Sunsama and Motion are two emerging productivity tools that look like calendar apps, but they blend many things. I could say they are umbrella tools that bring together daily planning with project management, meeting scheduling, emails, and more.
While they take completely different approaches, they share the same value: to help you avoid overwork and distractions by focusing on the important stuff and deep work.
In this Sunsama vs Motion comparison, I am going to show you the origins, philosophies, key features, pros, cons, pricing, and more to find out which is the right tool for you.
Let’s jump right into this battle.
|What is Sunsama and Motion?||Sunsama is a digital daily planner that consolidates your work by bringing together your calendar, email, project manager, and more.||Motion is an AI-powered productivity app that automatically plans your day and creates your to-do list.|
|What is Sunsama and Motion in one word?||Daily planner & productivity coach||Intelligent calendar & to-do list|
|Mission||Make work-life balance a reality||Intelligently plan your day|
|Best for||Individuals and teams who want to consolidate their workflows and plan their days in a single workspace||Individuals and teams with a busy schedule, lots of meetings, and people with ADHD|
|Pricing||$16/mo per user (billed annually)||$12/mo-$19/mo per user (billed annually)|
|Platform||Mac, Windows, Linux, Web, iOS, Android||Mac, Windows, Web, iOS, Android|
|Anatomy||Context & Channels, Weekly objectives, Tasks & events, Subtasks||Workspaces, Projects, Tasks & Events|
|Task management and calendar functions||It’s a draw||It’s a draw|
|Integrations & automations||It’s a draw||It’s a draw|
|Pros||– Ease of use & powerful quick add options|
– Automated planning with weekly objectives and journaling
– Consolidates your work by bringing together tasks, calendars, emails, and more
– Coaches you to avoid overwork and burnout
– Great third-party integrations
|– AI-powered scheduling system|
– Brings scheduling, calendars, and project management under one roof
– Powerful and quick scheduling functions
– Great user interface
|Cons||– Compromised task manager functionality|
– Lacks a scheduling function
– Bit expensive if you want to use it together with a project management app
|– Compromised task management functionality|
– No group polling feature
– Bit limited integrations
– No email forwarding support
Sunsama vs Motion: Overview
What is Sunsama?
Sunsama is a digital daily planner that consolidates your work by bringing together most of your productivity tools. It fosters working less by creating healthy habits to work, like startup and shutdown rituals, and weekly planning.
While Sunsama is an all-in-one platform, it doesn’t try to replace your productivity tools. Instead, it centralizes your work by bringing together your calendar, projects, communication, and email into a single platform. You can view and touch your upcoming tasks, emails, and messages without leaving Sunsama.
What I think makes Sunsama unique, is the beautiful and easy-to-use user interface, the built-in planning module, and how it approaches work. Sunsama won’t push you to work more. What it advocates, instead, is working less. And that’s an important message for the world.
Read my full Sunsama review here.
What is Motion?
With Motion, you can stop creating to-do lists; Motion will handle that for you. With the help of artificial intelligence, Motion will automatically plan your day accounting for your deadlines, priorities, and available time slots on your calendar.
Not only that, but Motion will automatically reschedule unfinished tasks to appropriate times so that you can avoid manual scheduling. Plus, it can replace your calendar, project management app, and meeting scheduler.
By doing all of those goodies, Motion also supports work-life balance and deep work.
You can use Motion for team collaboration by automatically planning and prioritizing tasks for your team members.
Read my honest Motion review here.
Let’s dive deeper into this review.
Sunsama vs Motion: Detailed Comparison
History & mission (Please don’t skip this)
I think the best productivity tools are built of frustration. They all should fill a gap in the fragmented landscape of task management apps. And Sunsama is a testament to that.
Although it’s a relatively new productivity app, it took five years, thousands of interviews, and a couple of failed products until Sunsama was born.
Today, it’s a mainstream application to change the status quo by creating a healthy relationship with our work.
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.
