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Cutting bureaucracy – 5 ways to sharpen your scissors

I’ve been on the case for cutting bureaucracy before in relation to my profession, customer success. Beyond that, there are so many good reasons for doing it. It’s the bane of modern life and often the preserve of large, monolithic organisations. But no one is immune and especially in an already chaotic and complex world, we MUST make a conscious decision to cut it at every turn. Here are some ways.

1. Way of the minimalist – remove until it breaks
I’ve already written about the way of the minimalist for creative productivity. Here too it can go far beyond the pursuit of creativity. Every time you are designing or building something that governs how you or others should work (process, approach, framework, etc.), think first about whether it’s even needed. If yes, take a stab at a first draft and then with close scrutiny, think about every step and whether it’s really needed – if not remove it. Remove as much as you can, until it breaks what you came up with.

2. Bureaucracy busters
There is a risk of creating more bureaucracy but if you keep a small team that are empowered to assess, audit and advise/cut, this could work. Punish unnecessary complexity, reward simplicity and eloquent action. I could have called the team the bureaucracy police but that is a stretch – they should not have that kind of power and its more about carrot than stick.

3. Empower employees and let them decide
Keep complexity out of the system (processes) and with people who can mostly figure things out for themselves. At least trust them to.  Processes should be minimal (see first point) when designing anything. 

4. Favour action and decision making
Help the company become action or decision driven. Movement is the key. Inaction will eventually lead to procrastination and inertia and these bedfellows provide fertile grounds for bureaucracy to flourish. When we are at a loose end, we tend to focus on unnecessary things – when a decision is made and action is needed, we will often go for the line that is shortest.

5. Brutal prioritisation
Ask yourself why you are doing something at every step of the way and how it leads to where you want to go. If it’s not going to help on the journey, it isn’t a priority and you can cut it. Only by being brutal in saying no, will you get to an eventual yes – more on the power of yes and no.

Walking around with a t-shirt might help remind you and everyone else to be on the lookout for this pernicious malady and cut it back at every chance you have so buy one today 😎

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Stop waiting for the permission bus

I’ve made it analogous to waiting for a bus, this whole topic of permission, and how it pertains to work. What I mean is I often see teams or individuals waiting for permission before they take any action. Sometimes they know who they seek permission from, often not – they are just waiting for someone to give them the green light. Or the permission they seek is from the right person but not needed. It’s like waiting for a bus when maybe walking will do because the destination is just around the corner, you just don’t know it. Or the bus is cancelled, and you are waiting in vain.

Another way of putting this notion is often attributed to Grace Hopper: It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission.

My point with this DanelDoodle, is clearly not to be waiting for permission.

Obviously, this does not apply in every single case. There will be times when you need to get something cleared before acting. Maybe it’s something you need expert input on, like a perspective on something that may have legal implications.

Most of the time though, people are just avoiding responsibility for decision making because they fear being blamed for the result if it’s not positive.

I say we get paid to take risks. Sensible risks but risks none the less, where outcomes are seldom certain.

Unless you have just come out of education and super early in career, you will have built up knowledge and skill and that is what you are being paid to use.

Managers should also build this culture into their teams and organisations.

So buy a t-shirt and drive decision making. Don’t worry too much about the consequences. If needed, ask for forgiveness – just don’t make the same mistake again.

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Unlocking Potential

I’d like to think this is one of my superhero skills. Maybe it’s because of the mentoring work I do. I am often trying to figure out, with the individuals in the company’s I mentor, or simply the individuals I meet, how to unlock their potential. A lot of the time they are young people, my children or those of my friends, or those at schools where I sometimes go to talk. I am often trying with my own self. So even if it isn’t, this post and DanelDoodle can serve as my call to action for it to become so. Maybe it works for others too.

Potential is often related to enthusiasm and I’m a natural born enthusiast so that may be one of the reasons I’m so enthusiastic about potential.

But honestly, I do think you have to have some kind of enthusiastic streak about you, if not in general, then at least for the area in which you are trying to unlock potential. This goes for yourself or for others you are trying to help.

