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do you doodle at your desk

Do you doodle at your desk?

As I work on my weekly schedule for my new Doodle Break online art classes for businesses, I’m contemplating how many people doodle at work? And why? …

I can think of a few of my old co-workers who were avid doodlers (you know who you are :). Keeping me entertained and giving me a chuckle whenever they’d pass back a paper with some little character in the margin. Strange how it would make a habitual task a bit more interesting. Or is it?

Why did I get such a kick out of seeing these little drawings? I felt like I was seeing a different side of someone; a creative side, that was otherwise, rather hidden in everyday office interactions. Hmmm… Could this be part of why we doodle?

For me, doodling started as far back as I can remember. Certainly I did a lot of doodling when I was young and in school. Does a desk signal me to start doodling? Or is it listening to a teacher talk? Or maybe it’s more than that. It seems to help me process my thoughts and come up with a solution to a problem. Interesting that.

Doodling has a bit of a bad rap. Why?

From an outside perspective it appears childish. I might look like I’m wasting time perhaps, or simply not focusing on the task at hand. I certainly felt guilty doing it at work. I’d probably have had an embarrassing amount of doodle art everywhere had I not had to pass paper back and forth to colleagues and my boss. Could I look at doodling differently? Yes!

 How does Doodling help your brain?

Doodling activates the right side of your brain. The creative, intuitive, out-of-the-box thinking part. Something that does not happen the same when I reach for my phone for stare at my computer screen. In a study from Drexel University it showed that doodling increases blood flow to your pre-frontal cortex – in particular the parts of your brain associated with reward. This was observed using functional near-infrared spectroscopy headbands on the participants as they doodled. As a side note, it is the same part of your brain that is activated by chocolate (yes I’m considering this as an anti-dote to my chocolate addiction!).

Doodling = A happier brain. Hmm… Is that why it feels so good to doodle? Another interesting thing to note, is that there was no significant difference feel-good results, in terms of the type of art being produced. It seems to be simply about the pleasure in making art. What surprised me about the study was that so called non-artists, experienced more pronounced benefits from doodling than artists. I equate this with going a week without chocolate and then eating my favourite chocolate bar – but that’s purely anecdotal (ha ha!).

Doodling to think more creatively!

And the biggest benefit is…. participants said they felt much more creative after their doodle break. I feel like that too. It wakes me up, shows me new possibilities and I feel like I can solve an unrelated challenge. Have a go and let me know what you find for yourself. 

Here’s a cool TED talk on Doodling – you’ll never feel guilty about doodling at your desk again and if you do, share it with your boss!

I’m offering weekly Doodle Break classes for businesses. If you work for a company who might be interested in offering this to their employees please do get in touch with me. I’ll be posting lots more about this in the coming weeks so stay tuned and of course grab your pen. Let’s Get Creative!

Doodle break for businesses