1. Create Your Folders
Create Action folders and When folders and learn how to edit and delete folders.
CREATE YOUR ACTION FOLDERS
To create your action folders, right click on your inbox and select the "New Folder" option. Remember to use the number in the action folder name so that it shows up in the correct order.
+ 1. Create a "1 reply" folder
This is the folder that contains emails you need to reply to in under 5 minutes. If the email is going to take you longer than 5 minutes, put it in your "2. Do (5+)" folder to be scheduled.
+ 2. Create a "2 do (5+)" folder
This folder will hold emails that you can do quickly, and emails that will take you longer than 5 minutes that need to be scheduled on your calendar to complete.
+ 3. Create a "3 meet" folder
This folder is for meeting or events that you need to accept or schedule. Remember to use the number in all your action folder names so that it shows up in order in your email application.
+ 4. Create a "4 remind" folder
This folder helps ensure that things aren’t slipping through the cracks. Put the emails you've BCC'd yourself on that you want to track into this folder. Remember to BCC yourself again if you need to follow-up so that the response stays in this folder.
+ 5. Create a "5 delegate" folder
This folder holds emails with tasks you need to delegate to other people to complete.
+ 6. Create a "6 review (cc)" folder
This folder is for emails that have information you need to review, or emails you have been CC'd on. This folder keeps the number of emails in the Reply folder down to a minimum.
+ 7. Determine if you need to customize your action folders.
If you don't need a folder, get rid of it, you can always add it back later. And if you need more folders, definitely add them. But try not to have too many folders otherwise it will feel cumbersome to work through your folders. When you name folders, remember to use short, action-oriented names.
CREATE YOUR WHEN FOLDERS
WHEN folders are best for creating pockets of information that you are certain that you will need to reference for example - when creating an annual report, doing taxes, writing a book, assembling collections, or working on other large or long-term projects.
+ 1. Create the When Folder
Create your When folder and give it the next number in sequence after your action folders. For example, if you have 6 action folders, name the next folder "7. When"
+ 2. Create active folders under this folder for reference
The key word to determine what active reference folders you need is the word "when.” When will you need to reference this information? Your archive folders will help you most if it’s clear when you will require their contents.
Remember: Arrange your folders in a hierarchy under your “When,” folder so that you can minimize side folders to cut down on distraction when going through your daily email work.
2. Set Up Your Environment
Turn off desktop notifications, turn on keyboard shortcuts and select your star presets.
TURN OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS
Email notifications distract us, are difficult to not click on, and as a result they wreck our concentration. We know that turning them off can be downright scary. Don’t worry, even with them off, you’ll still check your email. Follow our advice and do it, and if it doesn’t work for you, you can always turn them back on later.
+ 1. Click on "file"
Located in the upper right hand corner of the top bar menu.
+ 2. Then click on "options"
This is the second button from the bottom, above "Exit."
+ 3. Locate the message arrival section
This is the third gray header from the top. You should be able to see it without scrolling.
+ 4. Uncheck all the boxes in this section
To avoid any sort of interruption in your work, you will want to ensure NONE of the boxes in this section are checked. It should look like the image below.
+ 5. Click the "okay" button
The Okay button is located in the lower right corner to save all your changes.
CREATE YOUR QUICKSTEPS
+ 1. Locate the quicksteps in your menu bar
It is typically just to the right of the center of the menu bar and looks like the image below.
+ 2. Click on create new
It will have a small lightening bolt icon next to it.
+ 3. Name your new quickstep
Pick a name that will help you remember what the quickstep function is. It can be just the name of the folder you want to move emails into, or you may choose to include the number associated with the quickstep as well.
+ 4. Choose the action move to folder
Use the Drop Down Menu to choose an action for this Quickstep.
The Stack Method™ will only be using the Action Move to Folder.
+ 5. Select the folder you want to use for this quickstep
All of your folders will be displayed here. Remember that the folder you are selecting should match with the Name of your Quickstep.
+ 6. Select the shortcut key you would like to use
It helps to select Shortcut keys that relate to the hierarchy of your folder organization. For instance, if your first folder is "1 Reply" then set the shortcut to "CTRL+SHIFT+1" to make it easy to remember.
+ 7. Create quicksteps for all your action folders
Using the above steps, repeat until you have Quicksteps for all of your action folders. Make sure to test them afterwards.
3. Archive Your Old Emails
Clean all those old emails from your inbox to your archive.
ARCHIVE YOUR EMAILS BEYOND THE LAST THREE WEEKS
+ 1. Select all the old emails in your inbox that you would like to archive
You can do this by individually selecting emails while holding down the CTRL button or by selecting a string of emails by clicking the email at the top, holding the shift key, and selecting the email at the bottom.
We recommend taking anything older than 3 weeks and archiving them. If you forget anything, you can always find it back in your archive.
Also, we recommend archiving between 500 to 1000 emails at a time to keep your system from crashing.
+ 2. Hit the archive button
Remember that this will not delete the emails but move them out of your inbox. You can still search for these old emails later if you need to find them again.
+ 3. Review old folders
This is also a great opportunity to review old folders you have in your inbox. Check the contents of the folders and either archive the contents or move them to When folders.
+ 4. Continue until your inbox is clean
Continue archiving and sorting through old folders until your inbox is clear of all your old email and no old folders are cluttering up your newly organized Action and When folder structure.
4. Schedule Stacking Time
Schedule single or recurring events to Stack your email on your Outlook Calendar, and learn how to edit events.
CREATE RECURRING CALENDAR ENTRIES
Blocking out time to Stack helps you build the habit and ensures that you email when it's time to email, and do your other work when it's time to do that work. To set up recurring calendar sessions, follow the steps below:
+ 1. Go to your outlook calendar
You can find the option to do this in the bottom bar of your screen
+ 2. Click on new appointment
In the upper left corner.
+ 3. Fill in the subject, start, and end times for your calendar entry.
We recommend you label your longer session as "Stack: Folders" and your shorter sessions as "Stack: Inbox".
"Stack: Folders" will be your time slot to empty your inbox into your action folders and work through your action folders. This will typically be a longer 1 hour session.
"Stack: Inbox" will be a shorter time slot to work through your inbox and answer emails directly out of your inbox.
These fields are located under the main menu bar on the left side.
+ 4. Click on "Recurrence" and set your time slot to repeat each weekday
Find the "Recurrence" link, right above "Options"and schedule your calendar entries to recur every weekday.
If you have different schedules on different days, you may need more than one of the same type
+ 5. Click save and close
In the upper left hand corner.
+ 6. Admire your calendar entry
This is also a good time to check and make sure you got the correct date/time.
If you notice that the date or time is incorrect, you can double click on the event to access the previous screen and make any necessary changes.