Dare to Doodle

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This post is a part if Think Kit, a community blogging project. Today's (lifeline) prompt: Doodle Up. Scour your notebooks and share some random doodles. I took the prompt one step further - here are some of the reasons why doodling so great.

Have you ever been told to quit your nonsensical drawings, idle scribbles, or other mindless shenanigans that frustrate employers and teachers alike? Is there a time in your life when you were called a “doodler” in a derogatory fashion? Fear not, as doodling has been scientifically proven to increase memory and facilitate the creative process. I broke down a few of the major benefits (with scientific proof) of doodling.

remember to doodle

A study performed by the academic journal Applied Cognitive Psychology explores the relationship between memory and doodling. They played a short and extremely dull tape to two separate groups. One group was asked to shade small squares and circles during the tape, while the other group was simply asked to listen. The group that spent their time doodling recalled the information 29% better than the control group! 

Now this is where it gets REALLY interesting. Psychologist Jackie Andrade of the University of Plymouth, thinks there is a simple explanation for this: doodling is actually the opposite of absentminded daydreaming. She believes that doodling requires just enough cognitive function that individuals are prevented from losing complete focus. The energy we use to doodle in a meeting, may actually help us stay attentive. Whoa, talk about a M. Night Shyamalan sized twist! Read more about the study from this TIME Magazine’s article.

Stuck in a creative rut? Doodle it out.

Have you ever been stuck for hours on a project and you can’t seem to get over the creative hump? One way to change your focus and think about the problem in a different light is to doodle it out. Well-known doodle advocate, Sunni Brown, authored a book called The Doodle Revolution. She describes doodling as an act of cognition.

“You can use doodling as a tool ... to change your physical and neurological experience, in that moment.”

If you’re interested to hear more from Sunni Brown about her work with doodling, check out her TED Talk: Doodlers, unite! For those interested in finding other great methods for jump starting the creative process, here is the shameless self-promotion for one of my recent blog posts: 5 Steps to Jump Start Your Creativity.

I am an avid doodler, but in the spirit of honest blogging, my sweet spot has been drawing trees and American flags. And by that, I mean I draw those two things A TON. Now you may wonder why I settled on those two random objects. I have always found an American Flag blowing in the wind to be quite majestic, and trees are just plain enjoyable to sketch. Below you can find my latest doodle, "Tree in Blue Pen".

The best part about doodling is that you don’t even need to be artistic to receive these advantages! You just need a pen, some paper, and an open mind. For those who truly want to benefit, just keep reminding yourself, keep calm and doodle on. 

Mitch BarnhillComment