And Alexa can help you stay on track
If you have kids, you’ve probably been asked, “How long is it until Christmas?” several times already. And if you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve probably wondered “How much time do I have to prepare?”
For national holidays like Thanksgiving, you can just ask, “Alexa, how may days until Thanksgiving?” and she’ll give you the date and how far away it is.
But for more personal events—maybe it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or just something you’re working towards, like a 5K race—you can create your own countdown with Alexa’s Blueprint Skills.
- Go to the Alexa app and tap More.
- Select Skills & Games, then scroll down to Skill Blueprints and tap the box.
- Here, scroll down to the option How Many Days, and tap the blue box at the bottom that says Make Your Own to start building the skill.
- First, enter the name of the event as you’d like Alexa to recognize it, like “How many days until Grandma’s birthday?” Then use the calendar to tap the actual date. (You can also make it an annual event, or just a one-off.) When you’re done, tap the blue box at top right that says Next: Experience.
- Here, customize by selecting and an opening and closing messages around the skill. Alexa has some suggested ones, like “Another day closer!” or you can type in your own.
- You’ll also need to select a closing sound. There are a ton of options you can tap to preview. You can also add a colored backing screen that will show up on your Echo screen when you use the skill. Tap the blue box in the upper right when you’re done.
- On the last screen, you name your skill. The default is How Many Days, which seems perfectly apt to me, but you can also customize it. Then tap Next: Create Skill in the top right and it will create the skill. (It can take a few minutes.)
Pro Tip: It seems like overkill but you need to have an opening phrase, closing phrase, sound and color to complete the skill.