Stack Method for managing email?

Has anyone explored the stack method for email management?

It looks intriguing. At the same time, I have a — ahem! — well-developed folder structure that I’m reluctant to dismantle. So if you have used it, I’m very curious to hear how it works for you.



The method looks intriguing to be sure.

My quick read is that the goal is to redefine your approach to email in two ways: how you process it and how often you process it. I am almost reminded of the getting things done approach, only applied to email.

I don’t think that implementing the stack method means that you cannot have well-developed folder structures to archive email for historical records. It simply means that you also have a parallel approach to treat email as actionable items, and that you do so in a well-defined way (the stack method rather than the GTD method).

Thanks for the link. It gives me some support to know that I can likely be more productive when I purposely shut down the buzz that I get around email. I may start to template some of their approaches into my own email processing routines.



I’m intrigued, thanks for the link. I have a system I’m finally happy with at the moment, very much based on GTD, but I’m always happy to look for refinements (and less overhead).

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I’ve setup a very simple system for my email to get to Inbox 0:

  • any cc goes to a cc-inbox that I work through IF I have spare time (and are treated same as inbox items from there)
  • all non-actionable emails go to a reference folder, or are deleted right away
  • all actionable emails go to my OmniFocus inbox as a task, and are moved to an “actions” folder in my mail app

David Allen’s GTD workflow diagram is the basis for this workflow, and it allows me to merge my action mgt (gtd) with my email mgt.

My email app is open 4 times a day, for about 15 minutes, to process the email.
I rarely have email stuck in my inbox for more than 3 hours, and when done my inbox is at 0 and I can get some actual work done.


I’ve been trying this out today, given that I have a big backlog to get through. So far it seems positively brilliant, and useable in conjunction with OF for Waiting and Deferred items.


Never heard of it, but curious enough to watch the videos.

He borrows a lot from GTD, but using email as tasks, in an email client? Yikes!

(In general people are bad at email subjects, so your “tasks” will rarely be clear and actionable)

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I’d concur with the comment above that dismantling isn’t necessary.

In the last 10 years or so I’ve gone towards the single Archive approach, though not all the way. I’d guess that 90% of my work emails now go into one of two folders, admin for general university stuff and dept for my own department. And I can still find everything I need. So it may be possible to keep your old structure for historical purposes, and broaden / aggregate it considerably going forwards, without going all in with the Archive.