You could probably succeed through sheer determination or doggedness. But your odds of success are exponentially increased the more enthusiastic you are about what you are doing and how you can get the best of yourself or others while doing it and getting better at it.

It is through my enthusiasm that I often inspire myself and others, so I am told, to attempt something that they thought might not be possible. Or to try harder to unlock the potential necessary to overcome a blocker or challenge in achieving something.

In this last point I am reminded of the famous Winston Churchil quote:

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.

Sir Winston Churchill

So, whether you are doing it for yourself or for others, be enthusiastic about it. But the key point is to unlock potential.

Tap into the boundless in yourself and everyone, not to succeed at everything necessarily because that’s impossible and unnecessary, but never to succumb to the dumb inertia caused by doubt.

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Content automation and Microsoft’s new OneNote Dictation tool

Creating content is really hard. I’ve been blogging now for the last 15 years and I can tell you, any way I can find to make it better, faster and more efficient, I will do it. So in this post I’m going to share why it’s important and what I’m doing in this area. This post was mostly dictated with some manual intervention from me. And I start the automating in this post with the new Table of Contents block announced recently which lists the main points I’m covering.

Importance of content

First a small note on content creation and why it’s so important? This deserves an entire post but let me just say that content is important if you want to create attention and be found, and fresh content is the most important in this regard. So regularly creating new content is something to strive for and that is the hard part. That’s all I’ll say on this for now.


I’ve written several posts around automation and I’m using several tools to automate the way that I blog. Here’s a post written with the help of Writesonic, an AI tool that takes suggested prompts from you and generates content. You can tweak that content and I had to do about 40% of that in the post. I thought it was pretty good. But the percentage of input that I had to provide was not ideal, I felt. I also felt it took away too much input from me, at the same time. I guess this balance is just something I would need to get used to.

Another way that I’ve tried to automate things is by curating content and sharing it with readers. I’m using Microsoft Power Automate to bring content in from the web through an RSS feed and automate blog post creation. This is working really well and here is where I explained the process.

Hacks and shortcuts

There are other ways to make content creation easier that I’ve discovered. One way is through automating processes within the tool that you use. I use WordPress for example and for my featured images in every post, I use a plugin to create default featured images, based on tags I assign to a post. With WordPress I also use the copy post or page function if I’ve got a really good format that I want to reuse for a new post. It words kind of like a template. The other thing I do with WordPress is create reusable blocks of content which I use frequently in posts. Finally, with Jetpack Social, I automate the sharing of posts to social media. All these activities shave many minutes on my publishing process and it all adds up.

Speech to text

Now onto the main point of this post, which is the use of Microsoft’s OneNote dictation tool, it’s just been announced. As I mentioned at the beginning, this post was mostly dictated by me, although there has been some manual intervention. I have to say I’m really impressed with the speed and the accuracy of the translation. One thing I would suggest is to take out the auto punctuation (do that in settings), because this adds full stops in when you’re pausing, and it’s probably a little too much and fast. Otherwise, I’m really impressed and this post has taken a very short period of time to create and check. I’d say that I dictated about 85% of this post and the rest was manual intervention.

If you consider it and use it in the same context (to create written content) then read my conclusion for some pointers.


I’m going to use this function more for future posts. One thing I have to say, I did use some bulleted points to guide my dictation and I would suggest you do the same. It’s important to have an outline for your posts and not just “shoot from the hip”. So in other words, some upfront preparation. Having said that, it’s also very useful to have your raw thoughts captured and then be able to improve and enhance them manually.

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How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Marketing Forever

Today, marketers need to be agile, intuitive and strategic to thrive. In future, they’ll need intelligence, of the artificial kind. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing how we market forever. AI is the ability for computers to process data and make decisions based on that information. It can solve complex problems, identify patterns in data and learn from new information. AI uses Machine Learning algorithms so that computer programs can learn as new information becomes available. Marketing programs are using AI in everything from audience segmentation and targeting, to content creation and social media optimization. Let’s explore how businesses are using AI in marketing today.

