I was inspired to make this app because I often spend way too much time on projects. I wanted to be able to track how much time I’m spending on useful tasks and how much I’m wasting on useless ones. Using alexa to track the tasks seemed a more seamless way than using a phone or other app. It would not distract from the project at hand. It’s a simple idea and I was sure it would already exist but there seemed to not be any apps that fit my needs. With alexa I just wanted to say that I’m starting an app and that I have finished the task and then find out how long it took seamlessly.
What it does
The app tracks how long you spent on a task, it keeps a list of the tasks in a database and displays them on alexa lists. If you work on the same task a number of times it accumulates the total time spent on the task and can also let you know what tasks you have been spending the most time on. The app also sends a reminder after 1h in case you finished the task and forgot to turn off the timer.
How we built it
The skill was build with the Alexa self hosted skill service that hosts skills in AWS. It uses dynamo DB to store the user data. There are 11 different speech intents to interact with the different capabilities of the skill.
Challenges we ran into
We met challenges with getting the user consent for use of lists - verbal consent is not acceptable for the use of lists - we had to send an extra consent card to the app for this to work. It was not immediately clear from the documentation. We also ran into a challenge wanting to create a timed task intent. It is not allowed to have
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud to publish our first skill. Proud to have created a useful tool that I desired to exist into reality. We hope that others will find it useful to keep on track with their daily routine and stay productive!
What we learned
It was our first Alexa Skill so we learned a lot. We learned how to structure the intents, how to figure out what phrases are the most easy to say and what phrases might be used by users. We learned how to get user consent for the use of reminders and lists both by verbal consent and by sending a card to the alexa app. We learned how to use reminders and lists with alexa.
What's next for Task Buddy
The next improvement that can me bade to task buddy is an option to automatically reset the tracking at set intervals - for example every week or every month and send the user a breakdown of what they did in the week/month.