(This is the third in a weekly series about tools for writers. For the rest of the series, go here.)
The title of this gizmo is a bit of a misnomer, because the tool I’m discussing today is accessed online.
I discovered David Seah’s Printable CEO through Lifehacker (a blog that purports to make people more productive but instead sucks time away by making their posts so damned addictive–curse you, Nick Denton) and have been experimenting with it off and on for the last few months. What I’m using these days is Seah’s online, Flash-based task tracker, and I imagine it’d be great for any writer who needs to boost his or her output, destroy writer’s block, or for anyone who bills freelance writing projects by the hour, yet can’t concentrate on one thing for more than 20 minutes at a time (like me).
You fill in the lines on the left with everything you intend to get done and click a bubble for every 15 minutes of work you do. You can set the gizmo to chime every quarter hour, as a reminder to click the next bubble of whatever you’re doing. There’s also a sort of strange experimental “slash” bubble, which is supposed to be used for secondary tasks, but which users have turned into a makeshift “taking a break” bubble, among other things. At the end of the day, hit print, and you’ve got a visual record of what you worked on. Helpful if you need to remember exactly how long you spent on that project before your mind started to wander, or if you’re a procrastinator like me and like breaking projects up into 15-minute chunks to help with “motivation issues.”
The software is in alpha mode (and some users have reported losing data) but doesn’t display any obvious bugs. In fact, I did something silly and navigated away from the page, but when I hit the back button my information was still there. Give it a try!