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Printable CEO goes online: Color-code and assign points to your tasks

David Seah’s Printable CEO is an effective productivity tool. It allows you to focus on important tasks based on your hierarchy of values. The color-coding and the assignment of points make it easy to decide which tasks to prioritize. The accompanying tasks tracker helps you keep tab on the things you’ve done and the points you’ve earned.

I’ve long wanted to implement online the concept behind the Printable CEO. I’m not very good at doing things on paper, despite the fact that I work for a newspaper. I’ve frequently lost notebooks and pieces of paper containing jottings, notes, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The longest paper-based organizer I’ve kept is my Pocketmod “Sony” edition. I keep a lot of blank Pocketmods in case I need to brainstorm when I’m away from the desk.

I already keep my notes online through ZiddlyWiki and it doesn’t make sense, at least for me, to depend on a paper-based task tracker.

What I did, instead, was to implement the color-coding idea behind The Printable CEO in Backpack by using the Xinha Here! Firefox extension. This Printable CEO/BackPack setup has served me well for months now but I longed for the ability to keep track of the points I’ve accumulated in doing the tasks in my list.

When I read in Lifehacker how Rough Underbelly has implemented an online version of the Printable CEO, I immediately signed up to its free service. The site says it is a free and unsupported service and those running it may charge a small fee in the future but that there will always be a free version.

Rough Underbelly’s service is excellent (screenshot below) and I can see myself using this extensively for my tasks. You can sign points to your tasks based on the hierarchy in the “When is something worth doing?” list of the original Printable CEO.

What’s great about this is that the service tallies your points automatically and then creates a graph for you, in a very pleasant Ruby On Rails environment. The site even has a timer for your tasks.

I just wished that the Rough Underbelly developers would allow users to customize the answers to “When is something worth doing?” I don’t write code or design sites for a living and the answers rated 5 do not make sense to me. I would have wanted to replace these to something like “when it’s a possible banner story, pursue it.”

In the more than a day that I’ve tried this service I’ve: 1.) finally jogged after years of saying to myself to start exercising, 2.) submitted a column that should have been submitted last Monday, 3.) answered an e-mail that should have been sent last week.

And as I publish this, I get another two points after checking the box for “write about Rough Underbelly in blog.”

Manage your tasks with Rough Underbelly

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.