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Revolution’s Anna Mason’s productivity tip is to sort your emails

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Anna Mason, a partner for AOL founder Steve Case’s fund Rise of the Rest Seed, refers to herself the “human social network.”

Mason meets with 400 to 500 people in every city within the Revolution LLC network, and vets about just as many companies. Business Insider recently named Mason one of 100 people transforming business for her work taking the $150 million seed fund to the next level.

Emails from meeting with thousands of people a year can clog up anyone’s inbox. That can be costly, as the average professional already spends 28% of the workday reading and answering emails.

To keep her life organized, Mason told Business Insider her No. 1 productivity trick: categorizing her emails by “city, industry, or project” as soon as she gets them.

“Because we work with organizations, other investors, and startups across nearly 60 cities, this email hack has been core to the way I process, retrieve and reference daily work flows,” Mason said in an email interview.

Many highly efficient people swear managing their inbox is the key to success. Eva Chen, an exec at Instagram, says saving common stock responses — such as “I have an event, I can’t make it” or “I’ll be there” — saves the time it would take to type out individual responses. Audrey Gelman, co-founder of The Wing, told The Cut she has an elaborate “color-coding system” with over 60 categories.

Keeping your inbox tidy can even be a key leadership trait, as Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz reported. Colleagues assume people who don’t respond to emails are lazy, and a psychologist said people who can achieve “inbox zero” are seen as being less anxious.

For Mason, staying organized has cleared up time for her to individually meet with local politicians and power brokers to ensure her company’s funding helps startup economies outside Silicon Valley.

“I am continuously grateful for the opportunity to meet so many inspiring and thoughtful people through our work with Rise of the Rest and this helps make it easy to keep in touch, follow up, and help make introductions across our network,” Mason said.

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