Sunsama and Todoist are among the best productivity tools with partly overlapping functions, some extra features, unique approaches to work, and a strong message to the world.
If you want a high-level overview as well as a deep dive into these tools, you are in the right place. My passion is to dissect productivity apps and share my experience with them.
In this Sunsama vs Todoist comparison, I am going to show you the philosophies, key features, use cases, pros, cons, pricing, and more to find out which is the right app for you.
Let’s jump into this review.
|What are Sunsama and Todoist?||Sunsama is a digital daily planner that consolidates your work by bringing together your calendar, email, project manager, and more.||Todoist is a versatile, truly cross-platform task manager app for individuals and small teams.|
|What are Sunsama and Todoist in one word?||Daily planner & productivity coach.||Versatile task manager app.|
|Mission||Make work-life balance a reality.||Organize your work and life into a single space.|
|Best for||Individuals and small teams who want to consolidate their workflows and plan their days in a single workspace.||Individuals and small teams who want a robust yet lightweight task manager app.|
|Pricing||$16/mo per user (billed annually)||$0-$6/mo per user (billed annually)|
|Platform||Mac, Windows, Linux, Web, iOS, Android||Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Web, Apple Watch, Wear OS|
|Anatomy||Context & Channels, Weekly objectives, Tasks & events, Subtasks||Project, Sub-projects, Tasks, Sub-tasks|
|User-friendliness||It’s a draw||It’s a draw|
|Task management and project management||Winner|
|Automation||It’s a draw||It’s a draw|
|Pros||– Umbrella tool (brings together tasks, calendars, emails, and more)|
– Ease of use & powerful quick add options
– Automated planning with weekly objectives and journaling
– Coaches you to avoid overwork and burnout
– Integrates with many tools
|– Powerful quick captures & ease of use|
– Natural language support
– Location-based reminders
– Powerful planning feature
– Friendly price
|Cons||– Compromised task manager functionality|
– Bit expensive
– Limited in-app automation
|– I don’t like the task pop-up window (a side panel would be more convenient)|
– Extensions could be more powerful
– Limited in-app automation
Sunsama vs Todoist: Overview
What is Sunsama?
Sunsama is a digital daily planner that glues your productivity tools together and acts as a node. While it can replace your task management tool with some compromise, it’s rather designed to work with most of the mainstream project management tools and to-do list apps.
One of the strongest use cases of Sunsama is time blocking. By displaying your task list and calendar side-by-side and connecting your emails, messages, and project management tools, you can plan your day for maximum productivity.
But Sunsama is much more than a simple productivity tool: it’s a productivity coach that will teach you healthy working habits by providing easy yet rigorous daily and weekly planning rituals and prompting you to work within your boundaries.
Read my full Sunsama review here
What is Todoist?
Todoist is the real granddaddy of task management tools. It has a minimalist and user-friendly interface with ample space for quickly capturing and syncing your daily tasks across all your devices.
I’ve always considered Todoist among the top 3 task manager apps from day one because it’s so simple yet versatile.
Do you know what has changed since then?
The app and the productivity landscape, but not my opinion.
Sunsama vs Todoist: Detailed Comparison
History & mission (Please don’t skip this)
Sunsama is a relatively new app on the scene. Despite its young age and lack of AI features, this productivity tool has become one of the most advocated daily planner apps.
I think the why lies in its unique approach to work. Sunsama wants to change the status quo by advocating working less with more focus and deep 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.
Luckily, their mission is translated into their product, which is centered upon daily and weekly planning, time-blocking, and reflecting on experiences.
I can easily sympathize with the team after digging through their public manifesto, and I also like that they don’t hide themselves behind a wall. You can also check the status of the servers at any time and access the team and resources right from the Sunsama web app and desktop app.
Ask 10 people about what productivity tools they know, and half of them would say something good about Todoist.
And I couldn’t argue with them. Todoist deserves its spot in the Hall of Fame of Task Management Tools.
We’re an independent company without plans to sell out or get acquired. We’ll be here for our users and our teammates for decades to come.