The team behind Sunsama has a firm opinion about productivity and they don’t hesitate to tell you that you must work less with better focus and calmness. Their mission is strongly reflected in the product, which is centered upon daily and weekly planning, time-blocking, and reflecting on experiences.
I very much like that I can sympathize with the team, read a public document about their values, check the status of the servers, and easily access the help guide from the app (which is awesome, by the way), just as that they don’t hide themselves (and their contact information) behind a wall.
I like them. Period.
Motion has kind of a similar story to Sunsama. The app was born of a struggle of a young man named Harry Qi, who struggled with ADHD. They claim daily planning is essential, and the to-do list is dead.
Motion will automatically create a daily plan and task list for you.
We help professionals make time for their highest-priority tasks, reduce the stress of being overwhelmed by meetings, and make sure deadlines are never missed.
With the big boom of the AI era, Motion has been in orbit with 40k users worldwide. This AI tool is one of the fastest-growing products in the industry.
The Motion team is also easy to sympathize with. They have a public working culture document on their home page, although I found Motion a bit more hidden than Sunsama.
Let’s get down to the anatomy of Sunsama vs Motion.
Sunsama has an intuitive and beautiful user interface. The app has three panels with the option to collapse the side panels (it also has a focus mode):
- Left sidebar: Here, you’ll find your monthly calendar and work channels.
- Main screen: Most of your screen is occupied by the daily planner, where you can toggle between a Kanban view and a calendar view.
- Right sidebar: Here, you can quickly display your calendar, emails, weekly objectives, task backlog, and tasks from other project management tools.
The only thing Sunsama organizes tasks and events is by Context & Channels. This is a bit strange to me as a GTD folk who wants to interact with tasks from different projects. Context and Channels are kind of labels.
If you want more structure, you can connect your favorite task manager app to display, import, and work with your projects and tasks in Sunsama.
There are two kinds of tasks in the app:
- Scheduled tasks: By default, you should always schedule your tasks either for today or later. (Sunsama is a digital daily planner after all.)
- Task backlog: The only place where you can store unscheduled tasks is the backlog.
This can be a challenge at first, but it serves a single purpose: to force you to time-box your tasks, be more intentional with your time, and avoid overwork & burnout.
In Sunsama, there are private and collaborative workspaces. By default, you have a single workspace with the following hierarchy:
- Context & Channels: Sunsama organizes your tasks, events, and objectives with Contexts & Channels, which are kind of labels. The daily and weekly analytics will show your performance by channel.
- Weekly objectives: You can align any tasks with a weekly objective and then measure your progress against those objectives.
- Tasks & events: Sunsama tasks can have start dates, due dates, subtasks, attachments, notes, and comments. You can also set up recurring tasks with more than enough room for customization.
- Subtasks: Subtasks are a checklist embedded in a task, but you can time-track them and quickly convert them into individual tasks.
Motion also has a beautiful user interface, although I found the task board a bit more cluttered than in Sunsama.
There’re three main tabs in Motion:
- Calendar: This is your calendar displaying your scheduled events and tasks from Motion. (It will also display your events from your Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar.)
- Projects & Tasks: Here, you’ll see your task lists and all your projects. Your My Tasks section contains all the tasks assigned to you from different workspaces, plus the private tasks you created here.
- Booking: Here, you can quickly create and customize your booking page, create a booking link, and share your availability.
You can view your projects on a list view and a Kanban view. The Kanban board has multiple grouping and sorting options, and you can easily change task parameters on a card. (This is something where Motion has an edge over Sunsama.)
From a GTD standpoint, Motion also lacks some features: batching tasks by labels (GTD contexts) is challenging. I also missed dedicated pages for individual projects.
Motion has a bit of a complicated taxonomy when it comes to events and tasks. But don’t worry, once you understand them, you can start leveraging your work.
- Free tasks: Free tasks have remote deadlines. The AI can automatically reschedule them to leave room for more important tasks.
- Busy tasks: A Motion task becomes busy when there is not much room left until the deadline. In this case, the Motion AI will prompt you to get your busy task done.
