Various calendar services let you schedule a meeting based on invited attendees picking preferred times from a set of specified options—Doodle is the most well-known. But the problem with such services is that you have to know which dates and times are likely to work for the people you’re polling. If you want to set up an hour-long meeting sometime in the next week but have no idea what might work for others, you’ll spend an excessive amount of time specifying all the possible options.
A free—if oddly named—Internet service called Crab Fit turns this scheduling problem around. Instead of letting people vote for preset options—none of which may work—Crab Fit asks everyone when they could possibly meet and then reveals which days and times have the most overlap. It’s easy to use and remarkably effective.
You can use Crab Fit to schedule a movie night with friends, a workgroup brainstorming session, or any other event where people need to assemble at the same time. As an example, let’s walk through finding a time for a committee meeting.
Creating an event is straightforward.
Once you’ve created and shared your event, it’s time to say when you’re available. This process is the same for you as it is for everyone you’re inviting, so if you get invited to a Crab Fit event, the same process applies:
That’s all there is to it—there’s no need to do anything else to submit your available times. The magic happens when all the other people in your group say when they’re available too, following the same steps.
As the organizer, it’s your job to pick the best time, but everyone can see on the Group Availability tab which times are better and worse—the darker the color, the more overlap between schedules. Hover your pointer (or tap on an iPhone or iPad) over a particular time to see who is available then.
The rest is up to you—Crab Fit doesn’t alert participants or do anything else, so you need to identify the best time and convey that to the people you’ve invited.
When there’s only a single time when everyone can make it, agreeing on it is easy, but you’ll likely have to choose from multiple times that are equally as good for everyone. The hardest situation comes when there are conflicting possibilities, none of which is perfect. In the example above, the best solutions get only five of six people, and who can’t make it differs by time. You’ll have to decide who to leave out.
Regardless, Crab Fit radically simplifies homing in on the best possible meeting time. It works well in desktop Web browsers and the iPhone and iPad. And if there’s something about it that you don’t like, check out When2Meet, which works nearly identically but doesn’t display well on the small iPhone screen.
(Featured image by iStock.com/fizkes)
Social Media: Having trouble finding the best time for a group to meet? Check out the oddly named Crab Fit, which lets people add their availability and shows the best scheduling overlaps.