Simple Smart Home Hacks That Have Made My Life Easier

habits Nov 08, 2023
Simple Smart Home Hacks For an Improved Routine

Technology has taken incredible leaps forward, and these advances have paved the way for some simple smart home hacks that have effortlessly made my life easier. It's like having a personal assistant at home – though I'm still figuring out how to get my tech to bring me a fresh cup of coffee in the morning!

In our fast-paced world, finding tools to help us take charge of our schedule is crucial. Wouldn't it be great to reclaim that valuable "me-time" we all need and deserve?

Here, I'll share how you can balance your work-life, enhance your daily routine, and support your emotional well-being by smartly integrating technology into your home.


#1. Alarms

Setting up alarms on our Echo is how we avoid things from falling through the cracks. Our Alexa-enabled device keeps my family on track without all the stress and with a LOT less effort. 

The alarm feature is incredibly versatile and customizable! You can easily set up multiple alarms for different times of day and assign them to specific household members.

For example, you can set one alarm for your children when it’s time for them to get ready for school and another alarm for later in the afternoon as a reminder to start their homework.

You can also use the alarms as reminders to take breaks throughout the day- like going outside for some fresh air or taking a few minutes to relax before bedtime. 

There are tons of sound options to alert you when an alarm goes off, and you can also customize each alarm with its own unique name, so everyone knows which task it’s associated with! 

Safe to say, it’s an invaluable tool that helps you improve your routine while making it easier to stay on top of daily responsibilities- in other words, more time and energy to be devoted to what really matters!

#2. Lighting

By integrating voice control, the Echo easily adjusts the lights with simple commands.

With adjustable brightness and tone settings, you can improve your routine by creating a unique atmosphere perfect for any occasion. No longer will you have to fumble around in the dark to reach the light switch!

It also allows us to customize our lighting routine to quickly and conveniently adjust the lighting without inputting information manually or fumbling with a remote.

This makes it ideal for busy families who need to save time but still want great lighting options ðŸ’Ą

It’s also great for saving energy since users can schedule when their lights come on and off as needed!

#3. Weather

Probably one that shows up close to the top as far as most frequently is checking the weather.

It’s funny that we use it that much; Matt & I both work from home and are mostly inside. But here we are, asking our Echo the weather probably about 5 times a day 😂

We get an accurate report on the current (and future) conditions with just a few words. We find this really helpful to our routine since we get a lot of rain here in Oregon and are often looking for that window of sunshine (if it exists that day) to maximize time outdoors and take Charlie for a long walk.

If you live somewhere where it isn’t sunshine and blue skies year-round, having such detailed information at your fingertips helps keep you up with the ever-changing weather details and helps you plan ahead. You don’t have to be limited to today’s weather, you can look ahead and get as nitty-gritty as your planning heart desires. 

#4. Routines

Staying on track with our daily habits and routines can be challenging when you have kids to chase, a career that’s calling, and a lot of to-dos and obligations growing in your calendar. Thankfully, smart devices have come to save the day in our homes. 

With our Echo, we’ve set up small and more extensive automated routines that are intentional, organized, and productive. (and if you’ve been around long enough, you know I’m ALL about efficiency & systems.)

If you catch the YouTube video above, you’ll see my friend Noah’s VERY DETAILED setup that will leave you in utter amazement (or confusion, we’ll see!).

Examples from our own personal routines include an alarm that reminds us that it’s “chore” time, followed by immediately playing our cleaning playlist, setting the lights in our home to slowly brighten for a gentle wake-up call, and an automated lights-out reminder every night for our girls.

#5. Calendar

I’ve had a little pushback on this in the past, with people sharing that it prevents my kids from asking questions.

But, as someone who seems to have short-term memory breakdowns on a regular basis ðŸĪŠ, I can use all the support I can get. 

This keeps our lives running smoothly and efficiently, so we spend less time worrying about remembering all our appointments (if you’ve ever had kids with braces or a newborn, you know what I’m talking about here). 

This frees us up and allows us to focus more on what matters most. 

#6. Grocery Lists

Ever leave your home for groceries… to get there and realize you forgot your list?