NOTE: This article was written with the support of Writesonic. In fact it should take credit for about 60% of the content you read in this post. I wanted to make a case in point and test out the options. I read about the options from this article: 31+ Best AI Writer: Free AI Writing Assistant [July 2022]. That article was pointed out to me by a friend on LinkedIn. If you read that thread on LinkedIn you will see that that start of it is a similar case in point – I was trying to automate some content publishing functions. As you can see this topic is very much top of mind and that’s because a lot is happening in this space. In this article, I took the copy that was produced by Writesonic and tweaked it, exactly as my friend suggested and I was left feeling inspired and not that I was cheating. You be the judge on how it worked.

Why Is AI in Marketing Important?

For decades, marketers have been using data to inform their strategies, but manual, human-led processes are limiting. Manual processes aren’t scalable, and it’s difficult to get the level of precision that an AI solution can offer. AI offers marketers a chance to automate and increase the effectiveness of their strategies by creating the right technology to meet their unique needs. There’s evidence to suggest that AI adoption in marketing will increase significantly over the next few years. Past reports from a CMO Survey indicated that 41% of marketers were planning to increase their AI spending in 2018. The same report predicted that AI adoption in marketing will grow globally by 5X, with $37 billion being spent on AI in 2020. Considering it is now 2022, you’d expect that to be borne out and a quick search finds many studies corroborating that, like this one: AI Marketing Adoption: A 5-Step Guide | Emarsys.

Audience Segmentation and Targeting

One of the best uses for AI in marketing is audience segmentation and targeting. AI helps marketers create more personalized marketing campaigns by segmenting their audience and targeting specific groups. For example, AI can help marketers identify which customers are more likely to buy their products. Some marketing software can automatically collect data about customers, campaigns or website visitors. That data can then be used to build customer profiles. Other marketing software can use your existing customer data to create audience segments. AI can also be used to explore your existing customer data to find patterns that can be used to create audience segments.

Content Creation

With AI, marketers can use technology to help with this task, as I have. This could significantly reduce the time and cost of creating content. A few ways that AI can be used to create content include:

  1. Sentiment analysis – AI can help analyse the sentiment of your current content to provide insights that can be used to create more effective content.
  2. Automated journalism – AI can be used to create articles based on what’s happening in the world, or on topics you want to cover. This technology can be used to create weekly or daily content without the need for human intervention.
  3. Automated content curation – AI can be used to collect, organise and publish content from various sources. It can be used to maintain your social media channels and from the video at the end, you can see how the tool can be used to arrive at SEO optimised material that is useful for attractive and relevant post titles.

What I fear is that authenticity and originality is lost. And what about the nuanced perspective that you get from deeply personal insights in a specialist topic in which you have deep experience – can AI ever replace that?

I think that as long as you use it to support your writing and not in place of, this could be a winning combination. One I am willing to try and evolve with.

Summing up

Artificial Intelligence has been around for a long time and has always been used to automate repetitive tasks, but only recently has it been used to replace the most creative tasks in marketing such as content creation. With AI playing a significant role in marketing, there is no doubt that it will change the industry forever and it will be difficult for marketers to ignore this technology. Check out a video demo below of the very same function I used to create the basis for this article.

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Upgrade your mental operating system

I’d love to tell you I have a simple solution for what’s promised in the title but all I have to offer is a t-shirt 😬I do at least have the solution but simple it is not. Meditation is what I’m talking about. That’s clearly what this new design is intended to convey. This is an extension of my DanelDoodle‘s where I’ve selected some for printing on T-Shirts and you can find others in the shop.

While I’m not going to talk about how to meditate in this post, since it is focused on the new design, I can point you to an eBook I created on the subject some time ago: Mindful over Mind Full.

Having said that, I do want to say a little about why meditation is the route to a new kind of operating system.

It is well documented from scientific based research, that meditation does change your brain in some pretty amazing ways.

But apart from any evidence you might need to justify why you should meditate or at least try to, you have to experience the difference.

Long term impact is not going to be felt overnight but even just with one meditation session, you should feel a little calmer, clearer of mind, more focused.

Over time, it really does change the way you operate. I have been meditating for over 10 years on and off and I every time I meditate consistently, I feel like I’ve been through an upgrade.

A newer, better version of myself and with each version upgrade, I do get a better set of features.

