Like most office workers, I know at least one colleague who loves to doodle. I know quite a few people (not mentioning any names!) who love to relieve their boredom by doodling the hours away at meetings. I've seen the artistic little drawings on their notepads to prove it! Doodles are quite an interesting art form, a product of our subconscious mind and many psychologists say that studying them can reveal quite a lot about a person. Many famous people love to doodle, including the late Richard Nixon and Bill Gates. Doodling is regarded by many as the height of rudeness and bad manners, especially when done whilst someone is speaking to you. It usually sends the message to the other person that you are bored and disinterested in what they are saying. Not a good message to be sending, especially if it's the boss who's doing the talking!
However according to new research from the University of Plymouth, doodling is good exercise for the brain and actually helps to actively improve memory recall and aids concentration by keeping the mind focused. Apparently when people are bored, their minds start to wander and they daydream. However doodling is a way to stop them from dreaming and keep them focused on the task in hand. A leading psychologist from the university says that far from being frowned upon, doodling should be actively encouraged, particularly at meetings. To prove his point, the professor led a study, where a group of people were asked to listen to a tape of a boring telephone message whilst doodling. The message mentioned the names of people who had been invited to a party. A random test was done to see how much the participants could remember. The doodlers did very well and managed to recall details of those people who were attending the party and also their names. Their power of recall was much better than that of the participants who listened to the message and weren't occupied doodling. The research was undertaken in connection with National Doodle Day. Hundreds of celebrities including Ricky Gervais (from The Office) have created doodles, which will be auctioned online to raise money for charity. So there you go! Maybe doodling to relieve boredom isn't such a bad thing after all and could help us all to improve our memories!