Task management

Best practices and guidelines for dealing with tasks.

Where do I put tasks if I don't know what day I want to do them?

Sunsama has a lightweight backlog that you can use for storing tasks you want to work on sometime in the future but aren't ready to commit to on a certain day yet. You can toggle the backlog with "Shift + B" or clicking the "filing box icon" in the right hand most panel.

Choosing a "Backlog" tool

Sunsama is designed to be your daily and weekly task list. It's not designed to be a fully featured project planner.

Sunsama's Backlog can be used when you've got a handful of items you want to do someday but aren't sure when.

If you start to have lots of tasks accumulating in your Backlog, Archive, or in today's task list, it might be time to consider integrating a more robust backlog management tool like Todoist, Trello, Asana, or ClickUp.

Dealing with multi-day tasks

There's a few strategies you can use to work on tasks across multiple days in Sunsama.

As a single task

  1. Create a single big task.
  2. Add all of the constituent pieces that got into that big task as notes within that task
  3. Turn the pieces you are going to work on today into subtasks, and leave the rest as notes
  4. Once you complete all of the subtasks, convert the next piece into a subtask, and bump the parent task to the desired day.

Via subtasks

  1. Create a single task.
  2. Add all of the constituent pieces in as subtasks
  3. For the subtasks you plan to work on today, add time estimates.
  4. Once you complete all of the subtask bump the parent task to the desired day and repeat the process.

From an integration
You can use one of the strategies above or pull the task in from the integration each day. It can be helpful to rename the task's title in Sunsama something specific to what you are going to do today.

Should recurring work be a recurring task or a recurring event?

Recurring tasks give you the flexibility to decide exactly when you'll work on something each day or each week. In Sunsama, recurring tasks don't have a time on the calendar on each day of their occurrence by default. As you plan each day, you can add them to your calendar by dragging and dropping them to the calendar or by right clicking on the task and saying "Add to calendar". This gives you flexibility on exactly when you do it each day.

Recurring events (meetings) are best used when the work is an "appointment" and it has to happen at that time.

For example, I have a daily recurring task to review my email but the time I do this changes each day based on my other obligations. If you have tasks that you need to do at a fixed time everyday or don't want that flexibility e.g. "pick up kids from school" or "morning journal" then you should create a recurring event in your underlying Outlook/Google calendar. Then, as you plan each day in Sunsama, you can just have those imported into your task list.

Managing the privacy of your tasks

The easiest way to make all your tasks private is to use a Private workspace. When you set your workspace as private, it creates a private Sunsama instance for everyone in your workspace. No task, channel, or event information is shared between users of the workspace. The only thing that is shared is the billing method.

Private workspaces are a good option when you want everyone to have their own personal Sunsama but want to consolidate billing.

If you are in a collaborative workspace you can make use of channel privacy and personal contexts.

1. Channel based privacy: You can create private channels. Only members of that channel will see any tasks or events placed in that channel.

2. Personal context: You can create a "personal context". Any tasks in this context or it's sub channels will be visible only to you. Personal contexts also allow you to easily filter out "personal" tasks from cluttering up your view of your work tasks.

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Default Channel/Context

Set a private channel or personal context as your "default" channel to make sure all new items created always start as private items.

You can move those items into collaborative contexts later, if you'd like.

Decluttering your task view

In order to minimize attention residue, you can take a few steps to keep your view of Sunsama de-cluttered.

  • Minimize subtasks: Right click on a task in the kanban to select hide subtasks. It's usually not helpful to see all your subtasks until you are actively working on a task.
  • Use Today View and Focus Mode
  • Filter to the relevant context. For example, during the workday, you may want to filter to your work context so you aren't being visually reminded of things you won't do till the evening anyway.
  • Move tasks you aren't doing. Today's task column in Sunsama isn't a backlog, it's supposed to be the list of things you can actually accomplish today. Move things you won't get done to tomorrow, the backlog, or delete them.