So give it a try and then buy the T-Shirt so you can say you’ve been there 😉

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Creativity Boosters to get you in the Flow – 4 of 4 – Nature

We all know Creativity at work is important. It is a leading driver of innovation and it boosts productivity. And when you are in the right flow, you are more creative and productive. Other than having a formulaic approach to better flow (Formula pins down what gets people in the “Flow”) we all want to know what leads to better creativity and some of the other outcomes it contributes to. I know what works for me and instinctively and from experience, you might know about these too. In this four part series I want to share what works for me – this post covers nature and the creativity boosters tag captures all the posts.


First a little more about creativity and why it is so important at work. Each post from the series will elaborate on one aspect of this and then go onto the specific creativity booster that supports it.

Did you know creativity is a relatively recent phenomenon? It does seem counterintuitive since humans have been creative from the get-go, one would think. It is what set us apart from other species. But according to this article (which also has other excellent info on creativity) and Google’s Ngram tool, it wasn’t really part of the popular lexicon until midway through the last century: What is creativity? The ultimate guide to understanding today’s most important ability.

And it has come a long way since then.

One could say its meaning needs reassessing.

A recent study by Microsoft and Steelcase came up with some new themes which I have captured below – study article here: The Creative Shift: How Place + Technology + People Can Help Solve 21st Century Problems.

Click to enlarge


Whether you are for mountains, forest or water (classic icebreaker question) getting out into nature will do the trick for your creativity.

study published in 2012 was one of the first to address the effect of time spent in nature on higher-level tasks of the creative intellect, such as problem-solving. 

In 2013, research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that walking in a city park or any green space for as little as 25 minutes is enough to give your brain a rest and boost cognitive functioning.

I am very lucky to have gorgeous countryside on my doorstep and frequently try to take breaks in my day and especially when I am in the middle of a work challenge that requires creative thinking – which is pretty much always. It helps I need to walk some of my furry keeps 🐶🐶.

When I can I go on longer excursions – here is a video below from a morning hike (18 miles) I went on with a friend. I challenge you to immerse yourself in the audio (turn up the sound for the bird song) and visual and remain unmoved – imagine immersing yourself for longer than the 15 second video snippet allows.

To really make a difference to my creative output I go on longer excursions, or OuterVentures as I like to call them. Mostly these are on vacations where I try to make access to nature at least partly possible or through longer hikes with friends. I’m about to go on one such hike through Scotland on the West Higland Way: West Highland Way – Scotland’s Best Loved Long Distance Walking Route. I’ll do a write up on my return but I know I am going to come back fired up with creative juices as is always the case.

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Creativity Boosters to get you in the Flow – 3 of 4 – Meditation

We all know Creativity at work is important. It is a leading driver of innovation and it boosts productivity. And when you are in the right flow, you are more creative and productive. Other than having a formulaic approach to better flow (Formula pins down what gets people in the “Flow”) we all want to know what leads to better creativity and some of the other outcomes it contributes to. I know what works for me and instinctively and from experience, you might know about these too. In this four part series I want to share what works for me – this post covers meditation and the creativity boosters tag captures all the posts.


First a little more about creativity and why it is so important at work. Each post from the series will elaborate on one aspect of this and then go onto the specific creativity booster that supports it.

Does creativity still matter in the age of Artificial Intelligence? That is a central question of our times as both “capabilities” are so in demand and prominent. My view is a resounding YES.

AI is becoming capable of creating music, art, code, etc. It is even driving outcomes in customer engagement. What then for the role of human originality. In my view, it is in combination that we can expand the infinite possibilities and solutions – technology, data and the human touch blended to achieve scalable solutions that meet unique human needs or spark unique human engagements.

Take customer engagement. Though AI is being used to driver greater customer engagement outcomes, humans are creative thinkers, seeing connections between things that might not seem at all related. Humans often see obscure links to find solutions to seemingly impossible problems. Humans also bring emotional intelligence and empathy, interpreting emotions and meaning from nuances in body language, voice, and even silence and adjusting as needed.

Empathy is critical too and showing that you understand a customer’s dilemma is the first step to helping them solve their problem. 

