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I am currently planning my life in a text-based format, like this:

  1. Yearly goals. Doesn't include concrete action steps.
  2. Monthly goals: Specific action steps associated with the goals from (1).
  3. Daily goals: A few action steps from (2).
  4. A backlog of action steps. These are actions I could take in the future.

This text-based system works well. But I'd like to do more things, which are not possible with that:

  • Linking action steps and goals ("Which action steps did I complete on that goal?")
  • Timetracking and statistics ("How much time did I spend on this goal?")
  • Search for past action steps ("What did I do in March of 2012?")
  • Organizing and searching through the backlog with tags.

Is there any software that does all of the above? It has to be Desktop, no web application. Can be commercial or free.

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10 Answers 10

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It seems like you need a relatively simple program that is completely tailored to what you want it do to. Don't we all? ;-)

I would thus suggest either programming it yourself (if you are a little proficient in any programming language it should take very little time because it is so simple), or asking someone you know to program it for you.

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Emacs org-mode ( ) does all what you want (and much more).

It is also text-based (like your current approach), but much more powerful, as it lets you

  • create an hierarchical structure of goals / projects / tasks
    that lets you group tasks below the projects and goals they belong to
  • assign start or due dates to any "heading" in this hierarchy
  • timetracking (called clocking) for individual headings (tasks/projects/goals) and summing up the time spent for a whole tree with clock tables
  • search for past action steps on a certain day can be done with a custom agenda view which lists all tasks that were clocked in or scheduled for a certain day/week/...
  • search and organize backlogs - easy with tags and custom searches
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Try my Portable Kanban. It's kanban-based, desktop app & free. Seems quite close to your requirements.

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I have tested Kanbantool yesterday evening... And I have been really pleased. Straigthforward application and online availability.

I have also tried Portable Kanban as @Dimitry proposed in his answered. And I find it really usefull.

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I recommend you use Trello for this. You can create a board for your goals with a list per time-period (for example "yearly goals", m"monthly boards"...) You can also create a board per week for example with default ToDo, Doing, Done or whatever lists in it. You can fully search in Trello. Also use labels. For time-tracking and much more I recommend you use the Plus for Trello Chrome extension.

The big advantage of Trello is its flexibility: you can adapt, organize the board/list/labels/ tags structure to fit your personal needs.

Give it a try and I am quite sure you will like it. You can find also a lot of reference in the Internet how it can be used.

For Team Goal Planning I am using Workflowy: it may also suffice for your approach. You can also search, use tag, strike-through etc but it is not a Board-like approach. You have every thing in one file but you can zoom-in. It is also really powerfull. You can also share part of your Workflowy. A different approach but also VERY powerful. There is no time-tracking feature in it.

Both tools are FREE :-)

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But the original poster specifically said desktop application, no web apps. Trello and Workflowy, are both web based. Downvoting for not answering the question asked. – Dennis S. Jul 30 '14 at 12:22

i am the big fan of manual organization stuff . i think that these two things combined will cover most of your requirements davidseah and 43folders.(you can use the templates in the davidseah blog in the 43 folders) just go over it and see if it suits you

About 43 folders

''This means there are 31 folders, labeled 1 to 31, one for each day. There are 12 folders labeled with the months. These sit in a small plastic folder holder from Office Depot. The result is a "circular" buffer where I can put reminders. I've got itineraries for trips I've got scheduled in March, I've got reminders like 'Buy furnace filter." This is a place I check daily to be reminded of something. When the day folder is empty, I move it to the back and it becomes a day in the next month. ''

helpfull1 helpfull2 45 folders

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check out (it's flexible and you can tag items with the goal you are trying to achieve)

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for desktop, you can try EfficientPIM

The functions they offer quite close to your needs. Hope it helps

share|improve this answer ( meets most of your requirements.

It is based on an outline style view so it a good ability to handle top level goals all the way down to your next action steps. (see picture below)

You can also do tags and search / filter on those tags along with quite a few other features of course.

Good luck in your search!

enter image description here

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Check out

enter image description here(make sure to activate the Vision page to get long term goals and mission statement.)

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