Contexts and Channels: the basics

Use Contexts and Channels to tag and organize your tasks into the major areas of your work and personal life.

Contexts and channels are shown in the left hand panel of your Sunsama workspace. They can be used to show where your time is being spent, and have other uses when it comes to timeboxing and calendars.

Contexts are umbrellas

Contexts are the umbrellas that contain channels. Your contexts should be very zoomed out; most users will only have two contexts: Work and Personal.

Creating channels

Within your contexts, create channels that represent the different areas of your work and personal life. To do so, go to Settings > Channels, or click "manage channels" in the left hand panel.

Assigning tasks to channels

Assign your tasks to channels to categorize them and have them count towards those channels. There are numerous ways to assign a task to a channel:

  • click on the #channel button a task
  • use keyboard shortcut # or Q when hovering over a task
  • typing # during task creation
  • letting Sunsama automatically assign the channel using AI (see below)

Filtering the view of your workspace

You can filter the view of your Sunsama workspace so that you only see tasks in a certain context or channel. This is useful for just focusing on #Work tasks during your work day, or just #personal tasks outside of your work day.

To do this, just click on the channel you wish to filter to in the left hand panel. Alternatively, use keyboard shortcut CMD L on Mac or CTRL L on Windows to filter your workspace view to a specific channel.

Difference between Personal and Work

Tasks that are assigned to your Personal context or any channel within your Personal context are not considered "work".

This means personal tasks do not count towards your workload totals or against your workload threshold.

For example, you may work 8 hours a day but have 2 additional hours of personal tasks. This separation means Sunsama will not warn you against working 10 hours a day, because only the work related tasks are considered "work".

To configure a context as "personal" or not, go to your Settings > Channels and click on a context. You'll see the "Personal context" setting therein.

Time breakdown

Using channels helps you visualize how you're spending your time on a daily and weekly level. There are multiple places in Sunsama where you are shown how much time you've spent working on your tasks, broken down by channel.

You will see this in the Daily Shutdown flow each day, as well as the weekly Analytics feature (which you can access from the main dropdown menu in the top left corner).

Linking channels to calendars

Via your calendar settings page, you can link your Sunsama contexts and channels to your connected Google and Outlook calendars. This is useful for two reasons:


When you drag a task onto the calendar, Sunsama creates an event on your underlying connected Google or Outlook calendar. We call this Timeboxing.

Using channels, you can determine which of your connected calendars this "working session" event should be created on. For example, you could link your #work context to your work calendar and your #personal context to your personal calendar. This way, your personal tasks don't show up on your work calendar, and vice versa.

This is explained more in depth on this help center article.

Importing meetings

The channel <> calendar link works the other direction as well. If you import a meeting from a calendar, Sunsama will automatically assign that meeting to the channel the calendar is linked to.

AI: Channel Recommendations

Sunsama can automatically assign channels to your tasks for you. It does this by analyzing the history of your tasks. This is useful for ensuring all your tasks are assigned to channels if you forget to, and to save you time in doing so.

To enable this, go to Settings > AI.

More information on how this feature works can be read here.

Best use practices

"Less is more" when it comes to channels. Having too many channels can become counterproductive as you categorize your tasks on too granular a level. We recommend starting small and creating channels from a birds-eye view for only the major categories of your work and personal life. It's easy to add more channels eventually, but can be frustrating to have to reduce the number of channels you have.