Doodling is a polarizing topic; most people are firmly against it or strongly for it. Whatever your position might be on the fine art of random marks there is strong evidence that this helps our brains connect the dots.
First, a disclaimer: I’m a mad doodler. One of my earliest birthday gifts as a child was a doodle art set. I used it virtually non-stop until the psychedelic markers ran out of ink. My old school books are filled with seemingly random lines, notes, and scribbles. My desk has always had a large calendar pad where I make endless notes and then cover in doodles. I’m firmly in the pro-doodle camp.
I’ve never thought to psychoanalyze my doodles and never really aware of what others may have thought if they happened to glance at my workspace. However ,I will never forget one workplace incident early in my career.
Working in a call center environment I spent most of my time speaking with finance customers. My desk pad was filling up with doodles. I took notes as I listened to clients and always had a pen in hand filling in the space on the large sheet of paper.
A senior manager stopped by and examined my doodles. Pointing at the page he remarked that this was clearly a sign of extreme stress and something I needed to work on. Clearly, he was not a doodler. I’ve been known to take things too personally, but I was devastated by his 15 second psycho analysis. Anyway, I’ve never stopped doodling.
I was really happy to see Sunni Brown’s recent TED conference presentation on the many benefits of doodling. The action of mixing notes and marks with visual and audible stimuli enhances the learning experience. Doodling helps the brain organize and store our thoughts. In short, it’s an amazingly productive mechanism for efficient memory and understanding. I’ll let Sunni explain in the video below.
Do you doodle?