If you decided to manage your personal goals, a pen and paper may help you to get started. Then, if you want to add more structure into your writing you can use paper forms like those published by Gary Ryan Blair. However, as you go further, it will become increasingly difficult to add more goals and keep them on track. Fortunately for you and me, there are great software tools to make your life easier. Here I’ll present a list and quick overview of what is available on the market today.
Goals Pro - http://www.success.net
Goals Pro - http://www.success.net
This is a commercial goal management product by Success Studios. It’s price is $79.95, and it is a well balanced GUI application with most of the needed features to manage your goals. It allows you to create goal categories and two-tiered goals and tasks, and it also has a calendar, journal, and reports. Progress tracking with Goals Pro supports 1 parameter and adds the interesting concept of having multiple steps towards your goals. Visual motivation can also be added with the SuccessFX Image Pack for $19.95.
8 Goal - http://www.8goals.com
8 Goals is a simple and free Web-based goal management tool. It supports single-tier goals divided into Current, Future and Lifetime categories. It tracks tasks rather than managing them and gives you a percentage of completion as you move towards completing your tasks. It also generates a few progress reports for you.
43 Things - http://www.43things.com
A very interesting product, 43 Things is another free software tool. However, it is more of a motivational resource than a goal management resource. It can be useful for people who struggle to get a few important things done and are looking for encouragement and support from the outside. Using a social media platform, 43 Things enables you to state your goal(s) in a short sentence, write about your progress, and then let a community of other users cheer you on. You may also find people who have similar goals to yours and then help each other out. Furthermore, it offers integration into your Facebook and blogs.
Goals on Track - http://www.goalsontrack.com
This product comes from Vancouver IT Services and is a commercial Web-based product. It’s not cheap--the annual subscription is $68--but it is my personal choice. Compared to other Web-based products, it is one of the most comprehensive packages, supporting goal categories, 2-tiered goals and tasks, time management capabilities, reports, a journal, and a habit builder. Its interactive calendar, where you can create tasks with one click and drag them over into it, is very easy to work with. The biggest visible drawback is a poor performance over the Internet, but I am able to live with it.
Goal Enforcer - http://www.goalenforcer.com
A pretty basic goal management and GUI-based tool by SVT Systems, Goal Enforcer is limited to only one goal at a time. However, it lets you break down the goal into numerous sub-goals with multiple levels. Also, the unique thing about this product is its graphical representation, which may be very attractive and more convenient for right-brain people. Different versions of Goal Enforcer can be purchased at at $1.00, $30.00, and $67.00.
Single Step - http://www.single-step.com
Single Step is a commercial GUI-based product by Self Evident Enterprises priced at $99. This is the most comprehensive goal-management product on the market I have seen so far. It is loaded with multi-level goals, tracking, analysis, motivational tools, and reports. However, I found that all the fancy functions were unfortunately put together without much structure, which made the product a little cumbersome to use. Also, the trial version constantly crashed for me.
Life Tick - http://lifetick.com
The beautiful and commercial Web goal-management product, Life Tick, comes from Meridian 86 for $39.00 a year. First off, its graphical design is outstanding--I haven’t seen anything else that comes close. There are not many features, but all of them are centered around a nicely thought-out philosophy (see the picture above). You start with your core values--your dreams--and then convert your dreams into SMART single level goals before creating an action plan. Every day LifeTick will then bump you with emails and alerts, reminding you to do the work. Finally, it is the only tool with a specialized version for mobile devices. Overall the product looks and feels great, and I would probably use it myself... but 1-level goals are too limiting for my twisted mind.
To end our list, we have two last products:
Goal Buddy - http://www.goal-buddy.com and Goal for It - http://www.goalforit.com
Both very similar, Goal Buddy and Goal for It are web-based and free. They are not too simple nor too comprehensive. There are goals and tasks, some progress and status tracking, reports, and habit builders. If you want something simple, it would be one of these two.
As you can see with all these products, the goal management approach discourages you from using classic to-do lists. Every one of your tasks should be linked to a goal. Otherwise, by doing them without any order or reason, you’ll just be wasting your time. However, if you experience difficulty with transitioning to this new method, many of these products come with a mixture of goal and task-based tools that can help you create to-do lists of a type which are aimed at your goals. I would recommend, though, that you to forget about to-do lists as soon as possible. :)