We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at a long table in a meeting, and that giant cup of coffee you just chugged is doing nothing to help your focus. Your thoughts begin to wander as the speaker’s voice slowly fades into the background. Pen in hand, you start to doodle. By the end of the meeting, you have a full page of random sketches. There’s a rabbit jumping into a puddle, two bumper cars crashing into each other, and the word “engagement” written repeatedly in various sizes and fonts.
So doodling is only a childish distraction for people with short attention spans, right? Wrong. Quality doodling isn’t about zoning out, but rather processing information and thinking visually. With a little strategy, doodling can be an amazing tool for boosting productivity and creativity in the workplace. This is why (and how):
- It promotes immersive learning. Everyone has a different learning style, but drawing (kinesthetic) while listening to information (auditory) leaves you with a graphic record (visual) of your thoughts, making it a tool that’s useful for all kinds of learners.
- It helps focus and memory. A 2009 study from the University of Plymouth found that those who doodled during a phone call recalled 29% more information than those who didn’t. Because doodling allows you to process information on a deeper level, you’ll be able to remember things more clearly.
- It makes brainstorming better. Seeing your ideas on paper allows you to see connections you hadn’t thought of and expand upon your thoughts. The free-flowing nature of doodling will help you think outside of the box.
- Learn (or create) a visual alphabet. Developing recognizable symbols will give you some consistency and enable you to doodle more quickly.
- Use words as well as pictures. If you’re trying to identify demographics of a target audience, write down a few key words and see what drawings they inspire.
- Don’t get caught up in how it looks. You don’t need to be Picasso to doodle. It is a way of thinking, not an artistic method, so don’t stress about your misshapen stick figure.
- Collaborate! Doodling is incredibly useful in business settings because you can do it as a team. Your coworker’s sketch might just spark a new idea for you.
- Make sure you have the right tools. To implement doodling in a business, provide large whiteboards in meeting rooms and small ones for each employee’s desk. Even a pad of paper and permission to sketch freely is enough to get your team excited about thinking in this creative way.