Doodle Away, My Friend!

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.

~Thomas Sowell

I was channel surfing the other day and landed on a news snippet talking about doodling.  Hmmm.  I doodle – a lot.  The information presented was fascinating, but I couldn’t believe this had warranted serious study.  Curious, I did a quick internet search on the word to see what else was out there.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the amount of research, opinions and humorous blogs about something I have always done.

My desk has drawings on scattered pieces of paper all over it and I can’t take a phone call without drawing meaningless squiggles on an envelope back or any other handy piece of paper.

The notebook I take to business meetings has pages where the margins are covered in doodles. How else am I going to survive hours full of dry facts and slide presentations?  I always thought it was boredom that drove me to doodle, a survival instinct, if you will.  Not necessarily so. Imagine my delight when I found out doodling actually helps me pay attention!  I guess that explains why I can remember a lot of the finer points presented when I finally escape – um, leave – a long, long meeting.

Here’s the deal – I daydream.  All the time. I have a very active and inventive imagination.  It is part of a writer’s toolbox and, believe it or not, requires a lot of a brain’s processing ability (at least that is what researchers say).  I don’t sit here and decide I am going to daydream, it just happens and I happily go along for the ride.  My powers of concentration fade fast when I get bored and my mind will wander. It is amazing how one thought leads to another and before I know it my thoughts have gone from thinking about my drive to work, to how interesting the clouds looked on the horizon, to would clouds behave the same on another planet and on to mentally writing a description for my current book.

As wonderful as that is for the creative process, it is disastrous for retaining data for the day job.   Doodling requires just enough effort to keep me from letting my mind wander down strange and wonderful paths and pay attention to what is going on.

So, the upshot of all this is I can continue to merrily doodle my way through meetings without guilt and feel confident I am doing my part to retain the gold mine of information being disseminated.  A win, win.   Whew!

Just a thought though….what exactly do all the boxes, cartoonish tornado’s whirling across the page and intricate filled in diamond patterns say about me?  I am sure I can find the meaning of those doodles somewhere.  Maybe I don’t want to know. 😉

4 thoughts on “Doodle Away, My Friend!

  1. Been a major doodler all my life. Well, okay, maybe not all my life. I probably did more drooling than doodling during my first couple years on this planet. The question at the end of your article is what has fascinated me for years. I’ve always wondered if there was a psychology of doodles. It would be interesting to set up a Facebook page where people could post pics of their doodles. It would be interesting to see if there are certain doodle elements (shapes, squiggles, dots, etc.) that are common among doodlers. I wonder if there are any differences apparent in the doodles by people from different cultures?

  2. Hi Gary, I’ve seen some fascinating doodles done by people and admire their artistic ability. Me, not so much. My random drawings are amateurish at best, but they serve the purpose 🙂 You posed some good questions and now I am curious myself. I may have to do a little digging to see what I can find out!

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