There are two universal truths about modern life (in fact there are more than two, but these are the ones relevant to what I’m going to tell you):
- Everyone is busy
- Everyone receives too many emails
Is this true for you too? Of course it is, it’s universal.
And one of the surest ways to exacerbate both conditions is trying to organise a night out with friends. Or indeed any occasion involving more than two people. This one can only do mornings, that one can only do afternoons, this one is on holiday, that one has a big pitch coming up.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves” – Jack Kornfield
The organiser who – naively? foolishly? – sent the initial “aren’t we all overdue for a catch-up” email finds herself attempting to juggle all these conflicting busy, busy, busy schedules and she, and all the rest of us, who are cc’d on every response has their inbox flooded with the barrage of unsuitable date suggestions. Usually, I just pip in at the end once they’ve settled on a date – and then end up begging off because I’m at the theatre that night and regretting a rare opportunity to see that particular group of friends.
For me, one big benefit recently of not being tied to the relentless theatre opening schedule is being much more available and flexible meeting up with non-theatre friends who don’t know, nor give a hoot, when Miss Saigon is opening. But that still doesn’t get round those universal truth nuisances.
What does nip those in the bud is Doodle. This is a free, web-based scheduling tool. It takes about a minute for the organiser to set up the potential event, selecting the times and dates that they’re available to make and then generating an email to the friends they’re inviting to tick which they can also do.
The organiser can just set it as a straight poll – tick for yes, don’t tick for no – or they can add further options or restrictions: yes/no or if need be, for instance, or hiding who’s voted for which meeting time.
The organiser then receives an email every time a new person has answered the poll (which takes seconds) and, if it’s not hidden, the invitees can also track progress.
Doodle also calculates the most popular date/dates, which is especially useful if you’re herding a larger group of cats. And once the date is decided, it will sync it with your, and your invitees, calendars.
So, a long overdue girls’ night took place this week thanks to Doodle. We’d been talking about it since January, emailing each other about it for weeks, and clogging up inboxes. Then, my friend Hannah remembered Doodle and it was sorted and scheduled the same day.
All of our future girls’ nights will be much less hassle.
(P.S. That is not me and my friends in the picture at the top of this page, though I’m sure we all wish it were. I fear some of those lithe, tan young things may actually be young enough to be my daughter, but I don’t want to know for sure.)