6 Best Alexa Routines Right Now

by Katherine Prescott, founder & editor of VoiceBrew

What are routines on Alexa?

Alexa routines are amazing. They let you automatically make something happen (like music turning on or lights turning off) at a specific time every day, upon an Alexa voice command, any time you arrive at or leave a place or when your morning alarm goes off. You set up a routine once and then it runs every time you need it to.

Me asking Alexa to play my morning playlist“Alexa, morning playlist”

Here are the 6 Alexa routines you should try:

1. Turn on a playlist

When I listen to music, I generally listen to my favorite playlist of the moment. It’s pretty easy to play a Spotify playlist on Alexa or a Pandora station on Alexa just with an Alexa voice command. But I can never remember the exact playlist name to summon it with Alexa. My solution: I created an Alexa routine that turns on the playlist whenever I say “Alexa, playlist.”

Pro Tip #1: You can easily change the routine to play a different playlist.

Pro Tip #2: If you want to easily summon multiple playlists, create a few routines with different Alexa command triggers. For example, “Alexa, morning playlist,””Alexa, relaxing playlist,””Alexa, energize playlist,” etc.

2. Keep your kids on schedule

Busy household with busy parents trying to keep multiple kids on schedule? Routines are a lifesaver. Use them to remind each of your kids about their various activities — like when to get ready for soccer practice on Sunday mornings or violin lessons on Thursday evenings.

Here’s an example of what Alexa can do via a routine:

  • Announce “[your kid’s name], time to get ready for soccer!” across your household’s Echo speakers
  • Tell your kid the weather (so he/she is dressed appropriately)
  • Play your kid a fun song for some motivation to get ready
  • Announce “[your kid’s name], we’re leaving for soccer now!” 5 minutes later

Thinking of getting Alexa speakers for your kids’ rooms? Check out VoiceBrew’s Alexa speaker guide!

3. Wake up and go to sleep better

How do I get Alexa to wake me with music?

Waking up. Awaken as the lights gradually come on and the room warms up, let Alexa brew your morning coffee (all you need is an Alexa smart plug!) and get your weather, news, traffic and calendar update for the day.

Going to sleep. When you’re ready to fall asleep, just say “Alexa, good night” to turn off the lights, play Alexa sleep sounds and set do not disturb.

Pro Tip: Don’t have smart lights yet? Check out VoiceBrew’s guide to Alexa Hue lights to find out how to easily set up smart lights in your home and figure out which type of smart lights are the right ones for you.

4. Automate the things you do when you get home

One of the cooler Alexa features is the ability to trigger a routine based on your location. Here are some things you could automate as part of a location-based routine that kicks off when you get home:

  • Turn on the lights
  • Set the thermostat to your preferred temperature
  • Turn on your favorite music or playlist
  • Alexa says “Welcome home!”
  • Announce you’re home across your Echo devices (especially handy if you have a home with multiple floors)

5. Make it look like someone’s home even when you’re away 

Can Alexa randomly turn on lights?

Create a simple recurring Alexa routine that turns the lights on and off and plays music or news. If you want to be fancy, set up different routines for different days of the week so the routines look less automated to onlookers.

6. Make someone laugh

Routines can be funny too! Thank you Reddit user u/pimparoo25 for this hilarious one. We’ve all been there.

How to create an Alexa routine in 90 seconds or less

Just follow these 5 easy steps:

  1. Open up the Routines tab in the Alexa app
  2. Tap the + icon in the upper right corner to open up a New Routine tab
  3. Tap “When this happens” to choose the trigger (time + day, voice command or location)
  4. Tap “Add action” to set the actions you want to happen in response to the trigger
  5. Tap “Save” in the upper right corner

For more details (and screenshots to guide you), check out VoiceBrew’s comprehensive Alexa routine guide.

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For the last 20 years, David Novak has appeared in newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV around the world, reviewing the latest in consumer technology.His byline has appeared in Popular Science, PC Magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Electronic House Magazine, GQ, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Newsweek, Popular Mechanics, Forbes Technology, Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Glamour Magazine, T3 Technology Magazine, Stuff Magazine, Maxim Magazine, Wired Magazine, Laptop Magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, Indiana Business Journal, Better Homes and Garden, CNET, Engadget, InfoWorld, Information Week, Yahoo Technology and Mobile Magazine. He has also made radio appearances on the The Mark Levin Radio Show, The Laura Ingraham Talk Show, Bob & Tom Show, and the Paul Harvey RadioShow. He’s also made TV appearances on The Today Show and The CBS Morning Show.His nationally syndicated newspaper column called the GadgetGUY, appears in over 100 newspapers around the world each week, where Novak enjoys over 3 million in readership. David is also a contributing writer fro Men’s Journal, GQ, Popular Mechanics, T3 Magazine and Electronic House here in the U.S.