Power up your morning routine with Alexa (or Google Home)

Michael Rurka
Dec 10, 2019 · 4 min read

Imagine having an accountability buddy there for you each morning, without fail, reminding you to do your sh*t.

We sleep and wake up virtually every day. Therefore these two events are prime real estate for the development of new habits. The main problem with new habits is that we forget about them. So why not have someone remind you of your new habit every morning/night?

Enter Alexa.

Who is Alexa?

She’s the voice inside your Amazon Echo. The brain of your smart home, if you will. She has a feature called Routines which allows her do things based on certain triggers.

Examples

  • Have her turn off the lights and tell you a story when you tell her “Good night, best friend”
  • Have her exclaim “Yay!” (with robotic enthusiasm) and play your TGIF playlist on max volume when she sees you come home on Friday after work (you’ll need a motion sensor btw)
  • Have her start the coffee machine and read out your schedule for the day when you dismiss your alarm.

You can do this with Google Home, but you’re limited to only 6 preset verbal commands. AND it seems you can’t set custom messages. Whereas Alexa can respond to literally any verbal command.

🌜 Bed Time Reminders

If you’ve read my post on how to wake up at 5 AM every day, you’ll know that the first step to waking up early is going to bed early.

During the work week, I wake up at 5:30 AM. Therefore I need to be in bed by 9:30 PM. I’m far from perfect, so I need Alexa to give me a heads up when bedtime is approaching, and when bedtime officially strikes. She also reminds me to track my mood.

What it looks like in the app

🌤 Morning Reminders

There’s a few things I want to do each morning. When I dismiss my alarm, Alexa reminds me to do the following:

  1. Make my bed
  2. Meditate for 5 minutes
  3. Do some pushups
  4. Weigh myself

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How it plays out

  • 5:30 AM = A soft melody fades in slowly (i.e. the alarm)
  • 5:30 AM = Me: “Alexa, stop”
  • 5:30 AM = Alexa: “Wakie wakie. Hope you had a good sleep. I will let you know when your five minute meditation is over”
  • 5:30 AM = Alexa waits 6 minutes.
  • 5:31 AM = I eventually sit up (in bed) and start meditating.
  • 5:36 AM = Alexa: “Great job! You can stop now. Please make your bed, do 10 pushups and don’t forget to weigh yourself.”

What it looks like in the app

Pro Tips

Pair habits

If you’re looking to start a new habit, find something you do every day, week or any other regular interval, and tack on your new habit. It’s muuuch easier that way. Things like sleeping, showering, eating and brushing your teeth make great starting points for new habits.

Start small

Start small. Start small. Start small. One simple little dumb habit at a time. It doesn’t take 21 days to start a new habit — that’s a myth. It takes anywhere from 3 to 12 months to actually develop the resiliency of your new habit. Charles Duhigg covers this in his book The Power of Habit. So start small, and think long term.

Anticipate imperfection

This can be truly life changing. You’re much more likely to continue trying something new when you expect to slip every once in a while. It’s much less psychologically painful. Hopefully you’re building habits for many years to come, so missing a couple days is merely a drop in the bucket.

Final thoughts

I’ve been doing this exact Alexa Routines for about 2–3 months now. Despite being simple and straightforward, it’s been very effective at getting me out of bed and starting the day on the right foot. Even the most simple habits can have immense compounding effects over time.

Hopefully this helped you generate some ideas for your morning routine. I’m happy to chat about any Routines you’re looking to try our, or already have going on. Hit me up :)

Happy mornings!

Cheers,
Michael Rurka


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Michael Rurka

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Product designer + serial hobbyist + elephant painter + weekend philosopher. How we do anything is how we do everything. Live your best life.

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Voice technology interviews & articles. Learn from the experts.

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