Life Balance 4.1 for Mac - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Life Balance for Mac

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 10

  • 1.0 stars

    "Move on to OmniFocus..."

    November 22, 2007  |   By mcoad

    Version: Life Balance 4.0.3

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    An upgrade to Life Balance is a rare event indeed, as many faithful long-time users have grown tired of complaining (and not just for the sake of it, as suggested below, but because of the appâ??s all too evident shortcomings). But, folks, adding Apple Scripting, Spotlight searching and a few minor interface tweaks is really not a true upgrade. In fact, it looks very much like the evasion of an upgrade, simply throwing the task of improvement back on the user. Itâ??s also hard not to see the timing as a rather feeble response to the first truly serious alternative to LB: the Omni Groupâ??s superb new OmniFocus.

    Itâ??s great that there are still users who are delighted with LB. Power to you and read no further. From long ago when I began using it I too remember it as a stimulation to thinking through priorities and getting aspects of life, well, into balance. The pie-chart and the automatic shifting of priorities among tasks to reflect goals was an attractive idea. But in daily use, when the pie chart fades very much into the background and you want to get on with the practical business of organizing your time and projects, I - like many other users - became increasingly frustrated with the appâ??s truly dreadful, utterly un-Mac-like, interface, its awkward data entry, its quirky decisions about priorities, the difficulty of tweaking the order of tasks once the app had decided their order, and the persistent refusal of the developers to fix any of these obvious problems despite growing annoyance among users.

    What kept me with it was the lack of alternatives. There are many to-do list apps around, but none that allow this degree of project planning (short of the massive overkill of large project management apps aimed at multi-person situations). Now, however, there is, and itâ??s a cracker: OmniFocus. If you share these frustrations with LB, do yourself a favour and check it out. It is superb, elegant, flexible, intuitive, cleanly designed, a joy to use - everything that LB could be, but isnâ??t. All it lacks compared with LB is the overt emphasis on self-help introspection - the pie-chart, etc. But in fact it serves this function perfectly, too.

    If you truly need your computer to let you know when you should be setting aside your work to spend time on some other aspect of your life, and donâ??t have problems with the interface, then stick with LB. Otherwise you owe it to yourself to check out OmniFocus, especially as it is on offer at half price in beta. When itâ??s released in January it will cost the same as LB.


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  • 5.0 stars

    "A Great Program"

    November 22, 2007  |   By sscheaffer

    Version: Life Balance 4.0.3

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    I just had to say something. I have been using LB for a very long time. It is a gentle program. I started using it during a time of great stress and could really not afford $99. I also could not understand the price. I soon felt it was well worth it. In the beginning when an appointment was overdo it would say "oops." To my unhappiness it now says "overdo." Only the things that you need to be involved in shows up.... you make the choices, and as you get nearer to something the color of it's label changes. It is so simple but yet so powerful. I admit I really do not understand or use much of the pie chart balance part (to much stress) but the to-do section is wonderful. You need to use this program to understand that in it's simplicity it offers a reliable and powerful way to work. It was GTD long before the word was coined. Yes there are many things that I might like to see in it but the fact that it doesn't get updated every other day is a testament to the intelligence of it's creators. Their support is great and they are nice people

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Fantastic program if it's right for you"

    July 15, 2006  |   By lworth02

    Version: Life Balance 3.2.7

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    I'm a very happy LifeBalance user (Mac, soon branching to Treo as well) for GTD. If you're willing to put the time in to get it set up and to maintain it, it pays off. That cost is substantial, however -- in particular, the entry is incredibly clunky (no keyboard shortcuts, multiple screens), so it takes much longer than it ought to to input tasks and the necessary info. The reason you have to input the info. in the various screens is that otherwise, you end up with a HUGE list of tasks that are not usefully sorted. I think that inputting task, priority and place are essential to making it useable, and you need effort, too, if you want to take advantage of the pie chart features. If you are willing to deal with all of that, however, it delivers things that no other application on any platform can. At least IMHO. The free trial is perhaps less than useful than many claim, because of the large start-up costs involved. Instead, I would recommend surfing around the llamagraphics site, particularly the forums, to see how other people are using it.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "The most glacially updated program in the history..."

