Smiley faces, bubble letters and a random assortment of animals.
All of those things might inhabit your old notebook from high school — all along the margins, in between bullet points and on the front cover. While those doodles may be just that —meaningless doodles — they likely helped you get through the day.
However, if you’ve ever been to school, then you know doodling is frowned upon. Yes, teachers certainly have a point. They put a lot of time and effort into class, so you should pay attention. This doesn’t mean you should give up doodling, though.
There are many benefits of doodling. In fact, regular doodling might actually make you a better worker, student and person. Here’s why.
It’s a Creative Outlet
Doodling is more than just a way to waste time. It’s a creative outlet that lets you express yourself, and creative outlets have many emotional and physical benefits.
For one, creative outlets relieve stress, and doodling takes your mind off of everything that might be bothering you or weighing you down. In that moment, you can just focus on the doodle. It offers an escape from a stressful environment.
Having a creative outlet can also improve your mood. Through art, you can bring out your emotions and inner dialogue onto paper, whether it’s drawing or writing. Not only can that be freeing, but it can also help you to better understand what you’re feeling or thinking — which might make it easier to let go of what’s bothering you.
It Can Boost Memory
Yes, your doodles are fun and creative, but they might also be triggering a part of your brain that boosts memory.
People who doodle are able to recall dull information better than those who don’t. This most likely happens because doodling is a form of exercise for the brain. While most people’s brains are resting on the couch, yours is constantly running on the treadmill. This makes it easier for you to remember information because your brain is already working hard when that information comes your way.
Also, some people are more visual learners. Seeing something in front of them that they can relate to is much better than reading a line of text. The information then comes easier to them because their brain is working and the information has been absorbed in a more creative way.
It Can Lead to Some Great Ideas
Your brain is an idea factory, but most of the time you’re using your brain energy to think of other things that distract this factory — or trying to come up with a brilliant idea on the spot, which is normally tough to do. When you do something creative, it gets your idea factory up and running.
Take this example: In school, you may have done a free writing exercise. For a certain amount of time, you write without thinking. Anything that comes to mind goes on paper. At the end of the time period, you see what you’ve written, and you might have noticed your mind went to places you wouldn’t have imagined.
The same goes for doodling. You’re working the creative part of your brain. When you do this mindlessly, your brain is in a state of creating and generating new ideas.
This could help you with other aspects of your life, too. Sometimes it’ll force you to think about things you try to avoid or to help you solve a problem you’ve been dealing with. Doodling creates a comfortable place for these ideas to flow.
It Can Increase Productivity
Many people might view doodling as an activity that decreases productivity. It might be seen as a distraction, which, of course, is bad. However, the reality is doodling can make you much more productive.
There are usually many things happening at once that distract you, and while you may get stuff done, you’re wasting an awful lot of energy to get there. The key to productivity is getting your mind in a calm state that’s ready to focus on one task at a time. Doodling can act as the catalyst that calms your mind. When you’re doodling, you’re focused on one thing: the doodle. You can then take that energy into your work and use it to focus.
Doodling can also be a creative way to plan out your tasks. Sketching a grid that plans out each task can be beneficial for your productivity.
It may seem childish and like a waste of time, but doodling can have a profound impact on how you make it through the day — and life. Doodling is actually a good thing. So during that next meeting or important phone call, don’t be afraid to doodle a little more.Buffer