By Laura Haight
The question of whether technology is a time saver or time waster is still open to discussion for many people. We see tasks taking a long time to accomplish and wonder why tech doesn’t make it any easier.
It’s a complex question and there are many factors, but two keys are a) having the right applications and b) learning how to use them to do what you need done.
The biggest time waster I know of is scheduling meetings - and I do a lot of this. Has the explosion of email and the addition of mobility made scheduling easier? Actually, no. There are metrics that suggest it can take at least seven emails to schedule a meeting that involves more than two people. Whether it's the boss or an assistant, that's a big waste of staff time.
But there are tools to streamline and automate the process. And in many cases they are free or near-free, which I define as something that costs less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
Doodle vs Timebridge
Doodle (www.doodle.com) and Timebridge (www.timebridge.com) are both strong online schedulers. Timebridge is free and Doodle has a free level but to compare to Timebridge's functions you must upgrade to a pro account for $39 per year.
The primary function is to enable you to send a selection of times from your calendar to as many invitees as you want. The application keeps track as each person responds with availability and then allows you to select the best time for all participants. Your tentative times are all added to your calendar so you don't overbook and when a final time is selected, they are deleted.
You send one email - the applications do the rest.
There are some differences.
As with all productivity apps, know what is important to you. Features can sound very cool, but if they aren’t tools you use, they’re superfluous not super. But if you schedule a lot of calls and meetings, either of these two tools are worth a close look.
By Laura Haight