MyLife Organized review

Just like I promised earlier, this entry is going to give you a brief explanation of what MyLife Organized is and how I'm using it in my daily organizing. Hopefully, this will help you make you own opinion of this software, and easily see some of the benefits it might have for you.

 

I've been using the evaluation version 1.5.06 of MyLife Organized to replace the organizing process I had been using after my recent to-do lists revolution. So far it's proved to be reasonably easy to manage tasks using this software, but I'm still not sure if it's the ideal solution for me, and I'll explain why.

 

First impressions

MyLife Organized is a really nice software for your time, tasks and projects management. It supports most of the concepts you're ever likely to need organizing your time, and attempts to present information in an easy-to-read form.

There are three editions of this software application, the simplest one provided to you absolutely free. The basic differences are that in the free edition you're pretty much limited to managing your time with simple tasks lists, while standard edition ($45.95) adds the idea of places (locations in GTD) and adds flexibility for time management. The professional edition (59.95) supports basic project management and allows you synchronize your lists with Outlook or PocketPC edition of MyLife Organized.

For more details, please consult the MLO features comparison page.

You can get a professional edition 45-day trial, and it takes only seconds to download it. Once you start the application, you have a demo database to work and play with. The main window allows you switching between few tabs, and I'll cover them later on.

 

Outline tab

This is where you'll be spending most of your time working with this program, as it allows you to manage all your tasks and projects. Everything is represented by a tree-like structure, and using the right-click of your mouse you can access all the functionality available to you at any moment and within the current scope. For each task, apart from lots of properties, you can also have a notes section where you put text information. These notes can be printed out along the task when you're printing reports or to-do lists.

MLO-Outline

 

To-Do tab

This is where you'll be looking from time to time just to make sure you're right on schedule. All the tasks are shown as a list, and you can see the dates and times when they have been allocated to a task. You can limit a to-do list to a particular context (place) or a date.

MLO-To-Do

 

Places tab

This is the MyLife Organized way of placing tasks into certain contexts. You create various locations here, and then assign tasks to these locations as you create them (or at a later stage, if you wish). The idea is that places will help you narrow your to-do lists down to something very specific when you need it.

MLO-Places

 

Pros and cons

There are some things I've found very useful, and some others which I don't like at all. And there's probably many more features I simply don't know about this software, so just be warned. As for me, I'll certainly do my best to update this entry later when I discover more about this application.

 

So here are the things I like about this software:

  • very compact piece of software. I've copied its folder to my iPod, and this solved the problem of accessing the same tasks list at work or at home.
  • adjustable appearance. You can change the way application looks to make it present your tasks either as a dead-simple to-do list or as a very useful tree-like structure
  • extensive set of features for time management
  • excellent handling of recurring tasks
  • places support is great for managing place-specific tasks

 

And here are few things I don't like:

  • it's not free. It would be much better if the standard edition was free, and the professional one would cost something like 30$.
  • not all features are obvious - it takes time, some trial-and-error experiments, and, finally, reading the thankfully informational help file before getting some things done the way you want it
  • templates for printing are still very basic. If you're familiar with the freely available DIY planner pack of PDF forms, you'll know exactly what I mean
  • working with groups of tasks (like changing the location or time for all the subtasks) could be improved and simplified

 

Why I don't think it suits me in its current form

While MyLife Organized certainly allows me keep track of all the tasks and projects I have, I really miss some of the features specific to my previous way of organizing things. Here are just a few:

