Doodle your way to greatness

Doodling got a bad rap. Characterized as an absent-minded activity of the perpetually distracted. But recent research is giving new biz cred to doodling.

One article highlights what doodling can unlock. As it states, "When the mind starts to engage with visual language, you get neurological access that you don’t have when you're in a linguistic mode."

Another article cites research that shows that doodling can enhance the way the brain processes information and can even improve its ability to retain information.

In short, it's time to get your doodle on.

What I've learned from years of doodling.

I'm a doodler from way back. When I started in the business world, I didn't understand the science behind it. I just knew it somehow helped the process of idea generation. Now after decades of doodling, here are a few things I've learned.

1. It has nothing to do with your skill as an illustrator.

If you're worried about creating beautiful little sketches, you're doing it wrong. Shapes, scribbles, squiggles, and stick figures are what doodling is all about. You're not trying to illustrate a new idea. You're using the doodles to lead you to the new idea.

2. Don't refine. Iterate.

Doodles aren't necessarily meant to be refined. They are the stepping stones to a breakthrough in thinking. Stopping to refine a doodle can slow you down on your way to a big idea. Do lots of doodles. Then do some more.

3. Let words influence your doodles and doodles influence your words.

Sometimes a word can inspire a doodle. That leads to another doodle. That leads to a new idea. Sometimes a doodle can inspire a word. That leads to a new idea. That leads to an unexpected way to characterize a solution. It's a two-way street. Be open to whatever comes your way.

Who knows where all this will lead. Maybe not doodling in a meeting will be a sign of a distracted and disinterested participant. Maybe doodlers will be considered the new rock stars of business. All I know is that I feel a little vindicated.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to end here. I have some doodling to do.