Ideas for compartmentalizing Work and Personal

has anyone figured out how to manage Work and Personal databases gracefully?

  1. I am a multi-year user of Omnifocus and have a loose GTD system that I trust and that works for me.
  2. My biggest point of friction is that I want to have ONE system that spans both personal and work.
  3. I have a work Macbook, and I do not want to store any personal items on it.
  4. I have a personal Macbook, iPad, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch
  5. I am okay if my work items show on my personal devices, but NOT vice-versa

Has anyone found a way to address this? The lack of a solution has me using Asana for work, and it’s problematic for me to have to juggle two systems.

Here are other examples I have working:

  1. Evernote: I pay for 2 accounts, one personal and one work. The Evernote client on my Work laptop is only connected to my work evernote account, so never downloads any personal notes. The client on my personal laptop is connected to both my personal account and my work account.

  2. Asana. I have a personal login and a work login. Same configuration, on my work laptop I only see my work account, but on my personal device I can see both.

  3. Fantastical. I have the client configured to only download work calendars on my work laptop. On my personal laptop, I sync everything work AND personal.

I think my desired end state would be similar to Evernote. I’d pay for two Omnifocus accounts, and be able to see them together on my personal devices.

I’m curious if anyone has found an approach to this that they feel works well for them.

I do this myself (for test data vs. my real data), and the easiest solution today is to run two copies of OmniFocus, e.g. the Mac App Store download and the direct Omni download. You can use the same Omni Account to unlock both copies (you don’t have to purchase twice), but sync each copy of the app with two different sync locations. (I use advanced sync settings to pick a WebDAV server for one of my sync locations, but you could also just use a separate Omni Account for syncing the data you’d like to segregate.)

As we look ahead towards collaboration support in OmniFocus 4.x, we’ll be adding support for sharing projects with teams. This would let you share your work projects between your work and personal systems, while keeping your personal projects (or highly sensitive work projects) separate.


I think I’m possibly moving off using OmniFocus for work projects at the moment (not because of any issue the app itself, but just because it’s a Windows work environment etc. complicates things, I’m duplicating things in other systems, and I’m trialling a more analogue BuJo-esque system), but until now I’ve had a separate ‘work’ log-in on my laptop just for OmniFocus with a separate syncing account as Ken suggests.

But it never occurred to me to use two different versions of the app and that may well be a better solution.

thanks @kcase I wasn’t aware I could configure a second download that way, so will start with that.

the vision you share for sharing projects in 4.x is encouraging. This would allow me to standardize my workflow as well if these features come to market. it would also allow me to expand my use case from Persona, to Work, to Family collaboration.

Your points 3 and 5 exclude my solution: one life, one database. Simple.

I wish 'twere an option. I won’t store deeply personal e.g. family medical items on hardware managed by my company.

Fair enough. I don’t have anything like that in OF.

In my last job, where I couldn’t add personal software to my work computer, I used my iPad and ran OmniFocus on that. While I had to have my work laptop and my iPad on my desk, it worked great.

1 Like

perhaps this is helpful advice for folks esp struggling with executive function.

but, this is really far off point from the topic of this post. This was a question about how to, in the Omnifocus App, maintain a system for work and also a system for personal, and how to manage what data gets downloaded onto what devices.

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.