You already know that prior proper planning prevents poor performance. You also know that planning is only half the battle: you need to adhere to your plan, avoid distractions, and focus on acting in the right direction.
But where is the productivity app that brings together your tools, helps you focus on the important things, saves you from overwork, and coaches you to become a goal-getter instead of a goal-setter?
Well, Sunsama will just do that.
In this Sunsama review, I am going to show you the most important features, advanced features, pros, cons, pricing, and more to help you decide whether Sunsama is the right app for you.
Let’s get started.
What is Sunsama?
Sunsama is a digital daily planner that brings together your calendar, to-do list, email, and project management apps. It’s available as a mobile app, desktop app, and web app. With Sunsama, you can avoid working long hours and blindly running toward burnout by creating boundaries, startup and shutdown rituals, and weekly planning.
It’s kind of an all-in-one platform but not the way for example ClickUp does. Sunsama doesn’t replace your productivity tools, instead, it consolidates them by facilitating daily and weekly planning and deep work.
You can view your tasks, calendar events, and emails right in the Sunsama app. You can plan your day and your week, and time-block your tasks in a beautiful and easy-to-use interface.
Sunsama isn’t another productivity tool that increases the noise in your system. It’s rather a productivity coach that helps you complement your productivity system, focus your attention on important tasks, and align your efforts with your priorities and weekly objectives.
|Best for||Individuals and teams who want to consolidate their workflows and plan their days in a single workspace|
|Mission||Make work-life balance a reality|
|Pricing||$16/mo per user (billed annually)|
|Platforms||Mac, Windows, Linux, Web, iOS, Android|
|Pros||– Consolidates your workflow
– Coaches you to avoid overwork and burnout
– Automated planning with weekly objectives and alignment with tasks
– Great integrations
– Ease of use & powerful quick add options and shortcut support
|Cons||– No projects and list views
– No templates in the journaling module
– Forces you to track your time
– A bit expensive
– Limited email forwarding options
History & mission (Please don’t skip this)
Sunsama was built of frustration. It’s a good thing because a product strongly reflects the developers’ life situation and thinking process.
Until Sunsama was founded in 2018, the founders spoke with thousands of people about their productivity challenges and how they struggled through their days. It took 5 years and a couple of failed products before Sunsama was launched.
Today, it’s hitting the mainstream. They believe that we all deserve tools that help us create a healthy relationship with work without burning out.
Work is something you dread and wish you didn’t have to do. We don’t accept that. We want work to be a great source of meaning and fulfillment in our lives.
Sunsama doesn’t push you to do more, but instead it motivates you to stop overwork, avoid burnout, plan your week and day, spend your day in focus, and then reflect on your experience.
Although it’s not a new approach to productivity, it’s a completely new approach to productivity software.
The founders have a compelling background and a webpage with a public document about their philosophy of work. I liked that you can check the status of the server on a dedicated Status page. They claim 100% uptime for the last 30 days, and they show you the incident reports, too.
You can easily access customer support and guides from the web app or the Sunsama desktop app, but Sunsama also has a comprehensive user manual with quick video tutorials and written documentation.
Now that you know more about the story, it’s time to jump right into this Sunsama review.
Getting started with Sunsama
There is a strict onboarding process before you can get started with this productivity tool. Don’t be afraid; it takes only a couple of minutes.
Although Sunsama is quite expensive, it offers a 14-day free trial with full functionality. And you don’t even have to give your credit card credentials until you commit to a paid plan (which is likely you will, because Sunsama is a superpower).
Once you sign up via Google, Microsoft, or email, you must answer a few questions.
Sunsama will ask you when you plan your day and work week so that they can help you develop a rock-solid daily and weekly planning ritual.
This is a very important feature, as daily and weekly planning is at the heart of Sunsama (and productivity).
Once you answered the questions, you must enter at least one task from the past week and another one for today to get started.
Let’s continue our Sunsama review with a little anatomy lesson.
Sunsama has an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface. You have three panels, but you can quickly collapse them:
- On the left, you’ll find your monthly calendar and work channels.
- Your daily planner occupies most of your screen. You can switch between a Kanban view and a calendar view.
