Time Management Monday: Separate planners for work vs personal life?

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Hebdo and miniweek

This is a topic that comes up frequently in my online planner conversations. Should you use a separate planner at work and another for your personal use? Or should you use just one planner for everything?

The answer, as with most things, is: it depends.

There are several situations where you might want or need to use a separate planner for work only. Some professions have security or confidentiality rules that forbid you to take information out of work. Another situation, which I’ve done and is very common, is to use an electronic scheduling system at work that other people can access, and another planner system for your personal life. Some people prefer not to think about work outside of work hours, to help their work/life balance.  If you have a job where your work time is completely separate from your personal time, and you don’t need access to your work schedule outside of work, you can have a separate work planner.

However, as it gets more difficult to delineate work time from personal time, there’s a lot to be said for the one-life-one-planner mindset. Even when you think your work life is separate from your personal life, there are still situations that cross the work/ personal barrier like remembering to iron your best outfit this evening for your big presentation tomorrow, or to leave work early to go to your child’s school event. And there’s always the issue of scheduling doctor or dentist appointments around work schedules.

Over the years, I’ve done both. While working in a big company, we all had to use Outlook for meeting scheduling so I used a separate planner for my personal life. But several years ago while I was working full time, taking classes and applying to graduate school, I had to keep everything visible in one planner so I could schedule everything around each other.

Do you prefer using separate planners for work and personal? Or do you prefer one-life-one-planner?

13 thoughts on “Time Management Monday: Separate planners for work vs personal life?

  1. Ah.. how I would love it if a single planner worked for me. I have tried, but then again – the private nature of things I keep in my life planner do not belong in my work planner at all. I work as a teacher and would rather not have my workout schedule, fertility tracker, expenses and family things etc stand side by side with lesson plans and staff meetings.

    • Charlotte that is an excellent reason to keep your personal planner separate from your work planner! I know people who are lawyers and keep their planners separate due to client confidentiality. I also know folks whose work was classified and had to keep their planners separate too.

  2. Re-visiting this topic a few years later: my workaround is to keep a single diary with all appointments and events in one place with travel times where appropriate. Then I plan my workday and take notes in an A5 bullet journal that stays at work. Personal planning, notes, and tracking as well as the diary stay with me at all times in a mini or pocket Filofax.

  3. Gosh, I’ve tried several times to maintain a separate planner for work and it drives me completely insane! How do people compartmentalise their lives this way? When I try to use two planners, I find that I need to carry and look at both of them all the time, which is an enormous waste of time and effort. I view my days holistically; when I open my planner I want to see everything I need to deal with today. If I need to go to an event after work, that needs to be visible to me all day or I am likely to forget. My best example was when I missed my own graduation (!) because it was written into a personal planner which I did not open until after I got home from work; it had been a busy work day and I ended up staying late at work (not seeing a commitment after work I’d assumed this was fine); went home afterwords, took the dogs out and made a snack, and only then did I open the personal planner to see I had an important event that began well over an hour prior. Really the only times I have “planner fail” are when I am trying to use two planners. I feel completely out-of-control and lost. When I am in one planner, it becomes an extension of my brain and is the perfect tool for the job.

  4. My Work and personal life are separate. Work agendas is kept on the company server in Outlook and I can access them from home through the VPN or from my phone if needed. My personal life is tracked in my Filofax where I doodle, take notes, jot down ideas and keep personal appointments which are few, thank goodness. The Filofax is only about the fun stuff.

    • Susanne how great to have a separate “fun” planner! I’m sure it adds to the enjoyment of looking in it when you know it’s all fun stuff in there.

  5. April, not to muddy the waters for you too much, but Quo Vadis does make looseleaf pages that fit an A5 Filofax (with some hole re-punching). They are from France and are called Timer 21. Steve did a great post awhile back on how he punched the Timer 21 pages to fit his A5 Filofax (here: http://philofaxy.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/alternative-refills-for-your-filofax.html) and then he very generously sent them to me! (Here: http://philofaxy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/quo-vadis-timer-21-a5-filofax-inserts.html) The Quo Vadis Timer inserts are available on the Quo Vadis UK website for worldwide shipping (here: http://www.quovadis-diaries.co.uk/acatalog/Timer_21.html) There are a couple of weekly formats to choose from. In fact I’m thinking of getting the English/ French Prestige version for 2015. Anyway, I hope this helps!

  6. For almost 20 years, one planner only. I frequently take care of personal things during the work day, and often take care of a few work things from home. From an appointment planning standpoint, this is imperative. I don’t want to have to check in two planners to find out if a slot is free for a dental cleaning. I also don’t want to carry two planners around all day, and if I can’t access my personal commitments from work because that planner is at home, then it’s not much use. 🙁

    Just moved back into Filofax after a hiatus of several years, for Levenger’s Circa system. I love Levenger’s paper since I use fountain pens so much, but the disk binding system drives me up a wall. And Filofax paper isn’t so horrible after all, at least used with the pens I have.

    Having other pages and print-outs that I can insert is also paramount. I LOVE Quo Vadis calendars and paper, but it’s not flexible enough for me, bound as it is. You all ever go filler-style (in A5), and I’ll be all over it LOL!

    Moving into a new planner gives me the same happy fuzzies as getting my shiny, new school supplies each August used to. #imageek ;-p

  7. For my own sanity, I do not want to take any work home, and that means even notes in a planner. But, also how I’m using the planner doesn’t make any sense with work related stuff. Instead, I want to start my own business and write full time, so I’m tracking what I’ve done, rather than what to do. I’m trying to think like what the IRS will want to see and keep a record of it.

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