Savvy consumers who want to get the most out of their Amazon Echo devices know to take advantage of Alexa "skills," voice-enabled software functions created by third-party developers that can help you do anything from check the weather to play music, hands-free. Today, Amazon released its list of the top skills of 2018, many of which will make you smarter, healthier and more productive.
According to Amazon, there are now more than 70,000 skills available in the Alexa Skills store. While the full list includes a range of options, including trivia and fantasy games, CNBC Make It picked these nine wellness and productivity skills to help you build better sleep habits, stay up-to-date on the news and even stop losing your phone. (To use, simply enable each skill through the skill store on Amazon's website or app).
Studies show that meditation can reduce your stress levels while improving your cognition and your ability to focus. This skill's commands can take you through a simple guided practice and even help you wind down before you go to sleep, working meditation into your daily routine.
Not getting the sleep you need will short circuit your creativity and your productivity. To help you calm your racing mind, the Sleep and Relaxation Sounds skill can play calming sounds on loop (from ocean sounds to white noise) letting you get the rest you need so you can be fresh at work.
Forgetful? Find My Phone allows you to easily call your lost phone with Alexa. This skill won't just save you time, it will save you the stress of wondering where you last left your device.
AnyPod lets you play any podcast, helping you stream insights from thousands of comedy, drama, music, tech, news, education programs to seamlessly expand your knowledge.
5. Big Sky
The Big Sky skill gives you hyper-local, hour-by-hour forecasts tied to your street address so you can be ready for any weather surprise. It will even let you schedule custom weather alerts so you're always prepared.
In just 2 minutes, this skill will help you learn what you need to know about the economy, pop culture and current events, all powered by Marketplace hosts Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood.
7. Chop Chop
This hands-free kitchen companion serves up fun, easy-to-follow tutorials on chopping fresh produce. The step-by-step instructions will have you slicing and dicing even the strangest veggie from the farmers market in no time, ensuring it's simple to eat healthy and work a range of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.
Want to track your steps? See if you hit your sleep goal? Just ask Alexa and check in on your daily progress for the health stats that mean the most to you.
With thousands of positive reviews, this skill is a favorite of Alexa users. Each day, the skill will ask a new trivia question "from arts and entertainment to literature and science," according to its description, helping you learn something new every day.
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