I’ve written a lot about team productivity over the years. But team productivity is to some extent dependent on personal productivity. Just one loafer on your team can make it hard to ratchet up overall team performance. At the end of the day, I’m a big fan of highly performing teams. And yet, team productivity begins with the individual. In this blog, I’ll discuss Sunsama and five ways I’ve observed that it can help improve your productivity.
If you have a sluggard on your team, it helps to understand why they are not performing. It may be a situation where they are overwhelmed by too much busyness, or too many communications or meetings. I know people who act incredibly busy, but they never seem to accomplish much of value. They push a lot of paper, or they answer a lot of emails, but they don’t ever solve any real problems, make anything new, or sell anything of value.
As I have said before, a single focus can improve your productivity. Sunsama helps me find that single point of focus.
To begin, let me explain that Sunsama is a personal planning tool. It is not a project planning tool but integrates your email, calendar, and several different project tools, including Asana, Trello, and Jira. It is a rather young application and I look forward to a lot of growth and development from the company as the team evolves.
While I’ve only used it for about three weeks, I’m hooked. And I’ve found five ways that Sunsama can help improve your productivity.
1 — Sunsama begins with the premise that we are better served by calendars than to-do lists
Nir Eyal, author of Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, writes about the importance of being able to focus effectively and how a massive to-do list that you will never finish does little, other than promote frustration. Sunsama allows you to record tasks that you need to accomplish on the day that you plan to do them.
It then allows you to assign a duration and a channel (perhaps you select channels such as work, family, and community), so that you can track how you are balancing your time between your different priorities.
2 — Sunsama integrates all your meetings and work tasks into one calendar-oriented dashboard
A long to-do list or being super busy is not a mark of a high-achieving individual. Sunsama integrates your calendar and your task list. If you assign durations, Sunsama tells you if you are over-scheduled. Improving your productivity is not just about work. It’s about leading a balanced life that includes rest and personal care, friends, and family, and giving back to your community. Sunsama allows you to see all your calendars, email, and tasks in one place.
Through a daily planning process, you can bump tasks out when your day looks unrealistic. You can prioritize your work by ordering your tasks. You can review your task lists in the project tool(s) you use and drag the tasks that you want to focus on that day to your Sunsama list. And when you finish that task from your Trello project, it updates your Trello account as well. (I’m guessing the other integrations work similarly.) You can add calendar appointments to your task list. You can drag and drop emails that require a task be done to your task list and re-label them so that what you need to do is quite clear.
Sunsama is about leading a balanced life that includes rest and personal care, friends, and family, and giving back to your community. #sunsama #productivity #projectmanagement #smartprojex #todolist #balance
3 — Sunsama disables links on emails
I don’t know about you, but I get a fair amount of email that contains clickbait links. And to a large extent, I want to see this email. From newsletters to confirmation letters after purchasing goods, it’s email that I need. And yet, most of the time, we don’t need to click the links. But if you are like me, and you have a curious mind, it can be hard to resist the enticing offers. And so, Sunsama is a great tool for processing your email. It is a simple click to exit Sunsama and open your email to access your links.
4 — Productive people get the most important work done
Sunsama allows you to set up weekly objectives and align the tasks that are associated with those goals. It offers a weekly review process that allows you to see how much work you finished and how much time you devoted to those objectives, as well as each of your channels. Every client is different. Sunsama allows me to integrate work that I’m tracking in other tools into a personal dashboard so that I can see everything at a glance.
5 — Sunsama offers a focus mode
Sunsama allows you to click on a task and go into focus mode. There you can track the amount of time that you spend on the task. When you finish the task you are working on, it opens the next task on your list — still in focus mode. You can enter sub-tasks and notes and you can hover over the right side of your screen to reveal your calendar. You can take breaks and it will track how long before you return to the task.
Through daily planning, weekly planning, and the daily shut-down process, there are plenty of opportunities for you reflect, plan, note obstacles, or simply journal about your day or week, learning where you can improve. There is a streamlined mobile app, but the planning and reflection processes, which are critical to improving your productivity are in the browser or desktop tool.
Have you found a productivity app that works to improve your personal productivity? What is it?