We’re all a little bit guilty of doodling in meetings or classes when we’re supposed to be listening (obviously never in our daily GoThinkBig editorial meetings… *hides notebook*). But is it possible that doodling is actually good for our concentration?
Well, according a recent story in Metro, research from Prof. Jackie Andrade has shown doodling actually increases our attention span. Andrade, who is a professor of psychology at Plymouth University, also concludes that we have a better memory when we've been doodling – who’d have thought it, eh?!
But why do we need to doodle in order to increase the power of our brain? It turns out that our brains work in such a way that they’re constantly processing information. When we’re bored, our brains look for something else that is stimulating. And when they can’t find anything, they create things worth thinking about – normally in the form of doodling or daydreaming.
While daydreaming in meetings, classes or lectures isn’t going to get you anywhere, doodling gives your brain just enough stimulation to prevent you from wandering off into fantasy land. So the next time you’re faced with that dull meeting on a Monday morning, or a double physics lesson on a Friday afternoon, pick up the pen and paper and doodle away. And if anyone says anything, just tell them it’s better than staring into space.
Someone who can confirm this is Dan Lucas, who started doodling during meetings and lunch breaks and then ended up publishing his artwork in a book called Lunchtime Doodles. He said: “I just started it for my own pleasure as a little break at lunchtime. I would always be doodling so it was a little challenge and a chance to make sure I got away from my screen.
“My boss has had a word with me, he understands that I’m still listening but he has said to me that other people will think I’m not paying attention. But I think once people get to know me they know I am listening. When they realise that I do it all the time and I am actually still paying attention, it does help.”
Dan admitted to not being a big fan of meetings and that he would rather do something productive.
“I think doodling helps me focus at the time. I hate PowerPoint presentations, I think they should be banned – especially if someone is just reading bullet points off the screen. So doodling is a way of letting some anger and frustration out.”
But Dan’s doodles from meetings and lunch breaks have gone even further than he ever thought they would. Some of the designs have now been printed on bags and are being sold by House of Fraser.
He said: “Some of those doodles that are being sold on bags literally took me ten minutes. Something that I do completely for fun and escape is then used and printed on a bag and sold in shops up and down the country – it’s crazy.”