  • To-do lists are cluttered – by default, any tasks which don't have their start date set are going to show up in your to-do list. Unfortunately, I have cluttered to-do lists – that was one of the reasons I tried moving away from them. In my organizing, there are plenty of things I know I'll be doing this month or this year, but I dont' even want to spend time thinking now of a possible date for them. I haven't found the way to make such tasks disappear from the to-do list, cause these tasks would appear on the list even if I try and filter it by the date.
  • Outline is only 1 tab and it's not flexible enough. If you remember, I like having few outlines – one for today, one for the week, another one for the month, and yet another one for all the rest tasks and plans I'll be doing someday. Outline tab gives you only 1 structured list of tasks and projects. The same goes for the To-Do tab, as I would really like to have my to-do list show only the things and plans I have for today.
    UPDATE: Turns out, the tab is actually too flexible ;) If you employ the View feature, this would allow you sort filter and sort your tasks by date or completion (for both tasks and projects). 
  • Lack of history tracking
    Because I'm only developing my own approach to daily organizing, it's vital to me that I keep track of my progress and have the ability to go back and review what I've done or haven't done today or yesterday. This is the part which wasn't excelled in my previous organizing approach, and it's not found in the form I would like in MyLife Organized neither.
    UPDATE: That being said, the View feature allows you to view completed tasks sorted by date.

 

That's it, I think I've said enough to raise your interest and explain how and where this software could be improved even further. Seeing how active its development is, I'm looking forward to reviewing future versions of MyLife Organized. It's definitely one of the best organizers around.

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  • http://www.airjair.com Jeremy Eaton

    GTD at http://www.kinkless.com is probably much better! You gotta have a mac though, particularilly if you want to be productive.

  • http://www.personaldevelopment.ie Gleb Reys

    Thanks for sharing the idea, Jeremy!

    I don’t have a mac, but have seen it in action and find it extremely easy and effective to use. I’m told that macs are a whole religion – once you’re converted, there’s no coming back ;)

  • shk

    I use http://www.rememberthemilk.com

    Have checked most of the other free (and some not free) to-do sites, and RTM is way better imo. Has endlessly customizable tabs, tags, priorities, due dates, etc – yet the interface always appears uncluttered and neat! I’ve seen some of the other to-do sites try to pull off this many features and it usually ends in a horribly ugly UI with features that you will probably never use there, anyway.

    RTM integrates with mobile, email, instant messengers in various ways as well. And did I mention it’s AJAX? :)

    I’ve probably missed tons of other features it has, but trust me – it’s well worth checking it out!

  • http://www.personaldevelopment.ie Gleb Reys

    Hi and thanks for taking time to leave a comment!

    I guess I like MLO because it’s a stand-alone application and I can not only take it anywhere with me, but also be sure that it’s never offline or anything like this.

    I will definitely be doing a review of online solutions, as I am still looking for the perfect way of organizing things online.

    Are there any decent reviews of the RTM you’re aware of? Please feel free to point us to them.

    Thanks again!

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  • Leke

    Hello! I’ve just downloaded Mylife organized, read this article (very helpfull and unique site btw! I’d like to spend many weekends reading and learning from here) but still are not convinced about one fact or mistery. As “internet explorer” means to browsers, when i’ve heard about personal organizers, LOTUS ORGANIZER is the first and best solution in my mind for that (simply because they are the first people to think about “personal organizers” and because they are updating and improving it since the first Personal PC). I’m curious. Why all you friends, never mencioned about it here? I’d like to know your opinions about this particular software too. You don’t use it because is it expensive? I missed the telephone tab for example into “mylife organized” and so on. thanx for advance. Leke.

  • http://www.personaldevelopment.ie Gleb Reys

    Hi Leke,

    And thanks for stopping by!

    I can’t speak for everyone, but my own reason for never mentioning Lotus Organizer is because I’ve never used it. Yes, the fact that you have to buy it before trying the software doesn’t help.

    MyLifeOrganized has free and professional versions, which makes it much more accessible to most people.

    I would not be surprised if Lotus Organizer had a number of features not present in a product like MLO – it has a much longer development history, got a huge user base, and is sold for a higher price.

    Thanks for a great question!