- On the right sidebar, you’ll find your tools: you can quickly display your calendar, emails, weekly objectives, task backlog, and tasks from other project management tools.
As a GTD folk, I was wondering how I can access my projects and batch my tasks from different projects with contexts.
Well, the answer is not as straightforward as I thought.
First, there’re no projects or project lists in Sunsama. It’s a big disappointment, although I understand that Sunsama is a daily planner, which integrates with a couple of project management tools supporting project views.
The only thing Sunsama organizes your tasks is by Context & Channels. Basically, they are the same thing, but Contexts are higher on the hierarchy.
Second, all Sunsama tasks are scheduled by default because it’s a daily planner application. If you don’t want to schedule a task, you can drop it to the Backlog.
So, Sunsama structures information like this:
- Context & Channels: Sunsama organizes your tasks, events, and objectives with Contexts & Channels, which are kind of labels. The analytics will show your performance by channel.
- Weekly objectives: You can align any tasks with an objective and then measure your progress.
- Tasks & events: Sunsama tasks can have start dates, due dates, subtasks, attachments, notes, and comments. You can set up recurring tasks with more than enough room for customizing repeat intervals.
- Subtasks: Subtasks are basically a checklist embedded in a task, but you can time-track them and quickly convert them into individual tasks.
The most important part of a software review is the user-friendliness…
Sunsama offers a light and a dark theme to accommodate different needs. (My favorite is the dark theme, which is beautiful.)
It also supports keyboard shortcuts. Lots of them. You can quickly bring up the list of keyboard shortcuts by simply typing a question mark.
What stands out to me is the shortcut that lets you add a task outside Sunsama (Global add task shortcut). You can set this up in the desktop version. With this global shortcut, you can quickly add a task to Sunsama when you’re working in other applications. You can also assign your task to a channel (#), set up a start date (@), or plan the time (~).
You can also create or import a task by simply pasting a URL from another website or tool.
One unique feature of Sunsama is the Focus Mode. You can bring up the focus mode by hitting F, which will show your task in a full screen and nothing else. Here, you can run the timer or start a Pomodoro, which you can pause or stop any time when you want to take a break or are ready with your task.
Another superpower is the Command Palette, which you can access via the shortcut Ctrl+ K (Cmd + K). It works like the Alfred app on the Mac in the context of Sunsama. You can quickly search for actions, jump to certain areas, toggle dark mode, and do so much more. Cool, isn’t it?
If you feel lost, you can quickly ask for help at the bottom right corner of the screen. Just message the Sunsama team or search the help guide.
What I like very much is that you can see the latest updates in the web app and desktop app. New features and fixes are released quite frequently.
Let’s see the key features.
Daily planning is at the heart of Sunsama. You can jump into the daily planning with a single key (p). Here, you can add new tasks manually or display and add tasks from your favorite project management tool like Asana or Todoist.
Sunsama will show you the total predicted working time (provided you have set time estimates) and will remind you to focus on what’s essential.
Finally, it will display your daily tasks with time estimates in a distilled format.
Once you are ready with your daily planning, you get back to your board view, where you can manually reorder and drag-and-drop your tasks.
While I love this board view very much, I miss the opportunity to specify what parameters to display on a card.
Sunsama will calculate and showcase your net working hours at the top of your daily to-do list. It will help you set realistic targets and avoid burnout. (Only the tasks with planned times count toward your working hours.)
Once you begin to check tasks off from your task list, the counter will change accordingly.
At the end of the day, you can start your shutdown ritual with a single shortcut (o). Sunsama will show you two columns: one for the completed tasks and another one for the tasks you didn’t accomplish. It will also show you in a pie chart how you spent your time across channels.
The next screen is a little journaling where you can jot down what went well, what went wrong, etc.
This journaling module is unique to Sunsama and I’m very happy to finally have a task management tool that has a native solution for that. What I miss is that I cannot create templates for reflections. It would be so good to add my own questions.
Weekly planning and weekly review
Sunsama will support your weekly review in a way no other task management app will. There is a dedicated workflow that will guide you through your weekly planning.
