Time management Monday: How to manage to-do lists for work and personal

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Recently I met up with a friend who has just started a big new job. She will be working on multiple projects at once and asked for some advice on how to handle it all.

Her first question was how to manage meeting notes for multiple projects, which I answered in this post.

Her next question was how to manage her many to-do lists. Her work tasks will include tasks that are generated from meetings, tasks for multiple projects, and daily admin. (Despite this being a big exec-level job, this company does not have administrative assistants so she will have to keep up on these items herself.) She has work tasks that need to happen today, this week, in a future day or week, or are longer-term ongoing projects and tasks.

In addition, she needs to keep up on personal tasks daily, weekly, and long-term/ ongoing. She wanted a planner where she could combine work and personal so she can keep everything in view and nothing slips through the cracks.

I recommended she use a Trinote weekly planner, because it has scheduled days with daily spaces for to-do lists and notes, a weekly dashboard for categorized lists, and a booklet in the back for longer-term and ongoing lists.

(You may notice the Trinote gets a lot of love here on Quo Vadis blog. I just think the combination of scheduled days plus daily and weekly task list spaces can’t be beat!)

She can write her daily and weekly tasks in the spaces on that week’s planner page, so she can see what she needs to do and when she has time to do it.

I told her she could separate her personal and work long-term and ongoing tasks lists by adding another booklet to the front of her planner, or if she wants to keep it all in one booklet she can write her personal lists from the front of the booklet and work things from the back.


She ended up buying a Trinote planner and a couple of the Rhodia booklets to add to it.

If you like the layout of the Trinote weekly planner but want a larger version, it’s the Prenote.

You can find the Trinote in the US here, and in the UK (with international shipping) here. The Prenote is available in the US here, and in the UK here.

For the administrative tasks, I referred her to Amanda’s idea of “mosquitoes” that I wrote about in this post. Mosquitoes are those small annoying tasks that build up if not taken care of. I advised her to set aside some time each week to take care of these so they don’t become overwhelming, or worse, suddenly become urgent.

How do you manage your work and personal tasks?

2 thoughts on “Time management Monday: How to manage to-do lists for work and personal

  1. How would you keep track of what’s personal/work on the same page? Using different colors? This is what always keeps me from using a single planner but using two isn’t really working…
    Another question, would you add a daily to this setup?

    • Hi Erika! Yes color coding is a great way to see work and personal on the same page. I use a 4-color click pen and use black ink for work and blue ink for personal. (In addition I use green ink for exercise/ health, and I circle urgent things in red.)

      In the past I have tried using a daily with my weekly planner. The only way I got it to work was if I did all my actual planning in the weekly planner, then used a daily (either a dated page per day planner, or a notebook/ bullet journal) to map out today only, take notes, etc. If I tried to write future appointments in both the weekly and daily, the system quickly broke down as things slipped through the cracks.

      I hope this helps!


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