Or was there something you meant to write down but completely forgot… leaving you making multiple trips to the store?

I still do this- despite how conscious I try to be of remembering what I need!

The bottom line having a tool that allows everyone to add things to the list as they notice things running low or when they think of something they need has been a lifesaver-

especially as a mom to a new baby, it’s nice to give my brain a break while I’m still catching up on sleep ðŸĨī

#7. Intercom

Now, you can streamline your daily activities and make life a bit easier by being more intentional with your time (learn more about improving your life with intentional living)! The Amazon Echo’s Intercom feature is super convenient (especially if you have a lot of stairs as we do).

It can easily communicate with members of your household from different areas of your home, so you can easily keep everyone connected and informed.

You can also use it to set announcements on Smart TVs so that you don’t have to yell when it’s time for dinner or something else important! 

#8. Reminders

Perhaps you need to remember something to do later, and you don’t want to forget. It’s not quite a task that lands on your calendar, but it still needs doing.

You can ask the Echo to remind you, and voila! Never forget the important things that pop in and out of your day.

Simple as that- If you’re prone to forgetting things like me, or you’re notorious for telling yourself you should write it down, but you never do, this one alone is a game changer in helping you drastically improve your routine.

#9. Music

We use this so much we subscribed to unlimited music! We certainly maximize its value.

Anything from lullabies (it took some time, but I finally came across some stations that weren’t creepy or annoying), our cleaning playlists,  or chill background music. It’s easy to ask our Dot to play a specific song without having to sit, sift and scroll.

When we’re not sure what we’re in the mood for, it’s fun to ask it to play music based on certain suggestions.

#10. Meditation

I don’t use this feature very often (although I use it a lot more now), but there are really neat spa soundtracks or Tibetan singing bowl sounds that feel like a massage to your ears.

#11. Random Facts

Whether it’s quick answers, solving a debate, or using it as a conversation starter to break the ice- asking the Echo random facts can be a lot of fun.

A real-life example includes a recent debate between my daughter, Matt, and me on pronouncing “cumin.”

All we had to do was turn around and ask the Dot.

Turns out Matt & I have been saying it wrong all along. 🙃

#12. Pet Questions

I feel like this falls into a separate category because it refers to circumstances when you need to make an informed decision where you can’t afford to be wrong. It’s a nice way to double-check and avoid disaster!

One way we use this often is to double-check what is and isn’t safe for dogs. While we avoid giving Charlie table scraps more often than not, we’re careful to avoid giving her something that could make her sick!

#13. Timers

It may seem a little odd this feature is so far down, seeing as these devices are often referred to as being glorified “timers.”

However, I feel we rely on it much less than some of the other features I mentioned.

Let’s say you’re cooking and your hands are dirty. You can ask the Echo to set a timer for ‘X amount of time’, and that’s it! 

What’s especially neat is you don’t have to worry about cranking the music too loud and not hearing the timer go off. It’ll pause your music to set off the alarm 🎉. You’ll improve your routine and save your meal from heading into the burn zone.

#14. Sleep Sounds

My husband and I have very different “ideal” environments for sleep. 

Like, very different.

I watch tv to fall asleep (which I’ll get to in a second), but Matt prefers to listen to white/brown noise while he sleeps. And you’ve guessed it, we do BOTH through the Dots!!

It’s as simple as crawling into bed and saying, “turn on white noise,” and he’s on his way to dreamland.

#15. Bluetooth

When you’d like to watch TV but need the room to be quiet (whether it’s because your spouse can’t fall asleep to the sounds or you have a baby napping nearby), there’s a way to improve your routine so you can tune in without making a sound!

I have a Bluetooth “headband” set that is cozy to lie on that I use to connect to my system, which then connects to my TV!

This way, I can skip tossing and turning for hours and still use the TV to tune out the thoughts that pour in nonstop at night- without debating or compromising on who “wins” the sleeping arrangement. 😉


I know ‘tech’ devices are not for everyone- and that’s totally okay! There are many ways to stay organized without relying on technology. 

With that said, if it’s something you’re open to, it can be a great way to improve your routine and save time!


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