From little hearts and flowers, abstract patterns or faces through to real art, the doodler’s notebook is often covered with so many pictures it’s difficult to find the actual notes. You may even have got into trouble as teachers tend to see doodling as a sign of not paying attention. Some people do drift off in their minds as they draw, but for most doodlers, it’s a brilliant way to absorb new information.
If you’re a true doodler, you’ll focus best when your eyes and hands are busy, especially if you’re listening to a lecture or figuring something out. Although it may come across as a bit rude, doodling actually helps you take everything in and process it, and studies show that you’re also more likely to remember what you heard.
Although we don’t yet completely understand how this works, our brains are by nature visual and doodling seems to stimulate the part of the brain that helps us to think and concentrate, even if the information we’re hearing is quite boring (very helpful for those lectures where you just can’t seem to help drifting off!). It also activates and brings together different areas and pathways of our brain, so we’re increasing our chances of suddenly understanding how it all fits together.
When to doodle
Bear in mind that doodling doesn’t help when you need to focus on other images or learn something by copying, as it competes for visual brain space.
Give it a try though when you’re:
- Listening to new information
- Trying to recall what you heard
- Trying to connect the dots of various ideas
- Coming up with a creative idea
- Need to clear your mind
- Feeling very emotional
- Trying to understand what’s going on for you
So the next time someone comments on your doodling, you can tell them that it actually helps you to focus and process the fascinating information they’re sharing. Hopefully they’ll be so chuffed they won’t mind what your notebook looks like!