You are here

In defense of doodling: How putting pen to paper can help you succeed

If your teachers used to scold you for doodling in class, there is mounting evidence to suggest they were wrong, The Wall Street Journal reports in a recent article. Researchers say putting pen to paper can help you retain information, increase productivity and generate more creative ideas. 

A 2009 study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology found that people who were encouraged to doodle while listening to a list of people's names retained 29 percent more of the new information than their non-doodling counterparts. 

Medical student Michiko Maruyama told the Journal that she doodles while taking notes to help her process and retain new information. 

"It's not until I doodle that I think about how everything comes together," Maruyama told the newspaper. "I find out what I know and what I don't know."

The Journal reports that when she stopped doodling for a week, she started to receive lower grades. 

A recent study, released this year by Gabriela Goldschmidt of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, presented the case of an architecture student trying to create a plan for a new building. He became stuck and, while trying to work through his mental block, started doodling his name repeatedly. Eventually, he started sketching architectural plans around the doodle, which eventually became the skeleton of the new design.

If you are interested in how doodling might help you become more productive, keep some paper and pens handy on your desk and at meetings. Try writing your name in print and cursive and create some abstract shapes. To make the most out of your creative doodling, use 100 percent cotton paper from Reich Paper's Savoy line and a favorite pen or pencil. Keep your doodles on hand for later reference -- you never know when a simple sketch might turn into your next big idea!