    July 12, 2006  |   By ted_pearlman

    Version: Life Balance 3.2.7

    Summary

    ...of computing.
    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    This is a decent program. The concept is great. However, the implementation looks like a mock-up for an application, not a real, released piece of software. The palette for entering outline item data, for instance, looks like it was thrown together in a few hours, and since Life Balance came out, the palette has basically remain amateurish and unchanged. A good, small, Mac application, on the other hand, with a single committed developer, like Tao, has a nice, steady, committed, flowing stream of updates. Life Balance, contrastingly, which I believe has a development "team," has the single, most glacial release schedule in the history of computing. Seriously, if you got the chair people for all of the great university computer science departments around the world together for a conference and tasked them with figuruing out how to update a program more slowly than Life Balance is updated, I don't think they could do it.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "A great program for organizing one's life"

    June 29, 2006  |   By beirne

    Version: Life Balance 3.2.6

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    I've been using Life Balance for years, first on the Palm, then Windows, and now the Mac. I have found it to be an excellent program to keep track of what I need to do and what I need to do next.

    There are several ways in which Life Balance works with tasks. It is not necessary to do all of them, and in fact I don't. I still find it to be invaluable for task management.

    1. Balancing your life: You create tasks in outline form. The top level of the outline can be set up to divide the major parts of your life, such as home and work. As you create each task you do so under its appropriate realm and you indicate the effort required to complete the task. Then later on you can look at a pie chart to see where your activity is occurring and compare it against a chart showing how you want it to be. While getting one's life balanced is the main goal of the progrsm, I don't make the effort to figure out how much effort each task takes. I use other means to balance my life.
    2. Prioritize tasks: Because tasks are entered into an outline they are arrange in a hierarchical fashion. When you add a task you can to indicate its importance to the entry above it in the outline. This is a very powerful feature. Say you are working on two projects, remodelling the bathroom and paying your income taxes for the year. Both would be set up as a set of tasks under their own node in the outline. Some remodelling tasks are more important than others, though. It is probably more important to call the contractor than it is to determine what kind of toilet paper holder you want. By setting the importance for each of those two tasks you can make sure that calling the contractor shows up higher in the list. You can also do this at a higher level, though. Knowing that taxes are more important than remodelling, you can indicate that taxes are essential to your home life and remodelling somewhat less. This pushes all remodelling tasks down a bit so you are reminded to do your taxes first. Scheduling: Tasks could also have deadlines included in them. In the case of income tax you could put April 15 as the deadline at the top income tax node and it will be inherited by all tasks below it. If you want to make sure the federal taxes are done in March but can wait until the 15th of April you can do that too. Setting a schedule for a task overrides any setting it would inherit. You can also have a task occur regularly, so if you want to vacuum once a week you can say that.

      You can also say that a series of tasks must be performed in order. This is a major feature that helps limit your visible todo list to tasks that actually make sense to do at that time.

      Finally, you can enter appointments into Life Balance and have them scheduled at an exact time. This is helpful if you are using the balance feature I described above, but I don't really use this feature very much.

    3. What you can do now: When entering a task you can say where it would take place. This is separate from it's location in the outline that I described above. LB has a list of places that you can add to or modify. In my case some of my places include Outdoors, CallsHome, and ComputerHome. I have another place called Home Actions. Home Actions is defined to include the three other places. So if it is a sunny day and I want to get some outdoor work done I tell the todo list to just show outdoor tasks. If I' m at home and don't know what I want to focus on, I can have the todo list show all home tasks, whether outdoors, on the computer, or whatever. Also, you can indicate in each place what time it is open. That way if you look at your task list after dark you won't see the outdoor tasks and if you have tasks to run errands you won't see them when the store is closed.
    I'm a big fan of the Getting Things Done system by David Allen and one of its key rules is that when seeing a task list you should only see tasks that are actually possible to do at that moment. Between the ability to put tasks in a sequence and arrange them by place I have been able to achieve that. Looking at a task list and having to filter out the tasks mentally that don't apply makes the list less inviting to use because it adds to the dread. Seeing a smaller list of only the things that makes sense helps deal with some of the psychological aspects of being productive. Combined with the hierarchical method of setting priorities, I can make very quick decisions about what to do next.

