Category Archives: Uncategorized

Doodle at AMP 2018

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Photo by Jace Grandinetti on Unsplash

We’re so excited that our very own Michael Wuergler presented at this year’s AMP conference in Amsterdam.

AMP is an open-source project that aims to make the web better for everyone by creating faster web pages that perform better across all platforms. Most recently, Google has been working to bring the power of this framework to Gmail, and they asked us to develop a few applications for the new prototype.

Now, emails will no longer be static blocks of HTML that age and grow moss in your inbox. With this technology, developers will be able to create engaging, interactive email experiences. Your emails will be more dynamic; they’ll live and change with time. AMP for Email will make it possible for your emails to remain up to date every time you open them.

What does this mean for Doodle?

It means that you could get poll updates directly in your inbox. And I’m not talking about notification emails; I mean that your original admin email will update itself when people make their selections in your poll. You’ll be able to have a running tally of who voted for what in your poll as it’s happening. You could even choose a final date and close the poll right from your inbox. All without opening your browser. Finding a time to meet will be faster and easier with the ability to manage polls from your email.  

We’re waiting for Google to roll out AMP for Email, and then we can move to bring you all our cool AMP related projects.

If you’re interested in AMP and want to see Michael’s presentation you can check out the video below. He starts at about 6:30.

 

Doodle for Teachers and Students

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Doodle is the premier scheduling tool for educators and students.

We get feedback all the time from teachers and professors about how much they love Doodle and how useful it is for them. Here are a few of our favorite tips!

One-to-ones

Lots of teachers and professors use Doodle to schedule one-to-one meetings with their students. It’s simple. Create a poll with all the available 15-30 minute time slots and send it out to your students. You can set a limit on the poll that each option can only be chosen once, so you avoid double bookings. The poll can also be hidden to keep everyone’s names and choices anonymous. Create a Doodle poll and let those one-to-one meetings schedule themselves. If you have recurring meetings, you can just duplicate the poll and reuse the same email addresses. What a time saver!

Classroom voting

If you need to take a classwide poll to find the best day to go on a field trip, for example, you can send out a poll with all the options and let the students decide. If you use the hidden poll feature, you can remove any bias. Date polls are a great way to make decisions collectively.

Teamwork

If everyone needs to get together for group projects, free text polls are the best way to go. Create options like Group 1, 2, etc. and let everyone choose their own. Don’t forget to set limits, so the groups don’t end up too big! You can also print the list, or export it as an excel file, and have all the information down on paper.

These are just a few examples of how Doodle is employed in the classroom. We hope they’ve given you a little inspiration for creative scheduling and polling for the classroom.

Manage Your Workspace Manage Your Life

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

The Great Debate

People with tidy workspaces are more persistent than their messy peers according to a study by the Harvard Business Review. It may seem that a cluttered desk might make you appear as if you’re working harder, but you could be undermining your own ability to stick to a task. Two groups of students were placed in two different offices, one clean and orderly and the other cluttered and chaotic. The students in the clean office stuck to the directed task for on average 1.5 times longer than the other group. So perhaps your colleague with the empty desk is on to something. When you limit your distractions, you end up getting work done.

But what about the opposite? Does clutter spark creativity? As it turns out, individuals placed in a messy room generated more ideas than those in a tidy room according to a recent study by the Association for Psychological Science. The ideas generated were also deemed more interesting according to neutral judges. Scientist Kathleen Vohs also found that disorderly environments encourage freedom from tradition, which can lead to fresh insights.

Clutter Styles

So which is true? Perhaps both approaches are true simultaneously, lending credence to the concept of ‘clutter styles.’ Whatever the case may be, a tidy desk or a cluttered one, it’s important to understand in which environment you work best, and then take steps to develop a system around it. By recognizing your clutter style, you can identify what you need to do to optimize your productivity. If your piles of papers and books keep you comfortable, then make a space for them. If you need a tidy environment to keep those ideas flowing it’s best to keep those papers and books on the shelf where they belong.

Something to Agree On – Phones Away

As it turns out the presence of your smartphone may occupy some of your limited-capacity cognitive resources which leaves less room for other cognitive processing. If your phone is on the table you could be paying attention to it even when it’s not ringing, and this is preventing you from focusing on the task at hand. The research by Adrian Ward et al. transcends the tidy versus messy debate; putting your phone away is something everyone can do to better stick to the task at hand.

Whether your productivity is enhanced by a bit of chaos in your environment or you’d rather keep a neat desk to stay focused, it’s best to understand how your workspace contributes to your overall productivity. Furthermore, keeping that phone out of sight is a surefire way to gain a little more focus.   

