The inspiration for 5-Minute Break first came to me as I was working on a blog post for a business I work for. The writing process was taking forever, and I frequently caught myself checking my phone, Facebook, Instagram, etc. instead of actually getting the work done. Realizing this was a problem, I went online and looked up ways for becoming more productive at home. Interestingly, I stumbled upon several sources that claim a simple 5-Minute Break can dramatically boost work efficiency, support concentration, and reduce stress. I was ready to give it a try! But after a few attempts of sprinkling in 5-minute breaks into my work schedule, I found I was STILL grabbing my phone and checking for any new notifications, without even thinking! At this point, I knew something different had to be done. But how can you effectively have a quick break without the distractions of social media? Then it came to me. Build an Alexa skill that GUIDES you through your work or study break. Thus, 5-Minute Break was born!
What it does
Simply say “Alexa, begin 5-Minute Break." Choose from one of three categories: “Meditate,” “Exercise,” or “Play a Game” to get started. Each activity lasts for ONLY 5 minutes.
“Meditate” has three areas of focus: Mind, Body, or Soul
- Mind: Exercises visualization and positive thinking
- Body: Brings awareness to all components of ones body
- Soul: Focuses on breathing techniques
“Exercise” starts with a quick 1-minute stretch. Then allows you to choose a level of difficulty: Easy, Medium, or Hard, to begin a short workout.
- Easy: 10 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and 10 squats
- Medium: 20 jumping jacks, 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, and 20 squats
- Hard: 40 jumping jacks, 40 push-ups, 40 sit-ups, and 40 squats (*Feel free to modify workouts to whatever suits you best!)
“Play a Game” is a simple, yet challenging memory game. The goal is to help Max figure out which items are missing from his desk. The further you go, the harder it gets!
Once the music has stopped and the activity has ended, it’s time to get back to work. 5-Minute Break is the perfect solution for those who work from home, study for school, or simply need a quick rejuvenation. It’s amazing what a 5-Minute Break can do!
How I built it
This skill was built entirely with getstoryline.com, a free service that gives you the ability to build skills without coding!
Challenges I ran into
My biggest challenge was coming up with a fun story to incorporate into the memory game. For now, the game centers around Max and his missing office supplies. But the game is evolving.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm most proud of creating something that can positively impact someones life. Knowing that this can make someone more productive, efficient, relaxed, or happy, is a REALLY cool feeling. And, actually, I wish I had this skill sooner for myself!
What I learned
The process of building this skill shifted my perception on the future of technology. Today we are seeing a rise in dependency on mobile devices (despite recent studies illuminating their harmful effects). And after my own experiences, I've seen firsthand the negative impact our devices pose on our overall productivity and mental health. For this reason, I'm beginning to see the true benefits of voice technology. It returns us to our present state, and makes us THINK again. I truly believe that in order to solve many of our problems in today's world, we need to find our voices.
What's next for 5-Minute Break
There are several things I plan on adding to this skill in the near future. First, I intend to add more music options for the meditation and exercise sections. This way, there's always something new to look forward to. Second, I plan on enhancing the memory game. I plan on adding new characters, new items, and overall improve the fun!