To-Do: Find a Better To-Do List

Whether you write it out with pen and paper, or use an app, you probably use some kind of to-do list to keep on top of your work. After all, the to-do list is one of the best-known and most frequently used productivity tools – but does it actually make us more productive? Sure…if we’re smart about creating and using our to-do lists. But it’s a big ‘if’:  all too often our to-do lists are over-long, over-ambitious, poorly prioritized, and guilt-inducing. If you’re starting to feel like your to-do list is controlling you, rather than the other way around, here are some alternative to-do lists that might change the way you plan and prioritize your time:

The If/Then List

Here’s something we’re all guilty of: writing unrealistic to-do lists that start with a 5am workout session and have us filing taxes, drafting crime thrillers, and getting down to inbox zero all before the end of the day. Sometimes it’s possible to tick off all the items on lists like this, but other times life gets in the way, and our carefully constructed to-do lists fall apart. Enter the If/Then List:

  • If the meeting goes long, then I’ll draft one report chapter instead of two.
  • If I get in early, then I’ll take 10 minutes to organise my desk.
  • If a client cancels, I’ll use the time to follow up on invoices.

This list ensures you’ll have an achievable task on your agenda no matter how badly, or how well, the rest of your day is going

Tip: Brainstorm a wide range of ‘if’ scenarios when you make your list. That way you’ll have more bases covered!

The 1-3-5 List

1-3-5 – three small numbers that could make a big difference to your workday. Working with the 1-3-5 list, each day you should identify and plan to accomplish 1 big thing – say, preparing a presentation, 3 medium things, like working out the agenda for an upcoming meeting, and 5 small things which can be as easy as sending off an email. By narrowing your day down to 9 tasks, the 1-3-5 list forces you to identify essential tasks and focus your time on them. Working with lengthy to-do lists means you’re more likely to switch between tasks without ever finishing them. With this whittled-down list you’re far more likely to cross off each item.

Tip: If you work in a dynamic environment where tasks often arise unexpectedly, factor that into your 1-3-5 list and leave a few items blank each day.

The Have-Done List

There are two key differences between the to-do list and the have-done list. Typically, you’ll write your to-do list at the start of your day, whereas you should aim to write your have-done list at the day’s end. And, while the to-do list consists of tasks yet to be finished, the have-done list notes down the tasks you completed and shows what you’ve accomplished. Doesn’t that sound nicer than looking down a list of mounting chores yet to be done? But it’s not just a feel-good exercise. A have-done list can not only reflect what you have achieved – it’s an excellent tool for evaluating what still needs to be done. If your have-done list shows you’ve completed a big project, for example, then it’s time for the next step – passing it on to a client for feedback, for example.

TIP: Revisit your have done lists at the start of the next day. You can take stock of what you’ve achieved and plan accordingly.

By Jessica Miller

Jessica Miller is an Australian writer currently based in Berlin.

Meekan on Microsoft Teams

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Meekan, the world’s smartest AI scheduling assistant, matches everyone’s calendars in seconds to help you find the best time to meet. He’s free to use and available on Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Hipchat. 

So how does Meekan work?

He connects everyone’s calendars and proposes the best time to meet all through a simple chat interface. Meekan learns everyone’s availability and preferences to pinpoint the best time to meet every time. It’s easy to work out schedule differences and preferences, even for the busiest teams.  

Add our bot to to Microsoft Teams, and just ask for a new meeting in plain english:

@Meekan, schedule a project kickoff before Friday with Dan and Marie

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Meekan handles everything: who, what, when, and where

Meekan will match everyone’s calendars and find the best time options. He even knows about time zones, and makes sure no one will have to wake up at 3am to make your meeting.

After you check Meekan’s proposed options, and book the meeting, Meekan will sync it straight into everyone’s calendars. It’s that simple.

Here’s how you can ask Meekan to manage your schedule. Keep in mind he learns new questions and phrases every day (thousands so far!) so this list is by no means exclusive.

Ask questions about your calendar: @Meekan, when am I free on Thursday?

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Or about other team members (requires their permission): @Meekan when is Dan free tomorrow?

Move around existing meetings: @Meekan, reschedule my 1pm

Quickly find an available room and book it: @Meekan, what rooms are free right now?

…or ask Meekan to locate one that matches everyone’s availability: @Meekan schedule “project launch” next week with Jane, and add a room

 

Meekan works right from inside Microsoft Teams

There’s no need to toggle back and forth between calendars or play email tag with all your colleagues.

He provides a real calendar view, daily and weekly summaries, and alerts if you double book. He can keep track of RSVPs, send reminders, and even check flights for you.

He’s the world’s smartest AI scheduling assistant and he’s ready to get to work.