 

How Slack Made Doodle More Productive

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Slack is the premier communication tool for us at Doodle. It’s hard to imagine what work was like before it. Now our workspace is more than just our offices in Zurich, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Belgrade. All of us are connected on another plane, where work, communication and progress, are streamlined. We love Slack for all kinds of reasons, but here are the top 5.

And for all you Doodle fans out there that aren’t already on board with Slack, you can check out a special offer and get started today.

Channels

Slack channels are fundamental to our work. We use channels for everything. A general one with everyone included. Channels for our different teams; backend, design, apps, and so on. We have channels going for relevant tech news and even the weird stuff we stumble across on the web.

But what makes Slack so vital to our productivity as a company is that we create channels whenever a new topic arises. New project or idea? Start a conversation and add the relevant teammates. Inside of 5 minutes, we’ll have more ideas outlined and overall progress than if we’d scheduled a kick-off meeting and had to wait for a conference room.

Remote work

With the Doodle wheels turning in four different offices, we’re no strangers to remote work and conference calls. We use Slack to communicate in threads rather than emailing back and forth all the time, and we also use it for video instead of Skype or Hangouts.

You can use it for one-to-one meetings, or you can invite others to join. Our favorite part is the nifty sketch feature you can use when you share your screen. The sketch feature facilitates a little more back and forth between teammates when you’re presenting or communicating an idea. It’s funny how often you wish you could draw what you mean instead of describing it. Problem solved. 

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Apps

Slack offers hundreds of app integrations. When you can integrate all of the other tools you use on a daily basis with Slack, it becomes something greater than the sum of its parts. 2+2=5 right?

Google Drive – It’s so easy to manage all Google Drive needs from Slack. There’s no need to toggle back to email to approve access requests or find some lost comment notification. I’ll get every update on the documents I’m working right on my desktop.

Desk.com – When a user contacts us with feedback on a new feature, the message is automatically sent to our support channel in Slack. Our product team can have a look at it and discuss the next steps for implementation. There’s never any shortage of great ideas, and this Slack app helps to keep them coming.

Meekan

Our favorite app for Slack gets its own section. Meekan.

Meekan is the world’s smartest AI scheduling assistant. Meekan can connect everyone’s calendars, and propose the best times to meet, all through chat on Slack. Meekan learns your habits and the times you typically meet with certain people and bases its suggestions on that. No more early meetings or anything after 6. And it’s not just you either, Meekan will do its best to make your whole team happy, having already learned everyone’s schedules.

But Meekan can do more than just set meetings. It is your assistant after all. Ask Meekan to edit, reschedule, rename, or move meetings around too. If you’re late to the office, pull up Slack and ask Meekan to push your first meeting back 15 minutes. It’ll send out a notification letting everyone know. You can ask Meekan how many meetings you have tomorrow or next week, and it’ll give you a breakdown of your schedule.

We Doodlers are flying between our offices all the time. To help us out, Meekan can also check the world’s flight database and find the earliest arriving, shortest, and cheapest flights anywhere.  

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Mobile

All of these great features are available on the go with the Slack apps for Android and iOS. The Slack app is a great way to catch up on what I missed yesterday or to get a start on my workday while I’m on my commute. If you need to alert team members, you can tap the @ to bring up a list of teammates and groups. They’ll get a notification that they need to check out a thread or take a look at a document. With the app, it’s just as easy to swipe and set your status to away if you’re not taking your work home with you.

Slack enables us as a company to share our ideas, our creativity and our progress. It also helps us to send cat videos and weird gifs to each other the second we see them.

Here’s a selection from our random Slack channel.  

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Not using Slack? Get started with $100 off by using a special discount from our team at https://try.slack.com/doodle.

Experience the Benefits: Doodle Premium

Curious about what makes Doodle Premium so special?

Here’s a look at all the cool features and benefits.

Who is missing

With Doodle Premium you can easily keep track of who has and who hasn’t participated in your poll. When you send invitations via Doodle (by clicking Invite participants at the top of the page and then ‘email’), you’ll notice that every email address you send the invites to will appear on the bottom of the poll. These email addresses will act as placeholders until your participants make their selections, and then they’ll disappear. With just a glance at your poll, you can easily see who needs to be reminded to participate.

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Send reminders

If you want to send a quick email reminder to those who haven’t participated in your poll, you can do so with one click. Click the ‘Send reminders’ button at the top of the page to view a list of the non-responders. You can edit the list if you like and add a custom message.

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Branding

If you take a look at our Premium plans, you’ll notice that all the business options include customized branding. You can add your logo to your polls as well as a custom background. With Doodle Premium Business plans you add a professional look to all the polls you send out to your clients and your team.

