Managing work/personal Calendars

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Lately I have been asked about how do I manage my Calendars. My system is far from ideal, but turns out to be much better than what many people seem to use.

The problem

  • I want to have separate calendars for personal stuff and work stuff.
  • I don´t want my coworkers to see my personal details but I want to let them know I´ll be busy.
  • I want to let someone else manage my work calendar if needed.
  • I want to have an updated calendar across all my devices. That also means to see/edit/add events using the Cal App on my Mac or my phones (Android and iPhone).

The solution

Tools: Google Calendar for personal use, using Google Apps at work.

TL;DR: Make a work calendar and a personal calendar. Share your personal calendar with your work colleagues as “free/busy”. Share work calendar with your personal email with full access so you can transfer event between calendars.

  1. Personal calendar: Go to the calendar on your personal Google account and make a calendar called “Bruno personal”. Then go to sharing and share it:
    • Share with full rights with your work email.
    • Share as “free/busy” with the coworkers you need. This is the part that scales bad, you need to add them one by one.
  2. Work calendar: Got to the Google Calendar on your work account, create a calendar called “Bruno MapBox”. Go to settings to share it:
    • Share it with your personal email with full rights.
    • Select the option to share full details with all your coworkers.
    • Add whoever should have edit access.
    • Pro tip: The admin of the domain can change the default option across all coworkers to share all details with everyone within the organization.

  3. On your Mac: Set up the accounts, and then go to settings and add, under delegates, the extra accounts you have access to (do not include your personal account on the work calendar or the personal calendar on your work account to avoid duplication). Use consistent colors (in my case I choose red for my stuff and blue tones for work colleagues and team calendars)

  1. On your iPhone/Android: Probably you don´t need to do anything since the settings are mostly inherited from Mac to the iTunes and from Google to Android. Make sure you use the same colors and avoid duplications.

  2. On the web: I like to activate, under labs a few extra options. You can also activate “Tasks” and your (Google) tasks will show up and if they have a deadline they will appear on the calendar. Use consistent colors. If you want you can add the calendars from any colleagues (the admin can activate the option company-wide for work calendars. If not they need to add you manually). Make sure to check the tool “Find a time” under “New appointment”. It allows you add participants and, if you have access to their calendar, you will see if they can make it or not.

  1. If you use Tripit (you should) add it as another calendar to see all your flights, reservations and information from any device.


Now, wherever you are you can create an event on either calendar (directly from your devices or from the web). You´ll see personal and work stuff in different colors. Coworkers will see your work stuff and busy slots when busy with personal events.

[Cover image from t_trace ]

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