Managing my calendar workwise and personally – this is how I’m trying to do it

So I have an iPhone and work with calendars on a daily basis so I’m constantly looking for new ways to work with them. For a long time I have been pondering the separation of calendar usage between my work and private life. Ideally they should be separate but viewable together. Up to now I haven’t really found a solution that worked and have been using my Notes calendar for everything using it both from my Notes client and my portable device (aka cellphone). The main problem with that was that there was no easy way to allow my wife, family or others to peek into my calendar on an adhoc basis. I know there’s stuff like Tungle but lets face it – it’s still in beta and it will be some time before it’s Wife certified… 🙂

As of yesterday I think I have the solution though.

Part of Notes 8 is how easy it is to federate calendars into the product calendar by adding either iCal, Google calendars or the like into the calendar using calendar overlays (much has been written about that so Google away if you need more info). I have been perfectly happy with my current setup (using my Notes calendar and Lotus Traveler for everything) up to now but using an iPhone finally pushed me over the edge. The reason? Well there is no way to mark an appointment on the iPhone as private. It does however have the concept of multiple calendars. Whether that’s a shortcoming in the iPhone I’ll leave up to you.

However much I like my colleagues I don’t think they necessarily should have the possibility to see, or be burdened with, what I’m doing on my own time so not being able to mark appointments from the iPhone as private has been an issue for me. When I created appointments on my iPhone (during my weekly calendar sync with my paper-calendar using wife) I had to remember to edit the appointments afterwards in Notes and set the private flag which was cumbersome and a hassle. Plus forgetting it made me ripe for ridicule from my colleagues when they saw what my wife made me agree to!

Yesterday I decided to do something about it and investigated it again. I moved my private calendar to my Google calendar after discussing it on Twitter with members of the community incl. Per Henrik Lausten (who is also my new McDaddy and Mac pusher). Now I’m using CalDAV to federate/sync my Google calendar to my iPhone. My Notes calendar is already there using Lotus Traveler and appointments are easily distinguishable as work appointments are in red and private appointments are in blue. In my Notes calendar I simply use a calendar overlay to display my private calendar alongside my work calendar using the same color scheme. My private calendar is even available offline by checking a box – does it get any sweeter? For me it’s as near to perfect as seems possible now.

I want to thank the community on Twitter for pointing me in the right direction. If you want to see how to configure CalDAV on your iPhone I suggest ‘How to Sync Google Calendar With iPhone Calendar‘ as an easy way to get started. Happy Friday!