Doodling is more than a distraction

doodled sketchbook cover
Doodled sketchbook cover

I love to doodle. Doodling — the spontaneous act of drawing, typically in the margins of whatever one is really supposed to be working on — is more than a distraction. It helps with better learning, creativity, and performance.

Here are three of doodling’s benefits:

1. Doodling helps me concentrate. It keeps me focused. Doodling seems to occupy my frontal lobe (the area that would otherwise be making to do lists, or planning my next vacation) so the rest of my brain can be present and engaged during meetings or phone calls.

2. Doodling helps me generate ideas. When I’m stuck on a painting, I find solving the problem head-on doesn’t always work. Doodling distracts me from consciously thinking about the problem, allowing my subconscious to work on a solution for me. The same thing can happen when sleeping. I’ve spent all day trying to solve a problem without success, only to wake up in the morning with the perfect solution.

3. Doodling makes me more creative by opening up more exploratory avenues of thought. Doodling lets me consider new ideas without a big investment of time. I just let myself be creative; not worrying about the work being good or that anyone else has to see. It lets me consider ideas in fresh new ways.

I doodle on the cover of my sketchbooks. Where and when do you doodle? What benefits do you derive from it?

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