Additional information requests

Additional information requests allow you to acquire more information from your participants when they make their selections in a poll. When your participants save their selections in your poll, you can ask them to provide their email address, phone number, or postal address. It’s a pretty nifty feature if you want to start a contact list for a newsletter (for example) or if you just want to make sure you can get back in touch with everyone after your event.

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User management

You can have Premium Business plans with as many users as you like. If you purchase a Business plan for teams, you’ll be able to add others to your account and them to create polls with all the same Premium benefits. It’s as simple as adding their email address to your user management page here. Then they can see who is missing, send reminders, and add information requests.

Also, keep in mind that all Doodle Premium plans are ad-free! Take a look at our Premium plans.

One Problem Everyone Has and How to Cope

Heart-pounding, knee-knocking stress. Your palms sweat and your head gets light.

It’s the fight-or-flight response that kept our ancestors alive when they were out hunting to make sure that they weren’t the ones being eaten. Nowadays, we don’t have to worry about being chomped in two by a T-Rex, but we do have bills, family matters, or upcoming deadlines.

Job stress is the primary source of stress in adults. And it’s been increasing in recent years. It’s not that surprising considering the sheer number of projects (30-100) the average business person has at one time or the fact that you’re interrupted up to 7 times an hour on average.

If you’re one of the 40% of workers reporting that your job is very stressful, you could be experiencing:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep trouble
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • And the list goes on and on

We’re all staring down a heaping pile of TPS reports. Everyone feels stress, but it’s what you do with it that matters. You could cope using methods that have a negative effect on your life like binge-eating fast-food or overindulging in alcohol. Or you could adopt some ways to manage that stress.

Identify what’s causing it

If you identify stressors in your life, you can better assess what is important and what needs attention, and what doesn’t. Put everything you can control into one box and everything you can’t control into another. Shawn Achor refers to this as the Island Experiment in his book The Happiness Advantage. He suggests that you take effective action on the items in the first box and throw out everything in the other. Seems liberating doesn’t it?

Get together

We all need some help sometimes. Find someone in your life to chat with about what’s stressing you. You can talk to a colleague about a problem they can help with. Or maybe you can vent to a friend about an annoying colleague. I find that the sheer act of talking about your problems helps to reframe them in a way that makes them seem more manageable.

Stay positive

Stress is influenced as much by what’s happening inside as by what’s happening outside. Reflecting on what you’re grateful for and reminding yourself of it throughout the day is one way to stay positive, even when things aren’t going so well. You can also reduce the negativity around you by keeping better company. Negative people and their negative thoughts are only going to exacerbate the stress you’re already feeling. You can put them in the ‘forget about it’ box I referred to earlier.

Everyone feels stress, but that doesn’t mean that it has to control our lives. Identifying what’s causing it, relying on your friends, and staying positive are all great ways to keep stress from taking over.

Meet Anywhere in the World

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Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash

There’s no question that Doodle is the best way to organize a time to meet. It wouldn’t be the best time-finding tool if we didn’t take into account one vital issue.

Time zones. Your 8 o’clock or my 8 o’clock? Wait, when are we meeting again?

We’ve taken care of all of this already. Just in case you had any questions, I wanted to share the details with you.

There are two time zone settings you’ll encounter when polling.

Poll time zone

During step 2 when you create the poll, you will set the “poll time zone.” If you have an account, the poll should automatically take whichever time zone you have in your account settings. Check yours here. If you don’t have an account, the poll time zone is taken from your IP address. You’re free to click on the time zone during step 2 and choose another if you wish. This will be the time zone of your poll and the time zone of your event.

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Display time zone

Consider the following from the perspective of your participants.  When viewing a poll, you’ll notice the “display time zone” just under the title of the poll. This time zone will be unique to the person viewing the poll, depending on their location. The poll should adjust the time options according to the person’s account settings or IP address. The poll time zone remains the same and the display options are changed for each participant. You can also click on the time zone and change it if you like. 

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For Example

I’d like to have a conference call with some colleagues overseas. I’m in Berlin and I’ve created a poll with some options that I think might work for everyone. The poll time zone is Berlin. When my colleagues in New York open the poll, they’ll see my Berlin times adjusted to their time zone (see above). The 11am option they choose will be my 5pm, taking into account the 6 hour time difference. When the phone rings at 11am New York time, they’ll be ready to answer it.  

What about the apps?

When you create a poll with time slots in the app, Doodle will take whichever time zone you have your phone set to as the poll time zone. Likewise, when viewing a poll in the app, the display time zone will be adjusted according to your phone settings. There’s no need to adjust the time zone, we handle this for you automatically.

You can also check out our FAQ here for more details.