    Having said all this, there are things I wish the program could do:

    • I wish there was a popup calendar for entering dates like the Windows version has.
    • I wish it was possible to do more navigation without using the mouse. I find myself wishing that a lot on the Mac anyhow, though.
    • I really, really wish I didn't have to save my tasks file when exiting Life Balance. While one can have multiple task files, the program doesn't work like a word processor or spreadsheet. You generlly want to enter your tasks and be done with it. This mainly annoys me when rebooting, which gets interrupted by a prompt asking if I want to save my tasks to a file. The only mitigating factor here is tha there is a mechanism that saves tasks in the background so that if the computer crashes you can restore your tasks and not lose anything. I would prefer that that be the way the program works in general, though, without requiring me to save the file myself.
    There is one other important feature. Life Balance runs on the Mac, Palm, and Windows and the data synchronizes between them all. This way I can manage my tasks in one program and have them with me wherever I go.

    Life Balance is expensive and like at least one other reviewer here I have complained about the cost to Llamagraphics. The program has been so effective at showing me just what I need to do right then and setting priorities that I have been willing to pay the price. I recommend it highly.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "One-trick pony"

    April 2, 2006  |   By chrisweuve

    Version: Life Balance 3.2.6

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    If you want to use Life Balance EXACTLY as described on the developer's website, then it's a great app. But it has virtually NO configuration options.

    Two quick examples:
    1) So, say you want to create a "Place" called Projects, so you can list all of your projects separately. Sorry, can't do that -- only the LOWEST level task on any branh of the tree can be displayed on your To Do list.

    2) So, say you want to change the header or the footer on a printout, or get rid of the color coded bar, or change the columns display in the printout. Sorry -- can't do any of those things.

    The worst part is that most of the irritating attributes seem to "features." It's not so much what the app can't do, it's what the designer decided that it **shouldn't** do.

    I've probably spent 20 hours mucking with this thing over the past month, on top of the twenty hours I spent a year or so ago the last time I tried to use it. I'm forced to do all sorts of workarounds (like dummy entries and WRITING OUT TO DO LISTS BY **HAND**) to get even basic usefulness out of it.

    So, if your vision of a productivity app matches the developer's, it's a great choice. If it doesn't match exactly, it's extremely frustrating.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Finally found the Life Balance KILLER! :)"

    January 6, 2006  |   By kenbotwinick

    Version: Life Balance 3.2.6

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    I've been using Life Balance for about four years now. It never improved. EVER. All of the suggestions that were posted to their forums were ignored.

    Well I've finally found the Life Balance KILLER! I've found the app that we all wanted Life Balance to be. It's called MyLifeOranized. Find it at http://www.mylifeorganized.net/.

    It's only for the PC, but I have a PC laptop and IT'S WORTH IT! I only found it tonight and I have a lot of playing around to do. But I've already used their conversion tool to import my Life Balance outline, so I'm already up and running with my live data.

    Do yourself a favor. Check it out. It really is everything I wanted Life Balance to be... Now if they would just make a Mac version someday...

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  • 3.0 stars

    "avoid software with slow development"

    August 25, 2005  |   By puppykrusher

    Version: Life Balance 3.2.6

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    LifeBalance is a brilliant product at its core, the creators seem to be smart, creative people, and they have created a great tool.

    That said, if you're considering LifeBalance then you also need to consider the lack of product updates. Consider the lack of desktop integration -- nearly every app for Mac these days offers iCal integration, Address Book lookups for contacts, .Mac syncing, etc. Consider the bulky, confusing UI that hasn't been updated in years. In fact the only thing that does get updated is the Palm client for this, which really is the target audience.

    So, this may seem like whining about details, but I don't mean it that way. When a user changes his/her entire method of production around an application, that user expects the application to grow with the platform, to include new technologies, etc. LifeBalance doesn't, and it's very disappointing. Maybe people who only use Palm devices find it very useful. If you're using it on a desktop, it's just frustrating.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Almost Perfect"

    July 21, 2005  |   By cr

    Version: Life Balance 3.2.5

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    Life Balance 3.2.5 for OSX review.

    Well, my 30 day trial is up. It's such a great, smart program. People on the job asked me to review it as a potential productivity tool for the company.

