Sunday, January 22, 2017

Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

"A lot of people hate doodlers, those who idly scribble during meetings (or classes or trials or whatever). Most people also hate that other closely related species: the fidgeter, who spins pens or reorders papers or plays with his phone during meetings. (I stand guilty as charged. On occasion, I have also been known to whisper.) We doodlers, fidgeters and whisperers always get the same jokey, passive-aggressive line from the authority figure at the front of the room: "I'm sorry, are we bothering you?" How droll. But the underlying message is clear: Pay attention." Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

'Doodling — the spontaneous act of drawing, typically in the margins of whatever one is really supposed to be working on — is more than a humble distraction. While doodling gets a bad rap, it’s actually associated with better learning, creativity and performance." 5 Benefits of Being a Doodler

The image at right are my notes from church. I don't blame my parents or teachers at all. But back when I was a kid (a loooonngggg time ago), it was not very accepted to doodle. Anytime I did it, be it in church or in school, some adult was telling me to "pay attention."

(It's important to understand that my sleepiness has NOTHING to do with how exciting the sermon or talk is. Truly! I hope my pastor and all those who have had me in the audience understand this!)

Even into college, I felt guilty doodling even though everything in me wanted to do it. I went my whole life feeling like I had some sort of attention disorder. Put me anywhere with someone speaking for more than fifteen minutes, and I would be nodding off. Pronto.

And then I got a job at the Mayo Clinic when I was in my mid-twenties. And when I did, they had a two day seminar we had to attend prior to starting our jobs. 

I dreaded this. Two days of listening to people speak? I'd be sleeping in the aisle. 

But then I walked in, and at each table they had markers and coloring sheets. And I spent that two days absolutely intrigued by the conference -- and coloring everything in sight. 

The woman who was running the conference explained that there are some people who need to be doing something while listening. And that they actually are better listeners if they do this. I was shocked and awe-inspired and so incredibly ecstatic to hear this piece of information. She was describing me perfectly. 

Today, I don't care what anyone thinks. Whenever I have to listen to someone speak, I bring pen and paper and I doodle. Sometimes my notes are words. Sometimes they are designs. Sometimes they are both. 

I have to be honest. As a people pleaser, I get slightly concerned what my neighbor might think. But I know that it is worth it! I leave having heard much more of what was said and not feeling sleepy and drugged. 

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