You’re likely here for this Sunsama Review to determine if this app is the best digital planner to meet your needs.
And I get it– because I asked this very same question myself. As a pharmacist, online entrepreneur, and parent of three, life is busy, and I needed a more effective method to keep it all straight.
Our Quick Take On Sunsama
Overall, I found Sunsama to be a great substitute for my physical planner. My favorite features were being able to directly drag my tasks from ClickUp & Google Calendar for quick daily planning. I also enjoy setting myself up for realistic expectations on what I can accomplish, as well as reviewing how much time is being spent on different tasks like meetings and emails. My productivity improved after two weeks of use.
-Merge Work & Personal
|Yes, except iOS
|Did It Boost Productivity?
In business, we implement systems to improve performance and task management. So, I realized I needed to set personal and professional systems in place for three big reasons.
- Mind Decluttering: Are you constantly thinking about all the things you need to do? Been there. It’s such a mental load off when you put “pen to paper,” so to speak.
- Increased Action: I spent too much time thinking and planning and not enough just doing it. It helps you become more intentional with the time you have.
- Task Re-Evaluation: All systems should be constantly re-evaluated for effectiveness. Do you need to re-prioritize a task that didn’t get completed? Is there a recurrent task you can complete better, or better yet, delegate?
While I don’t believe one tool is going to be the answer to all of your problems, it can certainly help alleviate some of the mental load.
This brings us back to Sunsama and if this planning app can help you achieve what you need. I’ve fully tested and explored this planner (along with all the other best digital planners on the market) to break down the good and the bad.
When you download Sunsama, you’re going to first link any other calendars or project management tools you may use. For calendars, you have the option of linking your Google and Outlook calendars.
Next, you’ll link your other project management tools. Here’s a list of integrations they can link up to:
And that’s it! You’re ready to get planning.
Sunsama Dashboard Overview
Once you’ve connected any integrations or calendars, your dashboard experience will look something like this.
This is automatically set into “Task Mode,” where you can add all the tasks you need to do in a given week.
This is the mode you will utilize when you just want to see the tasks you need to complete and work through them one at a time. I tend to spend the majority of my time in this mode.
You can also toggle over to Calendar View.
This is going to be where you drag your tasks over to time-box your tasks if that’s your preferred way of managing tasks.
It’s also where your Google/Outlook Calendar will show meetings, appointments, or anything else that you have scheduled in your calendar.
Contexts & Channels
On the left-hand side of the dashboard, you’ll have your work categorized into “Contexts” and “Channels.”
- Contexts: Think of this as a very broad umbrella grouping. It will auto-default this to Work and Personal. I personally changed mine to say Samantha Brandon and Family Schedule.
- Channels: Channels are like hashtag groupings within your contexts. For instance, under my Samantha Brandon Context, I have Samantha Brandon’s Website, SB YouTube Channel, Emails, and Admin work.
Every single task you create, you will tag it to a Channel. So you can make as many or as little as you want. What this does, is at the end of the day, you can track the time spent in that channel. Lots of people will create channels for email, marketing, meetings, etc. so they can see how much time is spent in each of those.
How Long Does It Take To Master Sunsama?
Overall Mastery Time- About a week of use.
It’s so important when you’re looking for a task management tool to determine how much of a learning curve there will be.
If you take the time to watch a Sunsama review tutorial, I highly recommend this. I tried using it on my own at first and completely missed the mark and quickly got frustrated and confused. A quick 30-minute tutorial will make ALL the difference in learning this tool.
I’ve created a quick and dirty tutorial which will be posted soon.
Alright, now that I’ve shown you what the overall dashboard experience looks like, let’s take this app on a daily test drive.
It’s All About The Tasks
Sunsama is a digital planner and a task management tool merged into one– you’ll be looking at your to-do list alongside your calendar as you work through your day.
The Task Card Overview
Adding each task is essentially creating your to-do list. Here’s what you can do within each task:
How To Add Tasks
Now that you understand what a Task Card looks like, it’s important to note that there are three ways you can add a Task to your schedule.
Remember: Whenever you create a task from an integration (like turning an HR Meeting into a task or adding recurring tasks from your management systems, I always recommend adding a planned time and connecting it to a channel. This way, you can separate out work and personal tasks, as well as account for the time spent on each aspect of your life.
1. Manually Add a Task
You can easily create a task manually by clicking the “Add Task” button.
2. Add A Task From an Integration
As mentioned before, you can pull tasks from any software you may use (task management software, project management software, calendars, etc). I have been testing out ClickUp, so here’s how I can easily move a task from ClickUp to Sunsama.