Trusted by over 35,000 teams worldwide, Meekan is free to use, and works with with Office365 as well as Google, and iCloud

 

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Ask Meekan about free meeting rooms

 

Investment in Calendar Tools – Tamedia and Doodle Talk Strategy

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Tilman Eberle (VP Marketing at Doodle AG) talks to Samuel Hügli (CTO & Head of Ventures at Tamedia) and Gabriele Ottino (Managing Director at Doodle AG) about the future and the global expansion of Doodle. The aim is to break the 500 million user mark in the coming years while developing an attractive paid product.

Tilman: How important is Doodle to Tamedia, Switzerland’s biggest publishing house?

Samuel: Doodle is important to Tamedia on several levels. The tool is already being used by an enormous number of people – 200 million per year, to be precise. And Doodle is no longer just a leisure tool, which was its original purpose. Instead, it has become essential in many businesses.

“We believe Doodle has enormous growth potential.”

My assistant, for example, could no longer imagine life without Doodle, as it would take her so much longer to organize everything. And millions of professionals worldwide feel the same. Last but not least, Doodle is the only global brand in Tamedia’s portfolio.

All in all, we believe Doodle has enormous growth potential, particularly in terms of the number of users, new areas of application due to additional functions, and the overall value of the company.

Tilman: In what ways is Doodle’s international orientation evident?

Samuel: It starts with the team: Doodle has offices in Zurich, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Belgrade. As a result, there is a multicultural climate within the company, which is something we fully support.

“Our product development team is like a think-tank.”

I believe the Doodle team is special, not least because we combine many different ways of thinking. We receive frequent feedback from Berlin and Tel Aviv, which provides us with insights that we would never have gained by ourselves. This is a huge benefit to us. Personally, I believe that our product development team is like an international think-tank. And that’s important. After all, our users are also based in different parts of the world.

In Switzerland, Doodle is known and used by almost the entire internet population. But there are now many more users abroad than in the domestic market. However, there are some big differences between the countries, and not just in terms of the number of users; for example, we believe the US market is much more receptive to professional paid services. These insights will also help us with the internationalization of Tamedia as a whole.

Tilman: What plans are in place for Doodle over the coming years?

Gabriele: We will gradually increase the number of features that Doodle offers, in particular for professional users. Consequently, the tool will meet more and more application requirements for daily office life. Doodle already offers appointment scheduling in small and large groups, as well as text polls. Furthermore, calendar integration makes it possible to synchronize appointments and invite participants directly from the calendar.

“Things will start to get really exciting in product development in the coming months.”

Premium Doodle offers reminder functions and branding for companies, MeetMe supports 1:1 meetings, and the intelligent chatbot Meekan assists Slack and Microsoft teams. All these areas will become really exciting in the coming months and years.

Samuel: At the same time, we are aiming for massive growth and have set ourselves the target of reaching 500 million people with the tool in the next few years. This will also see us invest heavily in a new Premium Doodle tier alongside the free offering. Doodle is in the midst of transformation: from a media platform funded by third parties via advertising to an SaaS platform paid for directly by users. But users of the free module needn’t worry: the basic functions of Doodle will always be free of charge.

“We want to reach more than 500 million people per year with Doodle in the next few years.”

Tilman: How does Tamedia support Doodle financially?

Samuel: We have recently agreed to invest in Doodle on the basis of an ambitious and strategic growth and development plan. This shows just how much faith we have in its potential. We’re looking forward to the results.

Tamedia is taking a calculated entrepreneurial risk here – one look at our overall portfolio clearly shows that we are trying to break new ground with Doodle.

Tilman: What will the developments mean for Doodle?

Samuel: Doodle will experience dynamic growth and development at all three locations. This will be followed by further exciting moves. We want to take this opportunity to show that the time is right for paid use of productivity tools. And we are not the only ones who think so: Monday, Atlassian, Dropbox and Evernote have gone down the same route.

“We are proud that every single person at Doodle is able to make a real contribution.”

Gabriele: We have also managed to fill some key positions in recent weeks: Jack is responsible for the product in the role of CPO, and Jens manages our engineering team as CTO.  At the same time, we are expanding the data analytics and engineering teams considerably. We are fortunate to have so many top-quality candidates to choose from. And we are proud that people are able to make a real contribution at Doodle, instead of being just a small cog in a big corporate machine.

Tilman: How does this benefit Doodle users?

Gabriele: Users benefit from increasingly efficient functions for organizing meetings. Of particular importance are the modules based on artificial intelligence from our subsidiary Meekan in Israel, which can be used to schedule appointments much more quickly and easily. We call this ‘smart scheduling’. Users can choose between different solutions, all of which are geared towards making it easier to plan, create, and hold meetings.

“Calendar automation also opens up a vast array of possibilities for new applications!”

We, along with more than 10,000 users per day, use the Meekan solution for smart scheduling. It never ceases to amaze us how quickly and cleverly the bot finds the best time slot for a meeting. This opens up a vast array of possibilities for new applications, especially with regard to automated calendar management and the personalization of suggested time slots.

