Doodle for free

I admit that the title of this blog article is a bit misleading.  On the surface, it sounds like some sort of free-form drawing thing, right?  Well, you’ll be surprised to find out that it’s actually about a website that makes scheduling meetings and conference calls a breeze.

Andrew Clarke, IT magician

Allow me to introduce Doodle (www.doodle.com).  As the site says, “Doodle simplifies scheduling,” and the price couldn’t be better.  No more endless emails back and forth trying to find a good day and time for everyone.  No more phone calls to track people down.  Well … hopefully.  You still have to get the people involved to cooperate, but it’s as easy as typing their name and checking the times they’re available once they click on the doodle link you send out.  Here are the steps to setup a Doodle:

  1. Decide on a few dates and times to offer as choices.
  2. Visit www.doodle.com, and click the link to schedule an event.  You can setup a free account if you want to, but it’s not required to use the service.
  3. Enter a title for the “poll”, a location if you want, and a brief description.
  4. Select the dates you’ve chosen by clicking on each one on the on-screen calendar.
  5. Enter the time choices (the default is 3 choices per day selected).  You can choose more times if you want, but giving too many choices tends to discourage users from participating fully.
  6. Since you’re trying to setup a meeting, just click Next to select a basic poll.
  7. Decide if you want the invitations to the poll to be sent from Doodle or if you want to send them yourself.  To send them from Doodle, just enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite.  To send them yourself, copy the link and paste it into your email or use the email Doodle sends you as your starting point.
  8. Invite people to participate, and keep up with the poll.

You will receive two links by email.  One link can be used to invite people to participate in the poll.  The other link is so you can administer the poll.  Anytime someone fills in a survey, you will receive an email notification.  The site will show you graphically what choices have been made, and it will show you the number of people available for each time choice.  In the end, it will be easy to select the time that works for everyone.

Doodle can be used for other types of polls as well.  Play with Doodle to see what other ways it can be used to help you in your job and your personal life.  Share your experiences by commenting on this article so others can benefit.

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