Six Email Signature Mistakes that Might Send the Wrong Message

How to leave a better impression with every correspondence

Last year, I scanned my hand-written initials and used them as part of my email signature. I thought it was a neat way to include a personal touch, something that would stand out.

Then I needed to search for an email I had received with an attachment. Every email I had sent (and many I had received in reply) for the past several months was in the list! I couldn’t find the message I was looking for, and I realized how annoying an image in your signature can be.

Email is an important part of how we communicate. Your signature is at the end of every message you send. Be sure it isn’t sending the wrong message about you.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Nastco

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French author, 1900–1944

See Results Early with the Principle of Seeds and Fruits

The same decisions will bring you the same results.

You should be open to new experiences and trying new things. You just won’t know if something is good until you’ve tried it, whether it’s food, music, or adventure. Our tastes and preferences are too varied for one-size-suits-all reactions.

Then there are things that are so obviously wrong, dangerous, or indicative of poor judgment that you know how it’s going to turn out without personally verifying it.

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Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Quick to Dismiss

You’ll never know what you’re missing out on.

My sister twisted off the cap and poured herself a glass of the thick, murky liquid. I was still trying to figure out what it was as she started sipping at it and closing her eyes in relaxed bliss. I told her it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen in a glass.

“Hey—don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.”

She was right. I retrieved another (much smaller) glass from the cupboard, poured myself a sample, and tasted the concoction. I then filled my glass and sat down to chat as we nursed our drinks. The stuff was delicious!

Looking at the ingredients to Odwalla’s Superfood, you’d think they put every green food into a blender and saw what came out. It looks absolutely vile, but it’s both delicious and nutritious.

It’s a great reminder to not be too hasty to judge.

Photo courtesy of © Colter Reed

How to Automatically Flag Starting Tasks in OmniFocus

Bring Scheduled Tasks to Your Attention, Right on Time

OmniFocus lets you track a due date and a start date for each task or project. (In OmniFocus 2, start dates are being rechristened as deferred dates; the behavior is the same.)

Due dates should be used for just that—when the task must be completed, or there will be consequences. Start dates are when the task becomes available—before then, you can’t do anything about it.

I used a two-pages-per-day format when I had a paper planner. Each day had space for you to write the tasks for that day. During weekly planning, you put a task on Thursday, and the task would be waiting when Thursday came.

You can use start dates to schedule OmniFocus tasks for specific dates. With a little bit of scripting, you can have starting tasks automatically show up in the list of what you’re doing today.

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We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney, Animation Pioneer, 1901–1966

Tracking Urgent and Important Tasks in OmniFocus

How to see the Quadrant 1 & 2 tasks that need your attention

Personal productivity is about getting the things you have to do out of the way so you can spend more time doing things you want to do.

Some of the things you do today are due today. Time’s up. Maybe you put it off until it became a crisis, or maybe it got dropped in your lap at the last minute. If it’s important, this is Quadrant 1. It happens.

Ideally, we can spend most of our day in Quadrant 2. Do important work early, while you still have time to do quality work.

OmniFocus lets you track both types of work and see what you need to get done today. Here’s how.

OmniFocus 2 for Mac