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The Investor Who Calls Herself a ‘Human Social Network’ Keeps Her Inbox Organized Through Triaging Email as It Comes In

Why the world's most successful people will tell you: An organized email is often the key to getting ahead.

Julia Sudnitskaya / Shutterstock
Julia Sudnitskaya / Shutterstock

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

Mason meets with 400 to 500 people in every city within the Revolution 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 spends 28% of the workday reading and answering emails, a 2012 McKinsey report found.

Mason told Business Insider her No. 1 productivity trick to keep her life organized: 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 workflows,” Mason said in an email interview.

Many highly efficient people swear that managing their inbox is the key to success. Eva Chen, an exec at Instagram, said that saving 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 individual responses. Audrey Gelman, a cofounder 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. A CEO of a consultancy told her that people might assume that colleagues who don’t respond to emails are lazy, and a psychologist said that people who can achieve “inbox zero” could be seen as less anxious.

For Mason, staying organized has cleared up time for her to meet with local politicians and power brokers to ensure that 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.

This article was originally published on Business Insider.

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