Human cognition is also innately intuitive, using life experiences to make rapid decisions. We don’t just use the facts in front of us to make judgments and draw conclusions. We draw on experience and knowledge accumulated over a lifetime. 

These are the things that make us creative powerhouses but together with machines we can stretch possibilities and performance as this HBR study confirms: Collaborative Intelligence: Humans and AI Are Joining Forces.

Click to enlarge


I have written an eBook on Mindfulness practice and how it can lead to better outcomes at work including how it can improve your creativity. Improved mindfulness is an outcome of meditation BUT that is not the point of meditation.

As Alan Watts conveys in this video:

Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment and therefore if you meditate for an ulterior motive, that is to say, to improve your mind, to improve your character, to be more efficient in life, you’ve got your eye on the future and you are not meditating.

Meditating to improve your creativity is the same thing. Having said that, done well and for the right purpose, meditation definitely does improve a vast number of things as a result, including your creativity – or so I find.

And whether it’s through meditation or an increased level of mindfulness, there are also things you can do to increase your flow state and inspiration potential or just get you back on the right path. Here are a few pointers:

  • Activities you can do to influence an “aha moment” brain state:
    • Reduce distractions (sensory deprivation), e.g. meditation session with eyes closed, go into a dark space, etc.
    • Think positive (it activates the anterior cingulate which expands your scope of thought)
    • Widen horizons (imagine yourself in a vast environment like space, or a different one, like another country)
  • Notice when you have the urge to “push through” or “think harder” and try stepping away instead. Stepping away is part of the creative process. Giving your unconscious mind time to reorganize the information and clarify it for you. 
  • Setting aside time for creative play provides the space the mind needs to work out how to bring ideas to life.  Everyone has the capability of creativity.  Think of it as forming patterns in unique ways. Here is a sample of some activities for creative play.  The key to play is to detach from the outcome and release yourself from the rules and structure.  In other words, just see what comes up without judgement!
    • Sketching – I swear by it with my DanelDoodles.
    • Brainstorming
    • Free-writing
    • Non-dominant hand exercises
    • Fantasy/Day Dreaming
    • Dance/Free movement
    • Decorating your workspace or home – just rearranging things can sometimes help, even clearing things up (especially clutter)
    • Tinkering
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Creativity Boosters to get you in the Flow – 2 of 4 – Coffee

We all know Creativity at work is important. It is a leading driver of innovation and it boosts productivity. And when you are in the right flow, you are more creative and productive. Other than having a formulaic approach to better flow (Formula pins down what gets people in the “Flow”) we all want to know what leads to better creativity and some of the other outcomes it contributes to. I know what works for me and instinctively and from experience, you might know about these too. In this four part series I want to share what works for me – this post covers coffee and the creativity boosters tag captures all the posts.


First a little more about creativity and why it is so important at work. Each post from the series will elaborate on one aspect of this and then go onto the specific creativity booster that supports it.

Half of us will need to reskill in the next five years, as the “double-disruption” of the economic impacts of the pandemic and increasing automation transforming jobs takes hold.

That’s according to the third edition of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Reportwhich maps the jobs and skills of the future, tracking the pace of change and direction of travel.

The World Economic Forum has taken data from LinkedIn and online learning platform Coursera with which to track with unprecedented granularity, the types of specialized skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, which are in demand across multiple emerging professions. Here are the top 10 skills needed with Creativity clearly amongst them.


It is probably no coincidence that the London coffeehouses of the 17th & 18th centuries were the engines of creation that helped drive the Enlightenment – the European intellectual movement that emphasized reason and individualism rather than tradition.

Yes a recent study showed that caffeine boosts problem-solving ability and not creativity, but that is not what we expect from coffee. If creativity takes hard work (which it does), then coffee is how you prime the pump. The study also showed that caffeine increases focus, alertness and motor skills. The rest is still up to you, but at least you will be ready for the creative juices to flow or the creative muse to visit.

