Doodling, pretty much everyone does it, and admittedly it’s almost always when we are bored. There are quite a few times I’ve looked at my notes in the last week whilst revising and thought to myself “well this picture of a snake wrapped around a sword is nice but what would really help is some notes on the European Union”. That considered I still think it’s a great thing, I may be slightly biased in that I love pretty much everything that is creative, but I really do think it is brilliant. It gets people who otherwise wouldn’t draw to put pen on paper and create something that may not look or mean anything, but it gives them the opportunity to be creative; be expressive; be that artist that everyone has the ability to be. Not only does it do that, but it brightens up some otherwise very dull workbooks.
There a loads of different types of doodling. There is the random shapes doodling that involves little thought or concentration; some people can even do it while working.
Then there is your “I don’t want to be here” doodling that encapsulates what you would rather be doing or where you would rather be.
Then last but certainly not least there is the “lets cheer up my friend” doodling; the creating funny characters, caricatures, or in my case editing their sad faces.
I am sure there are many other forms of doodling but those are the ones I use the most.
Despite my frequent use of doodling to avoid work many people can do it, mainly in the form of free form shapes, to actually help them learn. New research has shown that for many people doodling can help enhance memory and increase focus and understanding. So, far from the classic image of a distracted school kid sitting doodling , that kid as actually the one paying attention (well that may be going a bit far).
I was slightly surprised when I found the research. I have always thought there was a tension releasing quality to it but had never thought it could actually increase focus. I think they should perhaps take another study looking at the effect doodling has on the focus of more creative minded people as I always find myself so drawn in to the doodling that I pay little attention to anything else.