Todoist was founded back in 2007 way before the digital era. And it seems they could retain their customers. They proudly claim that 50% of their users have been with them for 4+ years, and they have a 97% employee retention rate.
And this is exactly what I’m looking for in a productivity app.
We have every proof that Todoist will be with us for the next 15+ years as they don’t have a plan to exit or get acquired.
Let’s get down to work.
Sunsama has an intuitive and beautiful user interface with three panels:
- Left sidebar: The left sidebar homes your monthly calendar and work channels.
- Main screen: This is your daily planner, which you can access as a task list and a Kanban board.
- Right sidebar: On the right, you’ll find all your third-party tools, calendar events, emails, weekly objectives, and task backlog.
Sunsama offers limited space for organization by leaving that to your favorite project management software. It organizes your tasks and events by Context & Channels only.
This makes it hard for a GTD practitioner like me to organize information by project and context.
In Sunsama, there are private and collaborative workspaces. Here is how a workspace looks like:
- Context & Channels: Sunsama organizes your tasks, events, and objectives with labels (Contexts & Channels). They become important when you want to see your performance at the end of the work week.
- Weekly objectives: You can define weekly objectives, align your tasks with those objectives, and then measure your progress.
- Tasks & events: Sunsama tasks come with start dates, due dates, subtasks, attachments, notes, and comments. You can create recurring tasks, but Sunsama doesn’t support location-based reminders like Todoist.
- Subtasks: Compared to Todoist, Sunsama offers basic subtasks with little room for customization. (What you can do, however, is to time-track or convert your subtasks into individual tasks.)
Todoist has an easy-to-use UI. There has been an update recently, which I like. You can now access the settings in the left sidebar.
The only thing I don’t like about this new interface is the project list, which has a hashtag symbol.
While I understand that the hashtag represents how Todoist handles metadata, I miss the old-school outlook. Maybe this is my take only…
The one thing I can’t digest from day one is that new tasks are opening in a pop-up window. I wish Todoist applied the Asana approach with a side panel view.
Otherwise, Todoist works like a charm, it’s easy to navigate, and you can collapse the sidebar to focus on your work. Compared to Sunsama, however, Todoist lacks a dedicated focus mode.
Todoist has a classic, top-down hierarchy:
- Projects: Projects are the placeholders of your tasks. Projects can be further structured with sections. Each project can be turned into a Kanban board or a task list.
- Sub-projects: You can organize similar sub-projects under a parent project to keep your project list neat and simple.
- Tasks: Tasks can hold sub-tasks, comments, descriptions, due dates, priorities, reminders, location-based reminders, and labels.
- Sub-tasks: Sub-tasks make it easy to break down complex tasks into manageable chunks. A subtask can contain further subtasks for up to four levels.
There are a couple of unique views in Todoist:
- Inbox: It’s the placeholder for orphan tasks that are not assigned to a project.
- Today view: The Today section displays your tasks scheduled for today.
- Upcoming view: The Upcoming view shows your scheduled tasks on a calendar feed. You can now view your upcoming tasks on a board and drag and drop tasks between days.
- Filters & Labels: You can filter your tasks by creating basic-to-advanced filter queries. You can add those queries to your sidebar for easy access. Labels are kind of tags that help you batch tasks from different projects.
Let’s continue our Sunsama vs Todoist battle with the most important aspect: user-friendliness.
In Sunsama, you can use either a dark or a light theme, which you can toggle via the Command Palette. Awesome.
However, for me, the single most important aspect of a good task management tool is how it supports quick capture.
And Sunsama excels at this point:
- Use the Global add task shortcut to quickly capture essential information in whatever application. Add a channel (#), a start date (@), and a planned time estimate (~) to your task.
- Capture websites as tasks easily.
- Use the Command Palette (hit the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+ K) to jump to sections, toggle light mode, specify task parameters, and do so much more.
- Enter Focus mode with a single key to concentrate on a single task and start a Pomodoro timer for tracking your time.
- Use shortcut keys to speed up your work in Sunsama.
- Forward emails to Sunsama with your unique email address and set up task parameters.
