As long as I can remember, I have been a doodler. It is a bit of an addiction really.
Within my work books, study notes, or address books, I can’t resist the urge to combine hand written information with stripes, shapes, colours, cartoony characters or hand-drawn fonts. In the past, certain teachers and managers have witnessed my doodling in meetings or lessons and looked negatively upon it, as to them, it appeared as though I was drifting off and focusing more attention on my art, and not on the message being delivered.
In my case, however, I think the opposite is true. I find that I can listen clearly, and retain more information when combining doodling with written notes, as opposed to just listening and writing alone. I guess that the visual artist in me uses the doodles as a way to keep my mind engaged and sharp.
I came across this interesting study, concluding that doodling may actually help focus thoughts and decrease the potential of a wandering mind.
The study had 40 people listen to a telephone message mentioning the names of eight people going to a party. Half of the participants were told to shade in squares and circles printed on a piece of paper while listening to the tape and the other half were given no task. After it was over, the participants were asked to recall the names in a surprise memory test. Those who had shaded in the shapes recalled 29% more information than those who didn’t.
Many people, most notably Sunni Brown, have written extensively on the subject of doodling and its benefits as an effective presentation tool, and info doodle videos have become a very popular way to engage a viewer visually, to help them retain large chunks of information, without losing focus.
This is all good news to me, as I can confidently continue in my doodling ways knowing that it has a positive effect on my mind and work. Not to mention it makes for a much more interesting notebook.
So, do you doodle too?