The One Thing

We’re all busy. We all have infinite to-do lists that fill up faster than we can cross off the most urgent tasks. Being busy makes you feel productive, but it could be getting in the way of your most important project: YOU.


“Busy” is the most common reason people give me for not doing anything to build their brand so they can advance their career.  They make time for emails and meetings and teleconferences, but they don’t capture the true benefits of all those activities. Working in their career is getting in the way of working on their career. Sound familiar?


[More from Forbes: 16 Things You Should Do On Your Lunch Break]


Well, here’s the one personal branding habit you can’t be too busy for.


Document your wins. What’s the easiest way to do that?  Keep a job journal.


Why? When you take a minute to jot down the day’s achievements, you:


1. Acknowledge what makes you great. Your team members and clients are too busy to notice your daily victories, so it’s important to take a brief moment for self-congratulations. It’s a great confidence builder, and it helps you quantify and assess your strengths. Don’t forget to record the seemingly small triumphs, even the personal ones (“met the deadline despite cranky vendors … stayed calm under pressure!”).


2. See the difference between meeting goals because of motivation and meeting goals despite burnout. If you take an extra 90 seconds and record not only what you achieved, but how it felt to accomplish the task, you’ll get a great reality check. You’ll realize which activities and co-workers make you happy and which ones fill you with dread. This self-awareness is critical as you decide where you want to go with your career. It’s not just about “doing,” it’s about doing the things that energize you. This will also help you know when to take action, giving priority to the projects that will have the greatest impact for your career, your team and your company.


[More from Forbes: Five Steps To Standing Out At Work]


3. Get a clear picture of the kind of work you are doing. Do you find yourself in leadership roles? Are you perfectly content to execute someone else’s plans? Which types of projects do you prefer? Are you repeating an inefficient process over and over?


4. Shine during your weekly or monthly team meeting with your boss. You can speak clearly and articulately about all you accomplished in the prior week or month, and you’ll be the one with the latest facts when it’s time to deliver a progress report.


5. Easily prepare a dazzling portfolio for your annual review – the one that’s tied to your bonus and promotion! If you’ve written them down, you’re not going to forget those great things you did in January when you get to your annual review in December.  At the end of the year, you’ll have a complete list of accomplishments – approximately 260 entries. You can go through the list and highlight, sort, combine – whatever suits your style. And you’ll have a competitive edge, because you’ll have well-organized evidence. Instead of a vague conversation, you can have a full-blown presentation that showcases all the times you saved the company money, brought in business, made customers happy, and otherwise saved the day.  If you’re invited to interview at another organizations, these materials (except confidential ones, of course) translate into a great career-marketing portfolio. If you’re in business for yourself, a job journal is even more essential because it can enhance your pitch.


[More from Forbes: 14 Things You Should Do at the Start of Every Work Day]


So how do you do it? Follow these three steps:


1. Choose a consistent place and time of day. The job journal should become one of your favorite habits.


2. Until it becomes a habit, add it to your do-list or calendar. It’s an important activity that deserves to be a high priority in your life.

3. Do it.



Best AnswerAsker’s Choice

I agree with the previous answer, that you are worrying too much. No-one is going to bother “stealing” your brand unless you are successful, so concentrate on that first.

However, I’ll try to explain some of the basics, although this is a very complicated area of law.

Copyright exists automatically without any need to register it, and without any need for a notice or a (c) sign. All your “registration” has done is to provide some evidence of a date your logo was created – so you can prove this later. But in practice this is fairly easy to demostrate if the matter is ever disputed.

However, not all things can be copyright – copyright is limited to original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works; sound recordings, films or broadcasts; and typographical arrangements. A brand name (eg Cadburys or Tesco) is not a “work” for these purposes so cannot be copyright. However, a logo or a t-shirt design is an artistic work, so will be copyright provided it is original.

A trademark is a way of registering a brand name or a logo to prevent others from using it in a similar way to you. Registering a trademark is expensive and once done you need to protect the mark. If someone uses your mark and you don’t take action to stop them you risk losing the mark on the basis that it is no longer distinctive to you. This protection is itself very expensive.

Trademarks are limited to particular categories of goods or services. EG if you sell biscuits you could register the name “Ritz” as a trademark. But this will not enable you to prevent someone else using the name “Ritz” for their hotel chain. Also, each name and logo needs a separate registration with all the associated cost. EG you would need to register the name “My Brand” as well as your logo, and if you have several versions of the logo each of them separately. Trademarks can only be registered for brands that are in use or that you are intending to use within 5 years. And they need to be renewed every 10 years. And there are some quite complex rules about what can and cannot be registered as a trademark.

The (r) symbol has no meaning in the UK, nor is there any need to use the letters TM next to your logo. However, this does indicate that there is a trademark and it gives a hint that you intend to protect it.

Whether you register a trademark or not you can protect your brand through laws known as passing off. This gives you protection from anyone who uses your brand name to harm your business or confuse your customers.

Obviously all copyright and trademarks have an international angle. In general, a work that is copyright in the UK will have similar protection across the world, and vice versa. Trademarks are not so global, but you can register marks to give protection across the EU and you can register marks in other countries as well. But unless you are actually going to trade in those countries there’s no need to worry about whats happening there.

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