- Stay up-to-date, read the latest bug fixes and releases, message customer support, or browse the help guide right from the Sunsama app.
At the heart of Todoist is user-friendliness and simplicity. The user experience is superior and coherent across platforms (web app, desktop app, mobile app).
Importantly, Todoist doesn’t consider its mobile version as a companion app. It comes with full functionality, which I like very much as I work often on my mobile.
Besides the classic light and dark theme, Todoist delivers multiple premium themes to delight customers. You can switch themes with a key (O then T), which is cool just like in Sunsama.
Todoist offers various ways to quickly capture your tasks:
- Use a global shortcut key to quickly capture a new task when you are working outside Todoist.
- Capture websites with the Todoist web browser plugin.
- Use natural language to schedule your tasks.
- Turn your emails into tasks by forwarding them to your unique Todoist email addresses or use the Gmail add-on. Set up task parameters in your email client.
- Use keyboard shortcuts to capture essential information like assignees, priorities, labels, and projects.
- Use Alfred to create, list, search, and manipulate your Todoist tasks.
Compared to Sunsama, I miss that you can’t access the user manual, the support team, and the updates from the application easily.
Winner: it’s a draw.
Sunsama and Todoist offer ample support for quick capture, and have a beautiful and easy-to-use user interface.
Task management and project management
Sunsama isn’t a task management app per se. It’s rather a daily planner that consolidates your workflow in a single platform.
Sunsama doesn’t support task dependencies and other advanced task management features. It won’t even support projects or task lists per se: it leaves them to your third-party project management tool. Connect Sunsama with Trello, Notion, Asana, Monday, ClickUp, and even Todoist to complement your system.
Once you connect your favorite task manager, you can display and work with your tasks and projects in Sunsama.
Sunsama tasks can carry start dates, due dates, subtasks, attachments, notes, and comments. You can also set up recurring tasks with granular details.
What Sunsama excels at is daily and weekly planning (which is at the heart of project management). There is a dedicated multi-step process for that.
Sunsama not only will guide you through your daily planning, but also remind you to focus on what’s essential, work less, and leave work on time.
You can define weekly objectives and align any of your tasks with those objectives. At the end of the day and week, the app will show your progress.
One of the things that makes Sunsama so unique is the built-in journaling module, which is part of the daily and weekly planning. This is something I’ve never seen in any task management tool, and it can be a game-changer for you.
Sunsama has a built-in time-tracking feature for proper time management. You can start a Pomodoro timer on each task to measure your actual time spent on your task.
If you work in a team, you can set up a collaborative workspace to share tasks and events with team members.
Todoist has a slight edge over Sunsama when we consider task management and project management features.
It offers full GTD support: You can use projects, contexts (labels), and next actions (priorities) to surface information and streamline your productivity system. With custom filters, you can surface every task in granular detail.
Sunsama, in turn, doesn’t support projects per se. It leaves them to your third-party project management platform.
With Todoist’s Upcoming view, you can view your scheduled tasks in a task view and a calendar view. The drag-and-drop feature lets you plan your day and week easily. Although it’s not as powerful as Sunsama’s daily and weekly planning, I find it extremely pleasing and helpful.
The Inbox lets you quickly capture everything that’s on your mind and leave the scheduling for later. (Sunsama’s Task backlog is something similar although less powerful.)
Todoist has four built-in priority levels, which you can quickly toggle. They have different colors, and high-priority (p1) tasks always come up first on your task list. You can cleverly use this feature to implement the Eisenhower taxonomy or differentiate your next actions on your to-do list.
Of course, you have everything in place for basic-to-advanced task management: tasks can carry descriptions, comments, attachments, subtasks, labels, due dates, reminders, and even location-based reminders.
You can track your time in Todoist with a browser extension.
One of my favorite features in Todoist is uncompletable tasks: you can quickly set up a task as uncompletable by marking it with an asterisk at the beginning. This way, your task cannot be checked off. This is useful for goal planning or defining weekly objectives because they can house completable subtasks.
Todoist also supports teamwork. You can assign a task to team members, collaborate on shared projects, track progress, and centralize your work by connecting other productivity and team collaboration tools.