- Fixed task: Fixed tasks are cemented on your calendar, however, they can be rescheduled.
- Free events: Free events can be rescheduled by the AI to make room for a busy event.
- Busy events: Busy events cannot be auto-scheduled as they are critical not to miss.
Motion’s hierarchy is simple:
- Workspaces: You can create multiple Workspaces for your team or yourself. Workspaces can be private or shared. My Tasks is your personalized workspace where you can see all your tasks from different workspaces.
- Projects: Projects are related tasks to accomplish an outcome or goal. You can view your projects in a list view and a Kanban view.
- Tasks and events: Tasks live in projects, and they can have multiple parameters like due dates, durations, blockers, assignees, and priorities. There are no subtasks in Motion, however, you can create checklists and task dependencies. You can also create calendar events in Motion or display events from your Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar.
When it comes to choosing the best productivity tool, the user interface and user-friendliness are key elements. Let’s discuss them.
Sunsama offers a light and a dark theme to accommodate different needs. The best thing is that you can quickly toggle the theme by hitting Ctrl + K (Cmd + K) to open the Command Palette. Just begin to type “dark” and enjoy your work.
The support for keyboard shortcuts is amazing. Plus, you can bring up the shortcut list with a single key: simply type a question mark and voile!
But wait, there is more on the plate…
My favorite function is the quick add bar (Global add task shortcut) that is available in the desktop app. You can customize the keystroke to bring up a small bar on top of your screen when you are working in any application outside Sunsama to quickly record a task.
Not only that, but this quick capture lets you add a channel (#), a start date (@), and a planned time estimate (~) to your task.
Sorry, I simply can’t stop myself from raving about this topic…
You can create or import a task by simply pasting a URL from another website or tool.
And there is the Focus Mode. You can bring up this feature by hitting F, which will show your task in full screen. Here, you can start a built-in Pomodoro timer, which you can pause or stop any time when you want to take a break or are ready with your task.
Oooh, almost forgot to mention my ultimate favorite: the Command Palette. This is something similar to Spotlight on Mac or the Alfred app if you are familiar with them.
Just hit Ctrl+ K (Cmd + K) and begin to type or search for functions: jump to certain areas, toggle dark mode, set up task parameters, and do so much more.
You can also forward emails to Sunsama with your unique Sunsama email addresses.
To end this list, I want to mention that you can read the latest updates and bug fixes on the right sidebar, which is awesome. You can also access the help guide or message the team right from the desktop app or web app.
While Motion offers a dark and a light theme as well as basic shortcuts, we have far less room for customization than in Sunsama. There is no global shortcut key or command palette, either.
Unfortunately, currently, you cannot forward your emails to Motion to turn them into tasks. As quickly and easily capturing tasks and information is key to task management, Sunsama has a clear edge over Motion here.
Otherwise, I find the Motion app easy to navigate, and the user experience is coherent across platforms (Web app, desktop app). Also, Motion has a bit of a learning curve. Not a steep one, but a bit steeper than Sunsama. (Perhaps that’s my personal preference only.)
With Motion, you can also easily access the user manual and message customer support right from the app.
Sunsama is a clear winner here with its superior quick capture options, ease of use, and useful features. It doesn’t mean, however, that Motion isn’t easy to use.
Task management and calendar functions
Daily and weekly planning are at the heart of Sunsama. There is a dedicated multi-step process for planning your daily tasks. When you begin to time-block your tasks, 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 and align your work with your weekly goals and boundaries. (You can specify everything in granular details under Settings and in your weekly planning.)
Time-blocking with Sunsama is a breeze: it displays your to-do list and calendar side-by-side, and you can drag and drop tasks to your calendar in real-time.
At the end of the workday, Sunsama will walk you through a shutdown ritual, a process of re-scheduling your unfinished tasks. (BDW, this is what Motion does automatically for you.) It will also show you in a pie chart how you spent your time across channels.
