When it comes to my to-do lists and organizing my tasks, I’m a very meticulous person and consequently it’s been difficult for me to find To-Do list software that can handle what my task management. I’ve used Outlook and Thunderbird’s task management implementations, and I’ve used Google Calendar and my Blackberry as well. And while all of these options do have some winning features, the only program that I’ve come across that handles what I need is My Life Organized (MLO). The reason why, you may ask, is simple. My Life Organized allows me to have a tree-based structure of my tasks and it allows me to organize my tasks and to-do list hierarchically. I’ve done quite of bit of searching and testing of demos, and at this moment I cannot find another product that allows me to organize tasks in this manner. My Life Organized comes in three editions you can compare, and this review is about the Professional Edition (which is the edition I recommend), and you can download a free trial to see if the program meets your needs.
A Replacement for Ecco Pro ?
Some of you out there may remember a program called Ecco Pro. Ecco Pro was advanced for its day, but at is core Ecco Pro was a to-do list management program that allowed you to structure your tasks, and had a great reminder system. I mention Ecco Pro because My Life Organized is the closest program I’ve seen yet that can match what Ecco Pro could do.
Creating Tasks and Folders
Creating tasks and folders for these tasks is easy with MLO. You can use the mouse or the menu as shown below:
You can create a deep level of organization of your task and keep similar tasks grouped together. Personally I like to have one large folder for my clients, and within this client folder I have a single file for each client. I can then, within these client folders, add even more folders to manage individual projects and aspects of these projects.
Similarly, I also have a folder for my personal tasks (dentist/doctor appointment, pay bills, etc), and I have an additional folder for things I need to do but really have no good category (clean the house, fix the car). And while some people may not need that deep a folder structure, I like a tightly-organized tree of my tasks, so MLO fits the bill nicely.
In MLO you can look at your tasks in many ways, including mainly as either as an outline (below) or in a flat to-do list (second image) — also note my folder hierarchy here as an example of how I organize my tasks:
My Life Organized is great because of the abundance of things you can do with your tasks. You can set recurrences (I need to pay X bill every Y days) and you can have MLO set reminders. Note the abundance of recurrence options available:
It’s also easy to set the time needed for a project as well as lead time, if needed. You can also set reminders (which I find very useful):
You can also easily add notes to go along with a task if you want to write something extra to go with the task:
I especially like the fact that when you set due dates, you can look at your list of tasks and see what’s due when. It’s one thing to have a list of tasks, but it makes life a heck of a lot easier when you can get a quick overview of what’s due and when it’s due. Note in the image below that i have the due date for one task listed, and the time until due for another:
And for those of you who complete tasks but like to take a peek into the past, you can have the program with one click show your completed tasks (nicely with a line through them so there’s no confusion if it’s an active task) or just as easily hide these finished items. Note the “Hide completed tasks” option in the two screenshots below and in the one directly below, see that the completed tasks have a line through them:
Project Management and Other Options
My Life Organized is not designed to be a replacement for Microsoft Project or similar project management software. But MLO does have a good set of project management tools incorporated if you need them. Here is an image of the categories of properties for a task:
Something I find very helpful in MLO is the ability to set dependencies; so while I can list the “publish code” task and the “get code from developer #2” task, I can set it up so that “publish code” can’t be completed until “get code from developer #2” has been completed first.
In this properties area notice that I have a task dependency set (bottom right of the image above) as well as the option to set urgency of the task.
MLO also has a powerful search and sorting features built in — in the first image below you can see that you can group tasks for sorting…
while here in the second image you can see I’ve run a filter to see certain tasks:
I’ve looked at a quite a number of To-Do list programs and My Life Organized is my current recommendation. With its easy to use interface, powerful task management, sorting, and project management features, MLO is a value-packed package. But at its core, My Life Organized is task management program that lets you organize your tasks into hierarchies and folders, a feature that I haven’t found in any other product in this price range that’s currently on the market. And in my opinion, for this functionality alone, the Professional Edition — at a reasonable $59.95 — is a terrific value.
Disclosure. I originally approached MyLifeOrganized about writing a review of MyLifeOrganized Pro for Windows. I was given a free license to use the product.