Doodling for Productivity, tips on how art can help you focus

Doodling for Productivity, tips on how art can help you focus
Photo by Prophsee Journals / Unsplash

You're in a cozy coffee shop, sipping on your favorite latte. The ambience is perfect, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, and you're motivating yourself to listen to past lectures in an attempt to revise for exams. 

As you start listening, your hand absentmindedly begins to doodle on the side of your notebook—all types of swirls, patterns, and abstract shapes.

You think that you’re losing focus, so you try to restrain from drawing more. Everybody keeps saying that multitasking is bad for you, right? “Drawing and listening to lectures has to count as multitasking,” you think to yourself. 

But what if I told you it’s been scientifically proven that creating those abstract designs and shapes can help you focus more on the material at hand? What if it works as your brain’s clever way to avoid drifting?

Ultimately, by the time you finish your coffee, not only have you completed your revision, but you feel like you comprehended more material in less time AND with less strenuous brain work. 

That, right there, is the power of doodling. 

What exactly is doodling?

person holds book
Photo by Prophsee Journals / Unsplash

Doodling is the spontaneous act of drawing or sketching, often done without conscious thought or intention.

These drawings can be simple shapes, patterns, or more complex designs and are preferably created while a person's attention is otherwise occupied, like during a lecture, phone call, or meeting. 

Doodles are typically considered to be simple, unplanned, and free-flowing, without any specific meaning or representation—they are a way for the mind to process information that the person is consuming while drawing. 

For examples and endless inspiration on doodle art for focus, take a look here. 

Is Doodling backed by science?

In a study conducted in 2009 by psychologist Jackie Andrade, participants were asked to listen to a rather dull voicemail message. 

Some of them doodled while listening, and others didn't. After the call, when asked to recall details from the message, the doodlers remembered 29% more information than the non-doodlers! 

The theory is that doodling, a form of fidgeting, helps prevent our brains from completely switching off. It's like giving your brain a mini workout, ensuring it stays active and alert, even during the most tedious tasks.

Doodling isn't just a form of mindless art—it's neuroscience in action. It calms the amygdala, reducing stress and clearing the way for enhanced concentration.

Especially for those with ADHD, doodling can be the solution you were looking for. It provides the necessary stimulation, helping maintain focus and even mimicking the effects of certain medications.

Action Step of the Week

Choose an easy doodle design from here, and the next time you have to focus on a lecture, start drawing it at the same time. You’ll never know whether it works for you if you never try it!

Bookmarked doodle books

If doodling from scratch seems intimidating, take a look at the endless doodle books on Amazon, specifically crafted to spark focus and creativity while providing a level of guidance. 

Doodling To Improve Your Mental Health – Forbes Health

“While it may sound a bit crazy, doodling can actually help calm the racing mind and bring it back to a more quiet, restful space, not unlike meditation.”

If you still don’t feel “artistic” or “creative” enough to try doodling, check the article on Forbes Health that validates its link to mental health and mindfulness. Plus, you’ll find out the three core steps to getting started.

The Doodle Challenge - Origins Of The Doodle

Doodling can be traced back an estimated 500,000 years when our ancestors scribbled zig-zag markings on cave walls to tell stories, keep records of images, or glorify the divine. As humans began searching for other ways to communicate, symbols and language evolved, and doodling was a part of that communication."

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