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)


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.


Well I’m getting caught up on stacking after a few weeks slacking & this system works great for me. Especially with BTT & my Touch Bar:

I use the stack method as well and agree it’s brilliant! I set up keyboard shortcuts for each folder and then added them to my stream deck.
Love it

Just ran across this. It’s so cool that you’re all finding value in this.

@dfay What is BTT? @DannyR What is your “stream deck”. Would love any input or ideas on how to make it more valuable for people.


Hi Prasanth, I assigned a keyboard shortcut for each of my folders and then a key on the stream deck so I just need to press the key to file it accordingly.
I also created ones for ‘delete,’ ‘archive,’ ‘reply/all’ and some others. I’ll take a pic when I’m next at your desk.
Kudos for the great method and really high quality presentation on your site.
BTW- BTT is Better Touch Tool.

I implemented this about a month ago and really like it. I stuck with rigorous GTD for the tasks part in the “do” folder. But “out of the box,” it’s pretty compatible with GTD.

Thanks @Prasanth_Nair. You freed me from my elaborate nested e-mail archive folder hierarchy.

If anyone has suggestions for an iOS mail client or workflow that would be awesome - I end up doing my serious email processing on the Mac b/c iOS Mail’s folder handling is awkward.

I just powered through the entire course and love it!

I’ve combined The Stack Method™ with Superhuman, and it seems to work great.

A bit of feedback on the course:

  1. The reminder process may be outdated — many email clients allow you to automatically resurface an email if there is no response in a period of time.
  2. For Scheduled emails — include a link to the email in the Description or Location of the calendar event to avoid searching for it at all.