Here is how I focus on the best coffee. My go to is the Bialetti Moka Pot and with my Italian background that is probably no surprise, I grew up with it. I often use Illy or Lavazza blended coffee beans and from time to time, I grind my own beans when I find good ones. I don’t only use it for Espresso’s which it is typically associated with. I have a slightly larger pot and I make one entire pot for myself first thing in the morning, often with just a little bit of warm milk. Or if I want to spoil myself on occasion, I froth some hot milk (I have a Lavazza milk frother for that).

Thats how I start my day and also the time I put aside for serious creative work, the earlier the better. If needed, I add a second pot and then that’s it, no more creative work, or coffee.

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Creativity Boosters to get you in the Flow – 1 of 4 – Music

We all know Creativity at work is important. It is a leading driver of innovation and it boosts productivity. And when you are in the right flow, you are more creative and productive. Other than having a formulaic approach to better flow (Formula pins down what gets people in the “Flow”) we all want to know what leads to better creativity and some of the other outcomes it contributes to. I know what works for me and instinctively and from experience, you might know about these too. In this four part series I want to share what works for me – this post covers music and the creativity boosters tag captures all the posts.


First a little more about creativity and why it is so important at work. Each post from the series will elaborate on one aspect of this and then go onto the specific creativity booster that supports it.

While creativity is highly important in business, it’s an abstract process that works best with a concrete structure. This is where design thinking comes into play.

Top industries are hiring those with Design Thinking Skills

From: The Importance of Creativity in Business, 25 January 2022.


You don’t have to be an avid muso to appreciate this. In fact sometimes it can distract, as it does me. Thats why the music you choose to support the work you are doing should be in the background and down low.

One new study explores music as a source of creativity. Since music has been shown to improve cognition and enhance learning and memory in other studies, it makes sense that perhaps it has an impact on creative thinking, too. 

From: How Music Helps Us Be More Creative, November 17 2017.

Here is my Spotify playlist. It’s made up of LoFi beats and very chilled music – I use it any time I need to tap into my creativity. Maybe it helps you :)

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Finite creativity and the importance of time out

Creativity is important. In our personal lives as well as business. Creative juices are sustenance for our innovation output. Why then do we treat it as if it were an infinite resource that can be tapped at will.

Creativity depletion deniers will say there is no limit to our capacity to be creative. But it is the possibilities that are limitless, not our capacity to be creative.

You can fill a glass only so much. What overflows is not necessarily of the same quality.

The antidote is time out – OuterVentures

Time out from the daily grind, from the incessant, plodding monotony.

Time out and immersion in different cultures, experiences, environments.

I am extremely fortunate to be able to enjoy the possibilities. I have just come back from a vacation. I regularly get out for hikes and travel frequently (although less so of late for obvious reasons). I had forgotten how beneficial this is.

My latest OuterVenture has taken my wife and I to Cape Town for the last two weeks.

What an amazing, vibrant and richly cultured city. Full of entrepreneurs and innovators making the most of sometimes challenging circumstances. What beautiful landscapes too. Such refreshing experiences overall.

This site is all about InnerVentures – an inward looking pursuit most times.

As you may have gathered, OuterVentures is the opposite.

As much as it is important to spend time investigating inwardly, it is equally important to lift our gaze from our navels. As Marcus Aurelius, the renowned Roman philosopher famously exhorted, stop thinking and act!

Anyway, some of the best snaps from my recent holiday below. Next is a 7 day hike in Scotland on the West Highland Way.

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Content management with WordPress evolved – full site editing 1

Last month WordPress announced that full site editing was coming to its users of which I am one. I’ve been meaning to take it for a spin but haven’t managed to until now. This post is an attempt at documenting my experiences as I try and learn the new functionality as well as get to grips with how to test new features and functions like this on my active site without breaking it. I’ll track it all with my WordPress tag.

So on the very last point mentioned, I came across this option for How to Create Your Own WordPress Staging Site. I was going to explore that option but before I could, I came across this video below – a recording of a webinar run by WordPress on full site editing.

It does a great job not only of showing how full site editing works, but also goes through an alternative site staging option. It shows how to create a new site on WordPress and export and import your current site content and test that with a new block theme that works with full site editing. This way you test the new site theme and functionality in a kind of staging environment with existing content until happy and then you could switch to this new site when happy. Or upgrade your current site knowing what works and how.

