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If you’re looking for planning software, you have no shortage of choices, though having specific needs can help narrow things down; for instance, are you managing product development or a chain of restaurants? If it’s personal planning software you’re after, have a look at Pathways Planner from Freelance Wizards. It can help you set, work toward, and achieve your personal and family goals, including financial planning, time management, and estimating progress toward planned outcomes. The program’s methodology emphasizes goal setting and rational decision-making processes. Pathways is free for personal use, but you have to register to continue using it past its 30-day trial period.
Pathways’ installation process finished with our choice of a tutorial or the Help manual; we chose the tutorial, which demonstrates the program’s basic functions as well as its Life Planner features. The program’s interface is unique and colorful but not especially intuitive. Its three basic parts are the Planning Grid, the To do list and calendar, and Reports and Help. The Main Planning Grid includes color-coded entries for three individuals, though you can add others. Pathways encourages you to include others in your goal-setting, such as family members, business partners, and others whose success and happiness multiply your own. Once we’d entered names, we set a time scale by selecting Era on the Edit menu. This let us define specific date ranges, with multiple options. Pathways offers wizards for bank transactions, bond setups, and for creating new plans from templates. At every step, helpful balloon tips appeared to tell us what to do next (or what we’d just done wrong). Pathways also offers an Advanced Mode that adds extras such as a calculator. Pathways has many extras: Address Book, Alarm Clock, Report Viewer, and Idea for Today (an inspirational tip). Pathways offers many reporting and filtering options, too.
Two concepts are important to Pathways Planner: Outcomes and Paths. Without getting too deep into it, an Outcome involves at least one person, one era, and one motive to calculate, while Paths depend upon the creation of Outcomes. It sounds esoteric, but don’t be mistaken: Pathways Planner helps you handle realities as concrete as your bank transactions and life insurance.