Fast Company - - Secrets Of The Most Productive People - by Jared newman

Alexa can do more than tell you whether it’s go­ing to rain or help you or­der a pizza. While nearly a third of Amer­i­cans own smart speak­ers, such as the Alexa-pow­ered Ama­zon Echo, Google Home, or Ap­ple Home­pod—a num­ber that’s ex­pected to rise to 48% by the end of the year, ac­cord­ing to Adobe— most of us use these de­vices for mun­dane re­quests like play­ing mu­sic or check­ing the tem­per­a­ture. To get the AI brain­power be­hind these de­vices— Alexa, Google’s As­sis­tant, and Siri—to work harder for you, start em­ploy­ing these magic words.

1 “Sched­ule a meet­ing”

In­stead of click­ing through a cal­en­dar app, ask your voice as­sis­tant to block off your sched­ule. You can spec­ify the date, time, and event name in your re­quest, and Alexa can even in­vite con­tacts to your events. (For any­thing else, you’ll need an old-fash­ioned app.)

2 “Play some white noise”

This seems like an ob­vi­ous one, but few peo­ple ac­tu­ally do it. Back­ground noise is a great way to drown out dis­trac­tions and get into a work mind-set. Try ask­ing for dif­fer­ent kinds of noise— like rain, a fire­place, or for­est sounds—to see what works best for you.

3 “Re­mind me to stop pro­cras­ti­nat­ing . . . in 15 min­utes”

If you find your­self slip­ping down a Twit­ter or In­sta­gram rab­bit hole too of­ten dur­ing the day, ask your As­sis­tant to rein you in. Alexa users can also say, “Start tomato helper” to start a ver­sion of the Po­modoro Tech­nique, a pop­u­lar time-man­age­ment strat­egy that en­cour­ages switch­ing fre­quently be­tween work and break times.

4 “Make a phone call”

Ama­zon Echo, Google Home, and Ap­ple Home­pod all beat dinky smart­phone speak­ers when you need to be hands-free dur­ing a call. They’ll even dis­play your reg­u­lar phone num­ber to the other party.

5 “Broad­cast”

If you have mul­ti­ple Ama­zon Echo or Google Home speak­ers around your of­fice, use this com­mand to record and send out a one-way mes­sage to all your col­leagues. Home-of­fice work­ers: It’s also handy for telling the kids to “quiet down, please.”

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