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

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5 responses

  1. Cool! Have you tried the d3 (The kinkless wiki) GTD System for the PC? It beats GTD Tiddlywiki!

    Check it out at

  2. Taorist,
    I haven’t tried the kinkless system. With wiki types of organization, I prefer a server-side solution because I lost a lot of data trying to synch different versions in my home PC and office computer. thanks for the link, I might look into it one of these days but I see myself using Rough Underbelly more. For notes, I’ve already decided on ZiddlyWiki, I even used it to host data in my experiment on open source reporting where people I interview get access to the notes and to the draft of the article.

    For lists, I’ve decided on a .txt file format using the K750i as repository.

    Have you read the GTD prayer at

    Here it is:

    Our lifehacks, which art in contexts,
    Inbox zero be thy aim.
    Thy Kinkless done.
    Thy Mind Sweep fun, in @work as it is in @honeydo.
    Give us this day our next action.
    And forgive us our open loops, as we forgive those who delete our email.
    And lead us not into web surfing.
    Deliver us from IM.
    For thine is the Moleskine, the Project and the Due Date
    For someday/maybe,

  3. Yeah read it through the yahoogroups. LOLZ!!

    Looks suspiciously like this one:

  4. Thanks for the review of my site!

    Several people have requested the ability to define their own point values. I’ll be adding that feature in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

  5. Perfect pages… tnx

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