Todoist has a clear edge over Sunsama if we consider project management. It supports the Getting Things Done (GTD) method and offers many extra features. If you, however, complement Sunsama with your third-party project management app (or even with Todoist), the gap disappears.
Let’s continue our Sunsama vs Todoist battle with automation capabilities.
Sunsama connects with almost all mainstream project management tools like Todoist, ClickUp, Monday, Trello, Asana, Notion, and Jira. If you don’t find your tools in the library, you can connect them via Zapier.
Once you connect your third-party tool to Sunsama, you can set up 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 sync with third-party applications.)
Sunsama doesn’t support more in-app automations, nor does it have an AI assistant.
With Todoist extensions, you can now power up your Todoist account and experience.
- Task Helper: With the task helper, you can turn your task into an uncompletable one, apply your task’s attributes to your subtasks, and create a follow-up task when you complete a certain task.
- Habit Tracker: The habit tracker extension turns your task comment into a habit tracker by showing your current streak and completion history. This way, you can track your habits with Todoist tasks. Combine this feature with uncompletable tasks to build habit goals.
- AI assistant: Use the AI assistant to create a task list, receive tips for completing tasks, make your task list more actionable, or break down complex tasks.
Todoist integrates with a bunch of tools like Google Calendar, Gmail, Outlook, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Evernote, Toggle, Jira, and more. If you don’t find your favorite tool, use Zapier or IFTTT to connect your third-party tool with Todoist.
Winner: It’s a draw.
Both Sunsama and Todoist offer basic in-app automations only. If you want more, you can connect them with other productivity tools either directly or via an automation platform.
Sunsama has no free version. You can try all functions with a 14-day free trial before you commit to a paid plan, which costs $16 per month. (There are no tiers here.)
Todoist, in turn, has a free version, although it’s limited to five projects. I barely see a scenario when a Todoist free plan can play out. However, a Todoist Pro Plan costs $4 per month only, which is among the most affordable options out there.
Todoist is more affordable than Sunsama. When you consider the additional cost of a third-party task manager app, the difference is even more visible.
Sunsama has a public pricing manifesto explaining the relatively high price and its core values. I can speak to most of the arguments. If you will pay $1 per workday for an app that not only helps you all day but coaches you to work on your most important tasks and helps you create healthy habits, then Sunsama is for you.
|Sunsama||Todoist Beginner||Todoist Pro||Todoist Business|
|Price (per user / month, billed annually)||$16||$0||$4||$6|
|Number of tasks||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Number of projects||Unlimited||5||300||300 for each member|
|Advanced filters||No||3||150||150 for each member|
|Calendar integration||Two-way sync||Two-way sync||Two-way sync||Two-way sync|
Although Todoist is a clear winner from a budgetary standpoint, don’t forget that Sunsama is much more than a task manager or a daily planner. It’s a productivity coach and an app that centralizes your work by bringing together many of your tools.
Now is the time to end this Sunsama vs Todoist battle with the verdict.
Sunsama vs Todoist: the verdict
Sunsama and Todoist play in somewhat different leagues. While Todoist is a task management app to the fullest, Sunsama is more of a digital daily planner that brings together your favorite productivity tools into a centralized place.
Therefore, it’s not fair to say that one is better than the other.
If we consider task management or project management features, Todoist is the clear winner. If we, however, look at the big picture, Sunsama has an edge over Todoist because it offers a more holistic productivity experience.
Not only that, but Sunsama coaches you through your journey and teaches you healthy habits to work by implementing rock-solid planning rituals and saving you from overwork.
Both productivity tools offer a beautiful user interface and superior user experience. And behind both tools is a dedicated team with a clear message for the world.
I want to end this Sunsama vs Todoist comparison with this:
- Choose Sunsama if you want to consolidate your workflow into a central place where you can time-block your tasks and bring together your productivity tools.
- Go with Todoist if you want a robust yet lightweight task manager app for the fastest user experience and quick capture capabilities.
What I like and dislike about Sunsama
What I like and dislike about Todoist