Under the Settings, you can specify the day when you want to do your weekly review. I do it mine on Fridays. Navigate to Account and Rituals to define your weekly planning and automate it if you want. You can also combine your weekly review with weekly planning (toggle). Honestly, I can’t see a case when you don’t want to do them combined.
Once you run your weekly planning, Sunsama will show you how you spent your time during the week and, most importantly, how much time you spent working on your weekly objectives.
Sunsama will also show you how you spent your time across channels and then it will prompt you to set your weekly objectives for the next week. On the last screen, you can reflect on your aims and progress.
This is THE feature I’ve been waiting for in my whole life. Although not perfect, it can help you align your tasks with your weekly objectives and measure your progress toward your goals.
What I miss is the opportunity to create templates for journaling here. I hope the developers will add this feature sooner or later.
Although Sunsama isn’t a task management software per se, one of the strongest use cases is for managing your to-do list.
You can timebox your tasks and work with them by having your to-do list and calendar open side-by-side. They work seamlessly together, plus you can filter your tasks and events by context and channel.
You can turn your emails or Slack messages into tasks or connect your favorite project management app to display your to-dos. (More on that later.) Sunsama will display whether your task comes from email, Asana, or is attached to a weekly objective.
Each task can be easily moved to the next day, next week, or backlog.
Each task has its own Pomodoro timer. Once you set up the planned time, you can quickly run a timer, which will enter a focus mode showing your task only. Once you’ve finished, stop the timer which will show you the actual time spent on your task plus the remaining time.
You can run your timer multiple times to continue where you are left. You can get the most out of this productivity tool if you focus on a single task at a time and do one Pomodoro (25 minutes) in a single session.
Sunsama will calculate your weekly analytics based on your time-tracking activity across channels and weekly objectives.
Let’s continue our Sunsama review with the advanced functions.
Connect your Sunsama account with your favorite project management app to display and time-block your tasks in Sunsama.
Here is what you can do with your task imported in Sunsama:
- Schedule it in your Sunsama calendar
- Track your time spent on the task
- Mark it as complete
- Open in native app
Once you mark a task as complete, the change will reflect in your connected project management app. (Unfortunately, due dates and other changes won’t reflect in third-party applications.)
If you want to do more, open your task in its native application with a single click.
Sunsama supports basic automations to assign imported tasks to you, assign them to default channels, and auto-complete them once you check them off in Sunsama.
Currently, Sunsama has native integration with Todoist, ClickUp, Monday, Trello, Asana, Notion, and Jira. If you want more, you can use Zapier to connect Sunsama with hundreds of applications.
You can connect your Microsoft account and Google account to see and manage your emails in Sunsama. This way, you can triage your emails without entering your email inbox.
This is another super-feature very few (if any) productivity tools offer and another case study of how Sunsama consolidates your workflow.
On the right sidebar, connect your Gmail account or Outlook account to see your emails.
Here is what you can do with your emails in Sunsama:
- Add to your Sunsama calendar as a task
- Open in Gmail or Outlook
- Mark as read or unread
You can also star, mark as important, or apply a label to your emails automatically once you import them to Sunsama.
The only thing I miss here is that you cannot reply to your emails or send emails from Sunsama as you would do in ClickUp. What you can do, however, is to open your email with one click in your email client.
You can also forward emails to Sunsama from whatever email client. Navigate to the Settings and find your unique email address. You’ll find two of them: one for forwarding tasks to Today and another one for forwarding tasks to your Backlog. The subject line becomes your task’s name, and the email body becomes your task description. Unfortunately, attachments are not supported.
What I miss here is specifying task parameters just as you can do with the global shortcut key discussed earlier. One thing you can do to bridge this gap is to copy the link of your email and paste it via the global shortcut, where you can specify start dates, channels, and allocated time.
Sunsama not only connects with your project management tool and email but also connects with Slack and Zoom to supercharge your meetings.
You can turn Slack messages into tasks and connect your Zoom or Google account to add a Zoom or Google meeting to Sunsama events directly.
Sunsama has a simple and transparent pricing model. Although it doesn’t have a free plan, it comes with a 14-day free trial with full functionality, and it won’t even ask for your credit card as many productivity software would do.