But as attractive as this last option seemed, I soon ran into problems.

Problems with using as a staging site

  1. I’m currently on a Business Plan which is needed for enabling WooCommerce.
  2. My site has ecommerce functionality based on WooCommerce and using the Storefront theme currently. The Storefront theme is not currently capable of full site editing.
  3. I found a cool alternative: Wowmall – WooCommerce block based theme
  4. The problem is on a free WordPress site you cannot run WooCommerce and nor can you upload the Wowmall theme – you need to be on a Business Plan at least. This is cost prohibitive.
  5. My Plan B is to try run this on a an Azure plan I have, i.e self hosted WordPress on which I can instal WooCommerce and upload the Wowmall theme after grabbing it from here. Good article here on how to run WordPress on Azure.

So that’s all for now. I’ll update my progress in another post.

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The opportunity for inspiration is infinite

I started my DanelDoodles as a way to capture simple inspiring thoughts visually, for myself. I also use them for visual sensemaking. Some of my early inspirational ones can be found here. They are also a great creative outlet.

I started creating them using the Paper 53 App and their Pencil stylus on an iPhone (now just Paper after being acquired by WeTransfer and their stylus is discontinued). Then I migrated to iPad and Apple’s Pencil. Now I create on both iPhone and iPad – the former for quick idea capturing, the latter for finishing in higher quality. I’ve also moved on to Procreate now – trying to get to even higher quality.

You could say the market for inspiration is infinite. You need only look at the many inspirational cards, mugs or t-shirts out there, etc. Which is one of the reasons I started my little side gig – getting my DanelDoodles onto t-shirts. But this is not for massive commercial success – with all the competition that would be a challenge.

But I do want to try and be different. I’d like my designs to be original, quirky, thought provoking or at the very least, to provoke a smile.

I have created two categories for them – one for personal inspiration (Mind Doodles) and the other for inspiring people at work or in a work context (Work Doodles). This is pretty much in line with the main purpose of this entire site, captured by the strap line: Adventures inside Organisations and of the Mind.

Which leads me to the featured image at the top of this post. This is a kind of showcase image and not just aligned to the title. You can also see it on a t-shirt and buy it if you like too – I’ve embedded the product page at left

I use it to remind myself when things are tough or I am down, that there is beauty everywhere and life is short so I should open my eyes to see that.

As far as I am aware, this is entirely original meaning I did not copy this from anyone or anywhere. I can’t say that’s the case 100% for this or any of my work since nothing is ever original and anyway, great artists steal (said a pretty good artist called Pablo once).

But I’m not saying I’m a great artist. I’m just having some fun, inspiring myself and hoping that perhaps that may rub off on others that might need it.

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Making your personal goals stick in 2022

I’m about to share how I do what is described in the headline. That’s not to say it’s guaranteed to work for you. But I’ve been doing this for at least the last 5 years and its starting to stick and work better and better for me. Maybe it helps you too or you get some ideas.

First some screenshots of my phone screens and then some explanation.

The first thing to explain is that I manage this all on my iPhone because that is probably the thing that gets most of my attention day in and day out. The first screenshot above is of my Lock Screen and the other two are alternative views of my home screen. This nails my first approach on effective goal setting – visibility – but let me handle that and others separately.


So I’ve mostly covered this point in the last paragraph above. The only thing to add is that I cover different aspects in the different views. The Lock Screen is where I have tangible goals around my creative output. Of the other two, one is intended to change every month and guide that month’s intentions and the other every quarter for similar reasons.


There are a ton of articles (many based on good research) that describe why writing things down makes it more likely for what you wrote down to stick. This applies to goals. I use an app called Scribblet which allows you to add written notes to widgets – the second two screenshots above. For the Lock Screen I just used the Paper app.


Not all my goals, aspirations or intentions are as quantifiable and tangible as the ones you see on my Lock Screen but all are attainable. And you may argue my Q1 aspirations are too vague but I do have ideas behind each of them – I just didn’t want to take up screen space by writing them down in detail and also I’d prefer not to have them be seen.

That’s it, in essence.