Sunsama even has a built-in journaling module, which I found very helpful and unique. Here, you can reflect on your day or week.
Sunsama doesn’t support task dependencies and other advanced features. It won’t even support projects per se: it leaves them to your task manager app or project management tool.
You can connect Sunsama with all the mainstream project managers to display, import, and work on your tasks and projects without leaving Sunsama. You can even turn your emails or Slack messages into tasks.
Compared to Sunsama, which will prompt you to plan your day manually, Motion does this automatically.
By default, the Motion AI schedules your tasks automatically based on your schedule. Your tasks will be auto-scheduled during work hours by default. (You can specify your work hours in the Settings.)
When the Motion AI auto-schedules your task, it accounts for priority, deadline, and available time slots in your calendar. Importantly, you can always re-arrange your tasks manually.
When you don’t finish up a task, Motion will automatically reschedule it for an appropriate time.
The Motion AI also helps you create task dependencies: the AI algorithm will schedule your tasks in proper order if you set up blockers properly.
Motion connects with your Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar, and this is a two-way sync. Your Motion events will appear on your third-party calendar, and you can choose under the settings whether you want your tasks to be shown.
There are free and busy events in Motion as we discussed earlier. Motion will reschedule your free events while leaving your busy events in their place.
Motion will not only support time-blocking, but also you can use it for basic time management. Hover over your task in your calendar and hit the play button to start a Pomodoro timer.
Winner: It’s a draw.
Sunsama and Motion take completely different approaches to daily planning, but the aim is the same: to avoid overwork and focus on what matters. Unfortunately, they both have a compromised task management functionality, particularly from a GTD perspective.
Integrations & automations
Sunsama offers basic automations and plenty of native integrations with third-party apps. Currently, it integrates with most of the mainstream project management tools: Todoist, ClickUp, Monday, Trello, Asana, Notion, and Jira.
If you don’t find your tools, connect them via Zapier.
Once you connect your project manager with Sunsama, you can display, import, and work with your tasks right in the Sunsama app.
You can do basic automations with imported tasks like assigning them to you, assigning them to default channels, and auto-completing them once you check them off in Sunsama. (Unfortunately, due dates and other changes won’t reflect in third-party applications.)
Besides that automation, Sunsama doesn’t support in-app automations, nor does it have an AI assistant.
Motion is built around AI from day one, which will automatically plan your day and create your to-do list. The best thing is that it accounts for your priorities, available time slots in your calendar, and upcoming deadlines. At the end of the day, you can skip the cumbersome manual rescheduling process; Motion will handle it for you. The AI can also save you time by creating task dependencies for you.
While there are some integrations on the roadmap, Motion currently integrates only with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Google Calendar, Gmail, and Microsoft Outlook 365.
What you can do is use the public API or connect your favorite productivity tools via Zapier.
Similarly to Sunsama, Motion won’t support fancy in-app automations other than discussed earlier. Its major power lies in the AI auto-scheduling functionality.
Winner: It’s a draw.
While Sunsama has an edge over Motion in integrations, Motion wins at automation capabilities thanks to the AI.
Sunsama lacks a built-in meeting scheduling feature.
What Sunsama can help you with is that it connects with Zoom directly, so you can schedule meetings from the Sunsama app. By default, Sunsama also connects with your calendar. This way you’ll see all your meetings and possible times in your mobile app or desktop app.
If you want to schedule your meetings fast, share your availability, create booking pages, send custom messages, and automate the scheduling process, Motion will handle them or you can check my review on the best meeting scheduling apps.
One of the three pillars of Motion is the AI-powered meeting scheduler. You can schedule and run meetings with ease right from the Motion app.
You can set up your availability, create a customizable booking page, embed your page on your website, send automatic reminders to invitees, create buffer times between meetings, and much more.
The Drag Times feature makes the scheduling process a breeze. You can select the available times from your calendar, copy the text, and you’re ready to share.
Once your invitee chooses a meeting time, they will get an email with the meeting link, and the meeting will show up on your Motion calendar. You can then run the meeting with one click right from the Motion app provided you connected Zoom or Microsoft Teams with your Motion account.