Sunsama has no pricing tiers. You can pay monthly or commit to an annual plan, which is more affordable. The annual subscription costs $16 per member per month, while Sunsama charges $20 for a monthly plan.
This is in the upper range. Currently, Asana charges $10.19 per user per month for its annual Premium plan, while ClickUp costs $7 per month. Sunsama is still more affordable than Motion, which charges $19 per month per user for its annual plan.
It’s easy to justify paying for things you love. Since Sunsama is (hopefully) something you love using every single day you’re at work to feel calm and effective, we chose a price of $1/workday for the daily value of the service.
The developers have a public pricing manifesto explaining the relatively high price and their core values. I can speak to most of the arguments.
Sunsama’s price creates high expectations from customers and in aspiring to meet those expectations we are held accountable and deliver a high-quality product.
Let’s end this Sunsama review with the most common questions people ask about this tool.
Sunsama review: FAQ
1. What sets Sunsama apart from other daily planning and task management apps?
Thought you’d never ask! I think Sunsama takes a different approach than most productivity tools do. It not only helps you focus on your most important tasks, but it prompts you as well as guides you through the daily planning and shutdown rituals and weekly planning like a coach. You not only can create weekly objectives with Sunsama, but also you can measure your progress and reflect on your results with built-in journaling, which is a real game-changer. Also, Sunsama prompts and motivates you to work less and avoid burnout by automated daily planning, asking you hard questions, and calculating your daily working hours. And, perhaps most importantly, Sunsama doesn’t try to replace your productivity tools, instead, it consolidates them in a single platform where you can organize your work like never before.
2. Can I integrate Sunsama with other calendars or productivity apps?
Integration is at the heart of Sunsama. The founders built this app not replacing your productivity tools but consolidating them to help you focus on important tasks and achieve work-life balance. Sunsama currently integrates with most of the mainstream task management and product management apps like ClickUp, Monday, Notion, Todoist, Asana, Trello, and Jira, plus Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, Zoom, and Slack.
3. Is Sunsama worth the price?
While Sunsama is a bit pricy compared to mainstream daily planning and to-do list apps, it offers unique functions and a great user experience. It can consolidate your workflow by organizing your tasks, calendars, emails, and meetings into a single place without replacing the specific apps. It also helps you create rock-solid daily and weekly planning rituals and avoid overwork. If you’re ready to pay $1 per workday for your calmness, Sunsama is worth it.
4. Can I collaborate and share tasks or schedules with others using Sunsama?
Sunsama supports team collaboration by sharing tasks and events with team members. You can create private and collaborative workspaces. Your weekly objectives, calendars, private contexts and channels, and private tasks won’t be visible to team members. If you want to share your calendar with teammates, you should share it via Google Calendar or Outlook to reflect it in Sunsama.
Sunsama review: the verdict
Sunsama is the only productivity tool I’ve seen that perfectly supports not only daily and weekly planning but also helps you set up objectives, align your tasks with those objectives, and reflect on your progress in a journal while signaling to work less instead of working more.
The big question is whether you will pay $16 for a daily planner to organize your work into a single place while still paying the check for your project manager.
The answer isn’t so simple, because Sunsama will do much more than task management. It can transform your habits by coaching you to plan your days and weeks like a pro, set weekly objectives, align your tasks with those targets, and work less.
And who said that you should pay for another task management app? With Sunsama, you can manage your personal tasks as well as work with your team members via a collaborative workspace.
My main concern is that Sunsama, without the support of a connected to-do app, cannot support a GTD workflow: Sunsama doesn’t offer dedicated places for projects.
What I missed hardly was a habit tracking module: although you can schedule your habits on your calendar and make weekly objectives from habits, a dedicated habit tracking module could further elevate my enthusiasm toward this productivity tool.
Another feature I missed strongly was the ability to create templates for your weekly review. I also have to note that Sunsama is a relatively new productivity tool, so I’ve every confidence to say that it will improve over time.
Overall, I think Sunsama is one of the best productivity tools and probably one of the best (if not the best) digital daily planners.
What I like and dislike about Sunsama