Inspiration

I have a really hard time waking up the morning.

I think part of this is because, as a university student, I have an irregular sleep schedule. But as a senior, I have a lot less motivation from not taking as many classes as I used to. Yet I still want to get things done and not just sleep in until noon every day.

I had originally planned for this to be an alarm that doesn't shut off until I say the right answer to some question I set, with the motivation that I could become good enough at answering that question "in my sleep," but I scrapped the idea after doing some research on ASK's technical limitations.

After doing some more research, I also figured that most people probably aren't as spartan as I am when it comes to how forcefully they want or need to be woken up. However, I still liked the idea of being reminded of something as soon as I wake up. I'm also a fan of Momentum, a Chrome Extension that's really simple but still manages to evoke feelings of calmness and clarity.

I wanted to combine all of these into a single skill that I could actually see myself using every day and is pleasant and easy to use.

What it does

I combined a more relaxing morning routine with one that still helps me remember the most important ideas first. I also included a corresponding "wind down" routine in the evening.

These could be {meditation, stretching, reviewing priorities} for the morning (any of them and in any order), and {meditation, reflection, reviewing priorities} for the evening.

It keeps track of the last time you told it your main focus for the day. You can also configure the order of the routines if you want to skip or rearrange anything about your morning or evening routines.

How I built it

I used Python to write a Lambda function, and I used DynamoDB for the database.

Challenges I ran into

Aside from having to pivot from my original idea, learning about the many possible sources of "There was a problem with the requested skill's response" was always an interesting hunt.

Also, a lot of documentation and StackOverflow questions I looked up were written for node.js instead of Python.

What's next for My Daily Assistant

I would definitely try to redesign the flows around an Echo Show screen. I'm not using it at all at the moment, but I think it would help with the look and feel I'm going for (it doesn't really have a look right now, but it would).

I'd also try to make the parts of the routine more dynamic. I created everything by hand with no hosted audio, using some help from the Internet for the actual content I added. That includes writing a 3-minute meditation routine in SSML! In the future, I'd like to have more content to switch out so that users can enjoy updates to their routine, which may stay the same for many days in a row.

Skill ID

amzn1.ask.skill.38bcf354-aa54-4080-8e49-a76d02f6c221

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