I used to doodle. Mindless scribbles in my school notebooks. Once I hit the working world, I made myself stop because I didn’t want to be seen in a meeting with my doodles – I didn’t think that it would enhance any image of professionalism. So I’ve taken to twirling my pen (and trying really hard not to click it repeatedly) in meetings instead.
Now seeing this news clip, CBS News Sunday Morning: The Higher Purpose of Doodling I might just go back to my doodling habits. Perhaps this will keep my mind present in the room when a meeting goes on. I have found that even when I am interested in the topic, or it is in some way pertinent to me I have a terrible time keeping my thoughts in the room after about 20 minutes or so – which bears out research that I’ve read about adult attention spans.
How will I balance this return to doodling experiment with perceptions of professional behaviors? Hmm, not sure just at the moment. Hunching over my paper so that no one can see doesn’t seem like a viable solution. Why, exactly, any of us feels that we would have to explain our note taking habits in the work world is an entirely different blog post. Regardless of any of my actions, I cannot direct, control, or shape someone else’s perceptions of me.
Perceptions of doodlers is a main theme in the hyperlinked video clip – and how we should reconsider them. Why do we perceive doodling to be such a bad thing other than we can all probably recall a moment or two in our school days when a teacher called out someone for doodling instead of paying attention? Engagement takes on many forms, as does disengagement.
The other main theme is the point that doodling serves a purpose beyond occupying your hand. I find it very intriguing that researchers found better detail retention in the doodling group when playing a tedious voicemail.
How about you, do you doodle?
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