  • Leke

    Fresh news, my friend!
    Yes, you are fully right about the “number of features not present in MLO” as contacts, anniversary, email, .. but i’ve seen a demo of LOTUS ORGANIZER right now and MLO gives a shot in LO in terms of “to do list’s management”. MLO is much more friendly and complete than LO when it categorizes the tasks and also, i thought very interesting the tree and sub-trees tasks… for example, you have a long task to do and you can divide it into many sub-tasks.. That’s what i call clear organization! Well, the question that i’d like to insist is… which others programs did you also try? maybe together we can get the personal organizer of ours dreams lol. Hugs, Leke

  • Leke

    Hi Gleb!
    I’ve just noticed something that disappoints me in MLO. I hope i’m wrong but… there is no way to protect it with passwords! is that correct? Thanx again. Leke.

  • http://www.personaldevelopment.ie Gleb Reys

    Hi Leke,

    Glad to see you like this program. Yes, you are correct – there’s no support for encryption just yet.

    Before this tool, I was using online solutions only – BackpackIT, Vitalist, GTD TiddlyWiki.

    I like your enthusiasm about the perfect organizer!

  • Leke

    Hello Gleb,
    Seems i’ve became a regular user here lol.
    Well, actually i spent all whole afternoon researching the “perfect organizer”. For that, i took the download site as my tool. Conclusions until now? MLO really has so much to offer but i will wait for another upgrades. Why is that? I’ve just find a MLO similar that just failed in one detail: also the none password issue. BUT, it has something that MLO doesn’t have: CALENDAR. I’m talking about LIFE BALANCE software. I hope you get not disappointed with it and maybe you fullfilled our eyes with another great tutorial about… life balance. Try it. I think i’ve found my “almost” (because the lack of passwords) perfect organizer!
    I’ll wait for your answer. Btw, if this will help… i’ve tried all these: aboveandbeyound 2007, timeto, c-organizer pro, hoo schedule master,VIPOrganizerSetup, aliveorganizer and because they don’t have “sub-tasks for short time tasks” i didn’t like any of them.
    Hugs. Leke.

  • http://postmodernhousewife.blogspot.com Helen

    Thanks for this review. I’ve never been good at using analog organizers and I’m not doing a whole lot better with digital ones. I have a PDA which helps with sheduled reminders, but the Task list is easy to ignore and pretty basic. (It also isn’t Mac-compatible, which is a whole nother issue… maybe I should switch to Palm…)

    I’m looking at these GTD organizer programs as I loved the book. I’m not sure that I like the MLO interface – it looks kinda basic and I’m not sure it is much different from just using my PDA notes. Vitalist sounds pretty good…

    I’m yet to find one that ‘does it all’. There’s a GTD plugin for Outlook, but not for Entourage, the outlook equivalent which I have on the Mac.

    I’d be interested to hear any thoughts on Vitalist and more on LifeBalance.

    cheers!

  • http://www.personaldevelopment.ie Gleb Reys

    Hi Helen,

    and thanks for stopping by!

    You’re quite right about the challenge of finding an ideal GTD application. Here’s a page to give you some ideas: http://www.atpm.com/13.02/next-actions.shtml

    Vitalist does sound good. I wasn’t happy with a free version of it though, and so never stayed with it. I’m going to start beta-testing iScrybe now, as this project looks quite promising.

    Hope to see you around!

  • bhushan

    Hi Gleb,

    Very cool site. Not been too active on the net in the past but definitely like personal development stuff so I am happy to run into your site. In order to put the MLO software onto a portable device, what do you need? Didn’t understand what they were saying…hoping you could clear it up.

    Thanks
    Bhushan

  • Lucy

    Just a comment about the to-do list clutter problem. I had a similar problem of having things on my to-do list that I didn’t want yet, and I tried creating a place that would be a “placeholder” where I wolud put this task under “placeholder” if I didn’t know what to do with it yet and then when I did I would move it to the appropriate place. I made sure not to include “placeholder” within any other places and when I didn’t want to see those tasks they would be filtered out. Just an idea, it work pretty well for me.

  • http://www.personaldevelopment.ie Gleb Reys

    Thanks a lot, Lucy!

    Yes, you described a very clever trick which I’ve learned over the course of few months as well.

    Thanks a lot for sharing it with others!

  • http://i5laptops.com Candra

    Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Cheers