Finalize your plan

Pick the order you'll work on your tasks and set aside time on your calendar to work on tasks.

Purpose

  1. Pick a time to end your work day so you aren't constantly suffocated by work.

  2. Set the order you'll work through your task list so you can flow through them without needing to constantly worry about what to do next throughout the day.

  3. Figure out how the tasks you want to do will fit into your day alongside your meetings.

Walkthrough

How to use

Pick shutdown time · 0:49

In the left hand panel, you'll be prompted to select a shutdown time for the day. The default time will be the time you last shutdown at. Pick your time, then click "Add to calendar". This will add a new task to end of your list called "Daily shutdown" with an associated time on your calendar at the time you picked.

Your shutdown time will anchor how you plan the rest of your tasks in this step.

Pick a methodology · 1:17

There are two ways you can pick the final order you'll work through your tasks. You should pick the workflow that best fits your day's obligations, work style, and personality.

  • Timeboxing: This approach is where you set aside explicit start and stop times for each task on your calendar by dragging and dropping them onto the calendar pane. This is a good option if you really like to enforce times where you work on certain things or if your calendar already has several appointments with non-negotiable start times (e.g. meetings) and you need to work on different things based on how long the gaps in your schedule are.
  • Ordered List: This approach is where you vertically order the tasks in your list in the order you'll work through them. This is a good option if:
    • You don't have many meetings or your meetings book-end one part of your day.
    • You have flexibility on when you work and take breaks and the order in which you work through your tasks.
    • You work on a smaller set of harder to estimate tasks e.g. if you do creative or technical work

Neither option is better than the other and you might find yourself using both for example timeboxing on a busy Monday with many meetings and using the ordered list approach on a "no meeting Wednesday".

How to timebox · 2:16

The easiest way to timebox a task is to drag and drop the task onto the calendar panel. As an alternative, you can right click on a task and click "Add to calendar".

Once a task is on the calendar, you can adjust its start and end time by resizing it or dragging it around. If you want to change more details, like the organizer calendar, you can click into the event and then click "Edit" to edit the underlying calendar event.

When tasks are added to the calendar, or their start times are adjusted, Sunsama automatically resorts that task to the right location in the list.

If you need to work on a task multiple times in one day e.g. before and after a meeting you can drag the task to your calendar a second time to create a second planned working session.

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Drag and drop issues on touch based devices

There are known issues with dragging and dropping from the task list to the calendar on certain touch devices, like the iPad. If you run into this issue, use the "..." menu on the task and then click "Add to calendar" to place the task on the calendar. Once it's on the calendar, you can drag and drop and resize the event on the calendar.

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Controlling privacy, clutter, and availability

From your account settings, it's possible to control which of your calendars tasks get scheduled to when you drag and drop them to the calendar, the privacy level of the created events, or their availability (free/busy setting).

If you don't want colleagues who can see your calendar to see what you are working on you can change the default privacy.

If you don't want working sessions for tasks to impact your availability you can change the default availability.

If you don't want your primary calendar view cluttered with working sessions or don't want colleagues calendars covered in "Busy" blocks you can change the "Default calendar when scheduling tasks" to a different calendar that you own.

How to order your list · 2:02

To re-order your tasks, just drag and drop them vertically within the list.

If your list gets long and you need to move things quickly to the top or bottom, you can right click on a task and click "Move to top" or "Move to bottom".

Best practices

  • Even when you timebox, it's important to remember that you'll tend to underestimate how long tasks take. When timeboxing, add a small buffer between tasks, if possible. It's also nice to lengthen your buffer later in the day as your energy and focus wanes.