Samuel: The more than 200 million satisfied users – many of whom are real fans of Doodle – allow us to invest further in the development, design and support of Doodle and Meekan.

Tilman: Sam, you’re in charge of the Technology & Ventures division at Tamedia. Are there any plans to integrate other start-ups into the Tamedia portfolio?

Samuel: In Ventures, we’re always on the lookout for new start-ups. We want to support these companies with our expertise, our network and our financial resources. We are currently planning to invest in the fintech segment in particular.

“Alongside the existing areas, we are currently planning to invest in blockchain start-ups.”

In particular, the blockchain technology that is used at many of these start-ups offers us completely new possibilities as a media company in terms of content sales, licensing and even content packaging with other partners. We want to be on board early, in the hope that one or two of these seedlings will eventually grow into a big tree.

Berlin Company Run 2018

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The Doodle Berlin crew was excited to show off their running skills in this year’s Berlin Company Run.

The team was proud represent Doodle in the 5.5km race with thousands of runners from the city’s biggest companies.  

The run started and ended at the Brandenburg Gate with a long track around the famous Tiergarten. The route weaved around many of Berlin’s government buildings and monuments. More than just a 5k race, it was a complete sightseeing tour. 

With a fuel of bananas and bio muesli-bars, the whole crew completed the scenic run 30-45 minutes after the starting shot. When we checked later, the records showed that we all finished between 7,000th and 11,000th place out of 17,000. Not too shabby!

Check out the images of our Berlin team representing Doodle in the Company Run 2018.  

 

 

Branding Options for Professionals

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Visualize your company’s branding here…

With Doodle Premium you can customize your polls to best show off your brand or company to your clients and colleagues.

Every poll you create and send out can have your company logo and a background image to add a professional finish to your polling.   

Imagine your polls with ZERO ads and painted with your company’s colors (see above).

How does it work?

You can find the branding options in your account settings at the top of the page. You’ll then see the two options to add images to your polls. Your company logo will replace the Doodle logo on all your polls.

You also have the option to compliment your company logo with a background image. The color of your background image will also be reflected on your poll itself in the border around the table.

Doodle Premium is the most powerful professional scheduling tool around. If you’re not already on board, start your 30-day trial now.

Try it out

UPDATE: Invitation status

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You may have noticed a bit of an upgrade with the Doodle Premium ‘Who is missing’ feature. Not only can you see who you’ve sent your invitations to but you can also check:

Who received the invitation
Who opened the invitation
If there was an issue with delivery

Now that’s quite an upgrade! You can see if your invitations made it where they were going and if your invitees read them.

So how does it work?

When you send your invitations via Doodle (choose ‘Invite Participants’ and select ’email’), you’ll see all the names/emails of your invitees listed on the poll with a sealed little envelope. If that email didn’t get to where it was supposed to go, you’d notice the little envelope will have an exclamation point letting you know. You’ll also notice that once your invitees check the invitations, the envelopes next to their names will be opened!

If your invitees received the invites but haven’t had a chance to participate you can send them a quick reminder message. Use the ‘send reminder’ button at the top of the page.

Doodle Premium is a powerful professional scheduling tool with loads of advanced features. Take a look!

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UPDATE: Messaging with Doodle

We’ve been busy working on lots of cool new features in the last few weeks. Check out the details in the list below.   

Custom invites

You can customize your poll invitations. After you create a poll and add the names/email addresses of your invitees (see next section), you can now include a short message. Feel free to include any details you like about the poll or just a friendly greeting.   

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Address books

You can connect your address book and add your contacts by name or email. As soon as you start typing, you’ll see your contacts appear. For Premium Doodle users, these contacts will appear as placeholders on the bottom of the poll. When your invitees make their selections in the poll, the placeholders disappear. This feature allows you to get a quick overview of who has and who hasn’t participated in your poll.

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Stay in touch

We’ve made it even easier to get in touch and stay in touch with anyone you invite to a poll. Now it’s possible for Premium users to contact their invitees directly. The messaging option can be found in the ‘more’ menu at the top of the page.  You’ll see everyone’s email address populated in the box. You can choose to message everyone or just individuals if you’d like to connect over Doodle.

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Improved reminders

Send reminders to get results faster. For Doodle Premium users it’s possible to send out reminder emails with just a click. Everyone in the poll or just those who haven’t participated can be sent a reminder.

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Close the poll with a message

After you choose a final date and close the poll, you have the option to share the results of the poll. And just like with our poll invitations you can add a little note. Click ‘share results’ at the top of the page to try it out.

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Export to excel

When you export the poll to excel, you’ll have all the poll details in one handy file. You’ll notice that you’ll have all the names of your participants listed with their email addresses on the second sheet.

Create a new poll and see how awesome these new features are.

Try it out