On of the biggest inconveniences of smart speakers to date is having to speak multiple commands to perform a simple task.
For instance changing the color of smart bulbs, locking the door, and adjusting the thermostat temperature use to take three separate commands.
Now you can do it with just one using routines on your Alexa's speaker.
Here's how to set it up.
Start by opening the Alexa app on Android or iOS.
Tap the hamburger button in the top left corner and select Settings.
Scroll down to Accounts and tap Routines.
Next, tap the plus sign in the top right corner.
Here you can choose between when you say something or at scheduled time.
If you select when you say something type in a phrase such as good morning or movie time.
If you select at scheduled time set a time and choose which days it should repeat and then click done to continue.
Next tap add action.
For actions you can choose between news, traffic, and weather which will play just like a near flash briefing.
However you can also choose smart home actions.
These actions include turning on a scene or controlling individual devices, such as turning on or off smart lights, or locking a smart lock.
Click add to finish adding an action and repeat until all actions are added to the routine.
Finally choose which speaker the routine will play audio from.
If you use a schedule routine, you'll have to select specific speaker.
But if you create a routine base on a phrase, you can select a specific speaker or you can specify that you wanted to play audio for whichever speaker you speak to.
To finalize a routine click Create.
Once your routine is created, you can edit it by going back to settings and routines in the Alexa app and tapping on routine.
There you can remove or rearrange actions, add new actions, change the time or day the routine runs, or change the phrase.
You can temporarily disable the routine by tapping the toggle next to Enabled.
And if you tap the three dots in the top-right corner, you can manually play a routine or permanently delete it.
Sadly, there is one unfortunate caveat with routines.
You can't have a routine where you say something like story time, and dim the lights and listen to an audiobook or your favorite podcast.
You can't have a routine stream music or start a skill either.
Still, this should reduce the overall number of commands you have to issue to Alexa to accomplish what you want.
And, if nothing else, it's a huge win for Alexa users everywhere.
For more Alexa tips and tricks and other how-tos, check out CNET.com/howto.
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