Use a Spreadsheet for Paid Time Off (PTO) Planning

Atomic Object provides a competitive paid time off (PTO) benefit. I personally really value time off from work and am grateful that we have this benefit in place.

Over the past few years, I’ve gotten into the habit of planning out my yearly PTO for the following year during the week before New Year’s Eve.

This has been a great exercise for me for a few key reasons.

  • My work calendar tends to fill up quickly, and I find it smart to mark my anticipated days out early. Updating my calendar helps me protect my time.
  • The act of planning time off brings me joy — especially if some of the time is for planned vacations.
  • It helps me align my PTO with the needs of my family (e.g. various school calendars).

I’ve found that thoughtfully planning PTO can be challenging. This is especially true when you have a generous allotment of time to plan.

I’ve developed the following Google Sheet to help with my planning.

The spreadsheet automatically segments my planned days out into calendar quarters. This helps me easily see the things that I’m planning for and strategically space out my time off.

The spreadsheet also allows me to allocate “buffer” time. This is good for the known unknowns that will certainly happen and that I’ll want to save time off for. Those things commonly include being sick, caring for a sick child, appointments, etc.

After I finalize my plans, I update my work calendar for the year.

Feel free to make a copy of my planning spreadsheet and update it for your specific benefit.

Happy planning.

Planning Sheet

  • Carl Erickson Carl says:

    We recently started using the Compact Calendar ( for planning our year as a family.

    It would be the killer app to integrate your PTO planner with the CC.

    • Michael Marsiglia Michael Marsiglia says:

      That’s a clever idea. The combination would be powerful.

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