LifeShaker I am so insanely inundated with work that I was happy to see we had a review for a different approach to task lists and reminders. LifeShaker’s approach is to avoid the list-based approach, in favor of grids and boxes. There are color coded categories, which are assigned to goals. The largest area of the app is a 3×3 grid, what I call the shaker grid, where curent goals are shown. If none of the boxes sound like fun to do, click the shaker icon and 9 different goals are shown.

Goals have tasks associated with them, though I found that I never needed this amount of granularity for a goal. Perhaps it is just my style of work but I found myself writing tasks to complete as my goals, and even if they required multiple action items I didn’t need need to store them.

I’ll cut right to the chase, this isn’t a must have application. It does its job well and there isn’t a lot to the application, which in some ways is a strong point. It’s the first version, so I am taking that into consideration for the review.

The LifeShaker interface doesn’t have the Mac experience at all. The uniqueness of the interface is actually a bit of a throw back right away because it feels more like a Java application than a Cocoa/Mac application. Using a full 1/3 column just for categories seems a bit too much when this space would’ve been better suited for the long list of goals a user would enter. Which is the next point, that the goals list was a bit unintuitive for assigning a category to a goal. There is no interface function for it, and just out of pure curiosity I right-clicked on the category column to set it.

Doing this however, exposed a bug that caused the interface to look like this:
Life Shaker Bug
This made me have to completely close the application in order to get it to look correct once again.

I gave the application a good solid two week run, and found it had a few issues. On occasion it would freeze when the Macbook Pro was waking up from sleep. I questioned that it might be a problem with Mac OS X, but this occurred on 10.4 and 10.5.

LifeShaker has some polish and work to do. Without integration into iCal or Mail, the idea of manually entering my tasks and goal information into yet another GTD application is no fun at all. It is another goal on top of a pile of many uncompleted goals. Coupled with the interface bugs and the departure from the Mac interface experience, I have to say it is easy to pass on this application for what is now included with 10.5’s Mail and iCal applications. LifeShaker is $29 and has a free 14 day trial.

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