routine

You don't have to wait for your Amazon Echo to start your routines anymore. Instead, if you wake up early and you're ready for the lights to turn on or coffee to start brewing, you can enable the routines with your voice. Just say "Alexa, enable my good morning routine" and then say "Alexa, good morning" to start the routine. The same goes for any other routine set for a typical time, like afternoon exercise or bedtime if you can't keep your eyes open.

Wake up to more than news or music

Sure, a soothing song in the morning might help you get your day started -- or it can make you fall back asleep. Try something that stimulates your mind to help you fully wake up. For example, you can create a routine that will start the game Jeopardy! when you dismiss your alarm. Or you can try a morning meditation skill to get the gears turning after you turn off your alarm -- just make sure it's not one that'll send you back to bed.

To get started, open the Alexa app > tap More > select Routines. From here, you can either create a new routine or modify one you've already created. Tap Add action > Skills > Your Skills and select the game or meditation skill you'd like to help wake you up.


Waking up before your alarm goes off? Start your routine with just a command.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Your Alexa routine can remind you to get up and move

If you're working from home or have a desk job, you may be so focused on your daily work that you forget to get up and move throughout the day. Take small breaks by setting up a routine that enables a workout skill, like 7-Minute Workout.

Or, you can set up a routine that reminds you to get up and stretch or do a few jumping jacks each hour. To do so, you'll need to create a new action for each reminder, select Wait and customize the amount of time you would like between each action.

Experiment with location-based routines

If you've got smart lights, plugs or switches, you already know you can control them with Alexa. The best way to do this is to set up location-based routines that turn your smart devices off when you leave the house, say to get groceries, and back on when you return.

To set up location-based routines, create a new routine in the Alexa app and under the When This Happens section, select Location. Enter your home address and select Arrives or Leaves. Note that you'll need to give the Alexa app permission to access your location. Next, select Add action > Smart Home > select your device > tap Power and toggle the switch on or off. You'll need an action for each smart home device you have.

For more Echo speaker tips, check out these four worst places to put your Amazon Echo in your home, three best uses for Amazon Echo in your bedroom and three Amazon Echo security features to turn on when you leave the house.

Watch this: Alexa's best hidden talent lets you make your own commands