The only thing I missed from the meeting scheduler is group polling. Otherwise, Motion is a great app for scheduling meetings.
As Sunsama lacks a dedicated meeting scheduler feature, Motion takes the cake here. It can easily replace your meeting scheduling tool by providing a convenient yet advanced scheduling experience within a single platform.
Now, as we proceed to the end of this Sunsama vs Motion battle, it’s time to check the prices.
Sunsama and Motion aren’t the cheapest solutions out there and they don’t have a free version. Mainstream tools like Asana or ClickUp charge less while offering more advanced functions.
If you think about how Sunsama and Motion approach productivity, what unique features they deliver, and what impact they can have on your daily productivity, the prices are tolerable at least.
Sunsama has a singular paid plan with no tiers. It offers a 14-day free trial with full functionality. If you sign up for an annual plan, you can save $48 in a year. The monthly subscription costs $20 per user. They have a public Pricing Manifesto where they share their mission and arguments on the price, which I liked very much.
Similarly, Motion offers no free plan, and it charges $19 per user per month for its Individual Plan, which is even more than what Sunsama charges, although AI is included in the price. The Team Plan costs less and you can save $84 in a year. You can try out this tool with a 7-day free trial before you commit.
Below, I provided a small comparison table to help your decision.
|Sunsama||Motion Individual||Motion Team|
|Price (per user per month; billed annually)||$16||$19||$12|
|AI pricing||NA||Included in price||Included in price|
|Number of tasks||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Create a task from email||Yes||No||No|
|Automations||Basic automations with third-party tools||Auto-scheduling||Auto-scheduling|
Winner: It’s a draw
Sunsama and Motion have comparable prices. While they’re not the cheapest solutions in the industry, the value they can bring to your daily productivity can easily compensate for your spending.
Now is the time to end this Sunsama vs Motion battle with the verdict.
Sunsama vs Motion: the verdict
Sunsama and Motion are two emerging productivity apps with unique functions, a special focus on daily planning, deep work, and extra features.
Although Sunsama and Motion share similar features, Sunsama takes a manual approach to plan your day, while Motion leverages AI technology.
Motion can automatically schedule your day, create your to-do list, and reschedule unfinished tasks by accounting for your priorities, watching your deadlines, and looking for free time slots in your calendar. It even can create task cascades (dependencies) for you.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the human element is missing from the equation. It requires your proactive attention to set up your priorities and hard rules to support the AI algorithm.
While Sunsama takes the manual approach, it helps you create a healthy relationship with work, and avoid overwork & burnout. It does so by guiding you through rigorous daily startup and shutdown rituals, weekly planning, and reminding you to work less and push less important tasks for later.
One of the best things is that Sunsama incorporates a journaling module into the planning process to reflect on your progress (or lack of it).
If you would ask me, what’s my overall gut feeling about this Sunsama vs Motion battle, I’d say that Sunsama takes the cake. But this is a highly personal opinion that reflects the way I was trained and I work.
Your life situation might be completely different with specific needs. Picking Motion can be a great option if you have a busy schedule with lots of meetings. Also, if you are tired of manually rescheduling your unfinished tasks, then probably Motion is a better choice for you.
If you want to know, here is why I’d prefer working with Sunsama:
- I prefer to manually time-box my tasks and interact with them instead of leaving this up to the AI.
- The most important thing for me is how quickly and easily I can capture tasks and information into my system. Sunsama has everything I need to address quick capturing: Quick add window, command palette, quick add links, ample options for keyboard shortcuts, and powerful email-to-task features.
- Sunsama has weekly objectives that can be aligned with any task, plus it has a built-in journaling module that I’ve been waiting for my whole life.
- I can process and triage my emails in Sunsama without leaving the app.
My Sunsama vs Motion review couldn’t be complete without mentioning the weaknesses.
What I like and dislike about Sunsama
What I like and dislike about Motion