The whole point of a smart speaker is to make your life easier. Here’s how to take yours to the next level.

Smart speakers like Google Home come with a litany of preset commands that can play music, control smart home gadgets, or set reminders. However, with a little tweaking, you can create your own custom commands that can do several things at once. If you don’t already have a smart speaker or smart display, we’ve reviewed the best smart speakers with Google Home here.
While smart gadgets can be useful for a lot of thingstheres nothing quite like the convenience of turning off your bedroom light from under the coverstheyre often persnickety, requiring very specific voice commands to work properly.
Routines let you simplify the commands you use regularly, stack multiple commands together, and even automatically perform certain actions based on the time of day. Instead of saying, OK, Google. Turn off bedroom and play rain sounds, and hoping Google correctly processes that those are two separate commands, you can say OK, Google. Good night and have a routine take care of the rest.
Google Home comes with a few template routines to get you started, but well walk through how to create your own custom routine so you can make your smart speaker behave exactly the way you want it to.
Googles premade routines focus on things like your morning or evening routine, because those are fairly universal tasks that anyone can use. But theyre also not very imaginative. If youre having trouble seeing why youd want to go to the fuss of building your own custom routine, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Make long, complicated commands easier. Philips Hue lights let you create custom color profiles, from bright saturated color themes to soft, warm lighting for reading. But switching between them with commands like Set living room to Relax is awkward and requires you to memorize a lot of scene names. Instead, create a routine with the command Reading time and program it to automatically set the correct lighting profile, and put on some soft jazz while youre at it.
  • Get ready for a movie. When its time to watch a moviesomething you probably do a lot at home these daysyou need to turn the lights down low, turn on the TV, and maybe turn on your TVs backlight. The routine in movie theaters of playing a couple trailers before dimming the lights really helps you get into the mood to watch a film, and its something you can replicate with routines in your own house.
  • Block out distractions. Your smart home gadgets arent the only thing a Google Home can control. It can also turn your phone on silent, which can be handy for work or study sessions. Create a focus routine that will mute your phone and start playing some lofi beats to study to.