I’m sure you have a go-to doodle, an absent minded scribble you do while talking on the phone. I’m also pretty confident it’s something entirely random such as a load of boxes or circles, so quite why my go-to doodle is Ronald Reagan circa 1986 is anyone’s guess.
I’ve always thought that my innate scribbles are a tell tale sign that I am distracted, but in her book “The Doodle Revolution”, Sunni Brown states that doodling isn’t the mindless activity we all presume. In fact doodling can actually engage the mind in a way that helps us think. “Our scribbling”, she says, “is a way of opening the door to better concentration, to help with problem solving and memory retention”.
In 2009, a study published in the Journal “Applied Cognitive Psychology” showed that people who doodled during a phone call retained nearly 30% more details than those who didn’t. So next time you find yourself scrawling unrecognisable shapes during a meeting don’t be so quick to hide them, you’re probably retaining more information than the attentive looking person next to you. Doodling could well be the attentive sweet spot. “The Higher Purpose of Doodling”.