    Why I want to use Life Balance:
    Palm Desktop was perfect. Unfortunately it hasn't changed since I started using it five years ago (aside from a new splash logo & ported to OSX). iCal has diligently been adding lots of integrated functionality I didn't know I needed, & now I rely on it all. Basically iCal has surpassed Palm Desktop in every way except the one function that is most important to me, the To-Do List. A few other things in iCal fall short but mainly the To-Do List. The iCal shared calendars have now crept into our business workflow so I've had to use both Palm Desktop & iCal. I'm tired of using both apps. With OS 10.4, the integration with Spotlight & .mac is incredible. So Life Balance is perfect. In theory Life Balance will compliment iCal in a way that I get the best of all worlds.

    What is good about it:
    So I shouldn't spend any time really on why this program is so great. Just read the description. It does all that. An outline, brilliant. Importance slider, brilliant. The list dictated by locations & times, brilliant. Syncs & integrates with everything, great.

    There are some big problems though. Things I hope can be easily fixed for the next version. Here's my list of what keeps me from buying this app, I'll try to do it in order of importance.

    The bad:
    1. Interface design. On my 15 inch laptop screen (Most people have screens larger than 15 inches), Life Balance takes up 2/3 of the screen, I can stretch it to full screen but it doesn't really show me more information. The window is divided into three sub-windows. THERE ARE 11 TABS! It takes too long to do anything in Life Balance because you have to dip in & out of multiple tabs. Many of the tabs seem empty with only one or two fields in them. Please consolidate the fields in the tabs. Try to allow each tab to hold the maximum amount of controls, eliminating tabs. Increase the main window by 33%, that would add a second full list view or two task/month views, eliminating tabs. The more information displayed on the screen at one time, the faster you can use the program & schedule your life.

    2. No ability to select & apply info to multiple tasks. When I have a group of mp3s in iTunes that need a field changed, I select all of them or some of them. Then I change the genre to "Electronic" & then I have 100 mp3s with the genre "Electronic". In Life Balance you can only select one task at a time. If I have ten tasks that share a deadline that's pushed back; I need to change the due date on ten different tasks one at a time, that's no good. When I did my first import of To-Dos into Life Balance, there were 100 birthdays & I wanted them all in a "Birthday" folder. I had to create the folder & instead of selecting 100 tasks; I had to drag & drop 100 tasks, 100 times into the folder. What a waste of my time. (Yes, I realize there are fancy workarounds as you become more fluent you can map Palm categories into subfolders & group tasks under an umbrella folder with a deadline but no, just let me apply info to multiple tasks please. It's fast.)

    3. I found the fastest most intuitive way to schedule a task is: Task > Time > By Calendar. You just drag the task into the visual calendar & it's set. So easy. Why can't we set everything that way? Use this fast approach to set dates that don't need to sync with the calendar. How about we set the lead time this way too. That would be so fast. I guess my problem is with the difficult "Date" entry fields. I was coming up on the end of a month & needed to schedule something one week away. So I clicked the "day" field and hit the up key seven times. But it didn't change the month field so it came back around to the beginning of the month I was in... in the past. This was relatively easy to do the math & fix but once you start scheduling things months & years away, the math gets more difficult & takes too long. Takes too long plus I have this fancy computer here to do math for me.

    Conclusion:
    I fully accept that Life Balance takes awhile to set up for the first time. That makes sense to me: take the time to set it up in the beginning, it starts learning & will from there on generate sensible lists. It really does becomes this personal assistant that helps you out to achieve your goals. In the current version of Life Balance it takes too long to do just about everything. Simple changes in the graphical user interface could solve just about every problem that keeps me from purchasing this app. I am not recommending Life Balance 3.2.5 to my supervisor as a productivity tool for our department until the layout is more intelligent & fosters quick information entry.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Get control of your life with Life Balance"

    May 6, 2005  |   By Burbank

    Version: Life Balance 3.2.6

    Summary

    This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
    It takes a bit of time to understand the philosophy of Life Balance. But it is time well spent. Life Balance is an EXCELLENT way to manage the long lists of what you want to accomplish. It is far more than a to-do list manager. Take the time to read the Life Balance â??Advice Bookâ??. Try the demo. I use the OS X and Palm OS versions and they sync beautifully.

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