How To

How your smart speaker can make you more productive

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews

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The Amazon Echo and Google Home are two of the most popular smart speakers on the market.

Google Home

From: Walmart

$99 $129

Amazon Echo

From: Amazon

$84.99 $99.99

However, many people consider using them to do things like listen to news reports or hear party playlists.

How your smart speaker can make you more productive

As it turns out, you can use both of these well-known products to improve your focus when working on important, deadline-sensitive projects.

1. Use your Amazon Echo as a noise machine

Numerous studies confirm that the fluctuating sounds familiar to an office or a home with kids and pets can compromise your ability to work and study by disrupting your focus.

Fortunately, you can reduce that phenomenon by using noise-masking techniques and converting your Amazon Echo into a noise machine.

Listen to ambient noise through Amazon Prime or Spotify. There are even dedicated Alexa skills that play certain types of ambient noise. White noise is particularly suitable for boosting focus because it masks all frequencies.

However, if stress is negatively impacting your concentration and being at the beach normally calms you down, listening to crashing ocean waves might help.

2. Make Google Home adjust the thermostat

Sitting in a room that’s too hot or cold is one of the fastest ways to break your focus.

However, if your abode has a compatible climate control system, Google Home can adjust the temperature for you. Then, not only will you be more comfortable as you work, but you also won’t have to stop whatever you’re doing to change the temperature.

After linking your smart home system to Google Home, you can say, “Make it warmer/cooler” or just use the command, “Raise/lower the temperature by [number] degrees.”

To get even more specific, try “Set the temperature to 74” or any other temperature you prefer.

3. Let Alexa help you work in time blocks

Productivity pros often say time blocks help them get more done than they would when working without them.

By using a time-blocking system, you stay devoted to single tasks for predefined amounts of time.

Even if your mind wanders and you feel tempted to do other things during a block, it’s crucial only to do the planned activity. Eventually, you should find that this technique helps you remain perpetually focused.

Alexa, the virtual assistant inside the Amazon Echo, offers a built-in timer feature.

You can ask Alexa to set a timer for a specified period or give your timers unique names based on the tasks for which you use them. It’s also possible to ask how much time there is on an active timer.

4. Rely on Google Home as a speakerphone

As handy as our smartphones are, they’re notorious for stealing focus.

For example, maybe you originally intended to use your phone to make a one-minute call to your colleague and get an opinion on a proposal in progress.

However, it’s easy to get distracted and check Facebook for “just a second” or respond to a non-urgent text message. Before you know it, one second becomes ten minutes, and your focus is long gone.

However, the Google Home also works as a speakerphone. It can dial your contacts using your mobile number or a dedicated one for Google Home. You can simply say, “Hey Google, call [person’s name].”

Also, this feature works for multiple users. For example, if both you and your roommate have a contact named Dave in your lists, the smart speaker figures out who’s giving the voice command and dials the right person.

5. Get Your calendar details From Alexa

Even your best attempts to stay focused can go poorly if you’re constantly thinking, “Have I forgotten to do something today?” That’s why it’s a good idea to ask Alexa to give you a rundown of the events on your calendar at the start of every day.

Just say, “Alexa, what’s on my calendar?” Then, you’ll hear about all the day’s obligations.

Of course, the Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers can do fun things, too. Both of them offer dozens of games and trivia-centric features.

Once you use the focus-boosting tips above, you’ll have more time left in your day for purely pleasant activities that don’t relate to keeping your concentration unwaveringly sharp.

Photo by Piotr Cichosz 

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews

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