Doodle is a popular free service for scheduling meetings and events. Once you’ve set up a Doodle account, you can invite people to share their availability with you by ‘voting’ on a range of dates that you’ve offered. When all of your attendees have voted you’ll be able to see which dates are viable for your meeting.
- Select a list of dates and times you want to offer and let Doodle automatically generate a link to the poll. Just email the link to your group and they can start responding.
- Those responding to the poll don’t have to set up their own accounts; this means it’s fairly easy to get a quick response, as there are no complicated signups for your attendees to manage.
- Doodle can integrate with a wide variety of online calendar services, (Google, Office365, Outlook.com and iCloud), and can even work with desktop applications such as iCal and Outlook. So you can view responses directly in your calendar.
- Doodle generates you a MeetMe page, which allows other people to view a version of your calendar online which only shows whether you are busy or available. Clients, team-mates or friends can request appointments with you directly through this page.
- Android and iOS apps are available for Doodle, which automatically link into your calendar as well.
Doodle is super easy to use and makes the job of trying to coordinate busy people much simpler! As well as trying to find mutually convenient times for groups of people, it can also be used to allow individual participants to select convenient appointments for themselves, eg. interview slots. This can cut out a lot of emailing back and forth and make the process more accessible for the candidate.
Trello is a free project management app that can be accessed through a web browser or via iOS and android apps.
You might have heard of ‘kanban’, a Japanese term that roughly translates as “card you can see”. Kanban boards are project management tools that allow you to visualise your tasks and physically move them around as your workload changes or as you hit different goals. Much like moving sticky notes around the wall. Well, Trello works much like this, where you can drag and drop your tasks, written on ‘cards’ and arrange them into different columns: eg. To Do, Doing and Done. You can then rearrange the cards within those categories in order of priority and add notes, colour coding, due dates, attachments, and checklists.
- Totally free, and perhaps more importantly, totally free to use as a team.
- Trello’s simplified interface works really well when multiple users are accessing and modifying task cards in the same board.
- Responsibility for specific cards can be given to individual team members so that your workflow is effective.
- Start discussions among team members all within the Trello interface.
- Notifications via the app or by email keep you up to date with any project elements that have been modified.
- Free ‘Power Ups’: For users who want to add additional functionality, Power Ups can be added, including:
- Integrate your Trello with other tools such as Slack or Google Suite Apps eg. Calendar or Drive
- A card ‘ageing’ tool which changes the colour of cards over time that haven’t been accessed or modified
- A voting system, where team members can vote specific cards up or down
The strength of Trello lies in its simplicity; Trello deliberately tries to keep the features minimal to allow for the most streamlined and intuitive planning process possible. One nice touch is the option to add patterns to your task cards, so that they still stand out and are easy to differentiate if you are colour blind.
Xmind is a concept mapping program, which allows you to create ‘spider diagrams’ or ‘mind maps’ on your computer. Creating a mind map can help you to plan your workload, get ideas down for a presentation, plan a piece of writing and organise projects.
- Choose from tons of different templates including Fishbone Chart, Matrix, Timeline and GANTT
- Quickly add branches to your mind map using the mouse or keyboard shortcuts; get ideas down without worrying about the order they come out in.
- Add detailed notes or bullet points, which can be hidden inside the branches of your map.
- Attach images and files to your map (for instance, PDFs) so all relevant material is in one place
- “Drag and drop” the different parts of your map to organise your thoughts in a logical order
- Convert the map, (including any notes you have added) into a text file which you can then edit in Word
- Create colour-coded mind maps to help group ideas and themes
- Add icons (like flags and smiley faces) to mark off tasks that you have completed
- Show and hide different parts of the map so you’re only working with relevant sections – break workload down into bitesize chunks
- Export and share in a variety of different formats, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, RTF, HTML, Plain Text, to PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, SVG, etc.
- Use presentation mode to show off your ideas
The mindmaps synchronise across different platforms, so you can access them anytime, anywhere. It’s really useful if you’re on the go and not always using the same device.