Attention procrastinators: Achieve-IT! from Pocket PC Addict promises to help you achieve all your goals, great and small. I count myself as a member of the aforementioned group, so I was anxious to give the program a try. The concept behind Achieve-IT! is that you load your goals into a database, and then expand, sort, and prioritize them. Then you list the steps necessary to achieve your goals, and set target dates to achieve them.
In order to make good use of this program, you need to be able to brainstorm. To help you block out extraneous thoughts, the program offers a list of four relaxation sounds (Ocean, Rainfall, Crackling Fire, and Rainforest) that play in the background. At first, this seems a little corny, and with the poor sound quality of my PDA’s built-in speaker they all sounded like radio static. However, after a while my ears adjusted to the effects, and it was soothing.
The program leads you through the process in orderly fashion. In the first segment, Vision, you enter all the goals you can imagine in four categories (Personal, Money, Family and Spiritual). The program’s authors say that at its core, any goal will break down to one of these categories. I guess that is true, but some of my goals seemed to fit into more than one of the groups. I don’t think it matters where you put your goal; the idea of the categories is to help you come up with ideas.
The second section, Order, allows you to place the goals in priority order. You see the complete list, and you can move goals up or down by highlighting them and clicking on the large up or down arrows.
In the Refine module, you have an opportunity to reword the goals. This section also has tabs that allow you to list the benefits of achieving each goal, as well as the obstacles you may have to overcome.
Define is a segment that allows you to break out each goal into separate steps. The number of steps you can choose is unlimited, although the programmers suggest that a well-defined goal should not have more than about 6 steps (I agree). You can highlight each of the steps and use the program to create a task in Outlook. However, you have to switch to Outlook if you want to assign priorities, due dates, etc. to the tasks.
Under Plan, you take the list of goals and assign each a due date for its completion, but not for the individual steps along the way. In this section you can have the program create either a task or a calendar date in Outlook.
Once you have finished entering all the information, you can click on a clipboard icon and list all your goals in one place. Clicking on a goal brings up a “plan of action” indicating the actualization date, benefits of achievement, steps to goal completion and potential pitfalls. In this view each step to completion has a checkbox , which when marked, will delete that step. Note that deleting a step in the action plan does not automatically mark it as completed in Outlook.
Overall, I liked this program. Of course, one could get the same result using slips of paper, spreadsheets or even a full-fledged database. The advantage of this program is its simplicity, and the way it leads you through the process. Goal planning, like doing your taxes or weeding the garden, needs to be done but we often put it off because it is a tedious process. This program takes away some of the pain, the same way that Turbotax gets me through the months of March and April. I found the graphics and layout to be cute without being gaudy. The one beef I had was not being able to put in dates for individual steps in addition to the main goals, as well as the lack of total synchronization with Outlook. One other note: when you install the program, you are asked if you want to install three Microsoft programs in addition to Achieve-IT!:
Microsoft .NET Compact Framework
Microsoft SQLCE 2.0
Microsoft SQL Client
There was nothing in the download/installation instructions about this, although the programs appear to be necessary in order to run Achieve-IT! I think this issue should be addressed upfront in the download instructions.
Follow up Review by Henry Lloyd
What I like:
You and I know that definiteness of purpose is the starting point for accomplishment and without it 98 out of 100 people do not achieve success. We also know we need to write down our goals and follow some logical process to achieve them. This inexpensive program makes the process easy.
Achieve-It has a very good flow to its setup. It allows you to randomly name goals, put them in order, refine them, develop a plan, and clearly define the steps you will take to reach them. It partitions goals into personal, financial, family, and spiritual categories. It has a great help section and get this there are four-music themes to choose from. You can actually listen to Ocean, fireplace, light rain, or rainforest background music while you work. This music can even continue to play when you go to another application. You can whistle while you work on your life’s dreams.
What I do not like:
I entered the serial number and set up a very detailed goal format only to return to the program later to find that the serial number and the goals were gone. This happened on several occasions. Hopefully I can resolve this issue before my goal is to delete this program.
This program is a lot of fun and makes setting goals an easy process, I’d buy one for a friend.
Achieve-It can be purchased from the Handango/bargainPDA.com Software store for $19.95