This will make your planning process much more efficient and allow you to focus your time on the most important tasks at hand.
3. Create Tasks from Weekly Objectives
During your weekly planning ritual (more to come on that), you can create a weekly objective and create a task directly from that objective.
Here’s what this looks like:
Sunsama Planning, Focus, and Review Modes
Alright, now let’s get into the fun part. How does this stack up to other task management apps, and will it boost your overall productivity?
That’s where the three modes come in:
- Planning Mode: Go into this mode the night before or the morning of to plan out your day.
- Focus Mode: Get working and ignore all the other distractions.
- Review Mode: Spend a few minutes at the end of the day or week looking at what you’ve accomplished and how you can improve for the next day.
1. Planning Mode
As mentioned, this is where you plan either plan a day or week ahead of time to determine what tasks you need to get done and in what order you can do this.
Depending on your preferences, you will either be asked a series of questions at the end of the previous workday or first thing the morning of.
These questions include things like:
- What did you want to get done today?
- Did you want to add tasks from your calendar?
Now it’s time to Timebox.
Once you have added in all of your tasks for the day, you can then drop tasks into your calendar if you would also prefer to time-box.
For those who don’t have a lot of experience with time-boxing, it is essentially a common feature in productivity apps where you take a task you need to complete and estimate how much time it will take to complete that task (which we did when creating them earlier). You then decide what time you’re going to complete that task.
Purpose of Timeboxing? To minimize the time you waste thinking or prepping about getting something done. It’s about just doing it.
As you go through this process, it will alert you to several different things, such as:
There is also a weekly planning mode where you can set out your weekly objectives. I personally haven’t needed to use this function as much, but it’s very helpful for those juggling multiple projects that span several weeks. Here’s what this looks like:
2. Focus Mode
Focus mode is where I spend the majority of my day. You can either zoom into Focus mode for a single day or a single task.
For example, this is what my single day looks like in Focus Mode:
You can also focus on a specific task, which I do often, especially when a task has a lot of subtasks you’ve created within this task card. Here’s an example of what this looks like when creating this Sunsama review article:
This is where you are going to time and track how much time you spend on a given task. Simply hit the “Start” button and let the clock track how much time it’s taking you to complete a specific task.
If you’re not a fan of this feature, or forget to do it, you can easily just tell Sunsama how much time you spent on a task later. This has honestly really helped me achieve a better work-life integration between my work and home responsibilities.
3. Review Mode
Lastly, we have review mode. This is where you will get a report at the end of the day telling you how much work you’ve gotten done. Here’s some nifty features they’ve included in this:
You will get both a daily review, as well as a weekly review to reflect on how your time was spent.
This is a great way to spend just a couple of minutes seeing how much you can accomplish, but more importantly, how you prioritized what tasks would be accomplished to drive the progress needle.
Other Sunsama Features
If you’re still wondering if Sunsama is the right productivity tool or digital planner for you, hopefully, this very brief overview will help you make your own decision to meet your needs. While I won’t go into detail about every single feature, here are some other things you can do within the desktop version to help you organize your life.
There is a Sunsama phone app that you can download for the times you’re not sitting at your computer.
It’s much more basic than the desktop, but it essentially shows you your “Focus Modes” while you’re working if you don’t want to waste the tab on your desktop. On the bottom menu, you’ll notice that you can toggle between your Task and Calendar Views.
From the app, you can move through your task list, check off completed tasks, and document the actual time spent on all tasks as you work through your day.
Sunsama Task Management Tools Key Benefits
At this point, you should have a really great idea of what Sunsama looks like during real use and the features it has to offer. After utilizing it for a few weeks now, here’s what I really love when I use Sunsama as my personal and professional Calendar app.
Sunsama Task Management Tool Areas of Improvement
Here are the things I wasn’t so fond of:
At the time I am writing this review, there is a 14-day free trial, which is super generous. Otherwise, it’s $20 per month, making it a bit pricier than some of its competitors.
Productivity Tools- Was Sunsama Effective For Me?
As a productivity system, I actually found my productivity to get a huge boost from Sunsama’s daily planning features.
After just two weeks of use, here are some things I realized about my own workflows (maybe I need to revisit my productivity quotes).
Overall, the time tracking and project management features allowed me to achieve a better work-life balance and get more done in a given week. I’m currently in the process of testing Motion & Akiflow in-depth as well, but this one has worked best for me.
Who Do I Think Sunsama Would Be Best For?
I think Sunsama would work best for the following:
So, tell me what you think. Have you tried Sunsama? Would you recommend it? I think their free trial is more than generous to get a good feel for the app!