Posted in Stories

Doodling: Scribble absentmindedly, Stress relief and Creativity

Today I am going off-topic – not really, you’ll see – and discussing doodling.

Webster defines a doodle as “an aimless or casual scribble, design or sketch.” Sounds like a waste of time, correct? We’ll see about that. I do not view doodling as art, but many have made it artistic. If you perform a Duck-Duck-Go search for “Doodling+images” you find artwork…. don’t let that discourage you.

I am a doodler from way back. When I was a high school student in an Analytic Geometry class, I would doodle in the margins of my notebook. The teacher collected said notebooks to assess our “note-taking skills” for which we received a grade. Upon return, mine always included a comment about “doodling less and note more,” since I got an “A” in the class…. Anyway, isn’t this the dumbest thing to remember (guess I can thank the doodling)?

I credit the genesis of this post to the bloggers at Pam Alison Knits, and Your Friendly Malaysian Writer. I was discussing the use of outlines with Stuart and mentioned I don’t use outlines, I start with an idea and let it run wild, developing the outline as I go relying on imagination and inspiration. With Pam, we chatted about journaling and the use of stickers, NO stickers, doodle instead. WOW an epiphany, so I decided to reproduce a recent doodle focusing on the process (inspiration and imagination).

My Doodling

Changes in my “job” have precipitated the need to make use of journals to “plan” my week and manage tasks. I often doodle in the journal, or on scrap paper, or on whatever is handy.

On a Monday not long ago, I was preparing a to-do list and simply wrote down the word “Monday.” Several minutes later I decided Mondays should be banned, thus the “prohibited” circle (that is a pretty good freehand circle – don’t you agree). BTW, all my doodling is done with fountains.

Later that morning, while aimlessly updating the journal I decided the “ban Mondays circle” would make a great poster. Thus I boxed in the circle and made the decision the poster should be supported by a fictitious group the “Work Week Liberation Front” and of course a peace sign.

Quite happy with myself, and focusing on the doodle, I thought, should the sign be carried by an angry mob of stick people with pitchforks and torches or simply a sign attached to a post. As an angry mob was way more effort, and no mob would incorporate a peace sign. I decided it was best to nail the sign to a post.

A tattered second sign proclaiming my love of Mondays seemed in order. Not sure what the non-smilie face is, maybe a button/pin someone stuck to the sign.

This brings us to the completed doodle. Clearly, not artwork but I enjoyed the escape from the doldrums of a work week (full of none productive meetings) and happy with the results.

Stress Relief & Memory Recall

What a surprise, it appears doodling offers health benefits, primarily stress release. It is said that our brains work better with the structure of coherent stories, but sometimes there are gaps in these stories. Doodling helps fill these gaps by activating your brain’s “unfocus” synapses, giving your “focus” synapses a break, resulting in increased creativity and problem-solving. Doodling has also been shown to increase memory recall by as much as 29%. Feel free to doodle away during that next “important” conference call, plus it makes you look like you are taking copious notes.

Are you feeling “stuck,” can’t concentrate, or is your mind is wandering … it’s time to doodle.

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