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Concentrate Better By Doodling

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the la-la-la-la-shiny dept.

Science 94

Kelson writes "The next time you see someone doodling during a meeting, don't criticize them for drifting off. It turns out that doodling is the mind's way of keeping itself just busy enough to avoid checking out entirely and slipping off into a daydream, and doodlers actually remember more of that boring talk. (Judging by my college notes, this probably helped me remember a lot of otherwise-boring lectures.)"

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I knew it. (3, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170301)

Just need to print a copy of the article and keep it with me. I've gotten into troubling quite a few times for doodling.

Re:I knew it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170505)

Yeah, I got a whole notebook full of dick drawings I did!

Re:I knew it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170815)

LOL, Ok Seth!! How is McLovin?

Re:I knew it. (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170911)

I've gotten into troubling quite a few times for doodling.

Yeah, especially with "indecency" laws what they are. One persons balloons is another persons perversion.

Re:I knew it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171397)

Did anyone else read this post as "drooling" the first time through? And here I was thinking that I was justified in sleeping through all those work meetings...

Re:I knew it. (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171677)

Me too. I just put a link to it on my staff page at work.

Re:I knew it. (2, Interesting)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27173993)

Anytime I started in a class I made it a point to talk to the Professor and let them know that I would likely be doodling my entire time in their classroom. I did this to head off confrontations that may arise throughout the course. Any that expressly forbid me (how DARE you doodle! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!) I made a bargain with, they would call met out in class when they saw me doodling, I would answer their questions (likely while still doodling) and then they would correspond doodling with listening. Of course the fact that most of what I was doodling pertained to my engineering graphics classes may have had something to do with it as well.

can't argue with that (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170327)

i love to draw and doodle and only really remember stuff when I make notes about it.

The biggest problem has always been what happens to those when you turn the page.

thankfully, that is solved for me now :)

That's what I told my teachers... (5, Funny)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170341)

i doodled throughout school. I told my teachers that it was my way of staying awake and attentive. I'm glad somebody did the research to validate my BS.

Re:That's what I told my teachers... (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170969)

that still don't get you off the hook for drawing boobies and penises.

I have doodled for at least 30 years (3, Informative)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170349)

Pretty much in ever class that I remember since the 3-4th grade. All through college and every meeting I bring pad/pen to.

In fact, my meeting notes, have WAY more random scribbles and weird drawings than actual notes.

Re:I have doodled for at least 30 years (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27176667)

In fact, my meeting notes, have WAY more random scribbles and weird drawings than actual notes.

Me too. Problem is, I'm a draftsman!

Re:I have doodled for at least 30 years (1)

lazlo (15906) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181733)

Interesting... my random scribbles and weird drawings usually are my notes. Anything I decide to capture in text form is merely to get more brain regions (beyond auditory processing) in on the game. The result is not actually legible, nor is it intended to be.

Silly Slashdot! (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170443)


We know doodling works for us. But people don't because they want to give the appearance of attention. The people who actually set doing work above the appearance of doing work have already found a way to not be in the meeting in the first place.

Notes? (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170445)

Thats all my note books contained. Doodling out numbers actual notes 2 to 1. And I am horrible at art, so these are really drab boring doodles.... :-)

Finally, I am vindicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170487)

I am a successful software engineer, a former straight A student, and a compulsive doodler. I'm especially fond of writing the alphabet over and over in comic book letters.

Re:Finally, I am vindicated (1)

memco (721915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27176245)

Can you develop some software that interprets the data inside the doodles? I'm sure they're just coded notes!

Fractals... (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170519)

There were a few classes where I kept myself alert by doodling. 'course, all that engineer's blood made me bust out the colored markers and make basic n/2 fractals on graph paper.

Re:Fractals... (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172923)

There were a few classes where I kept myself alert by doodling. 'course, all that engineer's blood made me bust out the colored markers and make basic n/2 fractals on graph paper.

Been there, done that. I also frequently end up drawing various impossible shapes, like Penrose triangles or whatnot.

Someone tell gradeschool teachers (4, Interesting)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170525)

I understand things the first time I hear them in almost all cases. This has been true since childhood. As a direct result, the normal teaching style in most gradeschools (say something, then repeat it in slightly different ways many many times) was nearly unbearably boring for me. I would try and allieviate this boredom by doodling, and this often got me in trouble.

I'd like to go back and find the fucking idiots who wouldn't just leave me alone and let me draw and show them this article.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170719)

Either you are misleading yourself, or every explanation every given to you had been clear, concise, and accurate.

If that's the case, I envy you.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (2, Insightful)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170825)

I don't consider something explained until it has been fully explained. Once it has, I almost always get it. Sometimes, a teacher thinks they are explaining something but they aren't, or they're only giving part of the explanation, or they're just doing it wrong in general. In those cases, I press them for more information.

Generally though, school is designed for the lowest common denominator, and so the concepts being communicated are so simple that it would be hard NOT to get it in one go.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171905)

Bingo: "school is designed for the lowest common denominator"

By and large, public school teachers are not particularly well trained or paid for the task. They're regular folks doing the best they can of a difficult job, and if a kid does not appear to be paying attention, then s/he must be made to pay attention. It's a responsibility.

As rare as good teachers is bright kids like yourself, who was getting more out of the class lecture by staring vacantly at your sketching hand.

Notable in TFA is the the test was done on "a collection of people". What collection? From where? Typically studies are done on volunteer students of the tester's university. That's not the same sort of social slice as a public school class. Perhaps doodling kids, by and large, are not paying attention, and the teacher is correct to hassle them.

I'm saying they might not have been "fucking idiots", just wrong in your particular case. I appreciate that's hard to swallow -- I still get steamed about the teachers I had and it's been forty years now.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27174665)

I'm harsh with them (and thus "fucking idiots") because it should have been obvious to anyone with a brain that I was grasping the material with no problem. I would frequently blow tests and quizes out of the water, and of course did very well on the standardized tests. To anyone who was paying attention, even an average person off the street, it would have been obvious that what I needed was not to sit there quietly, bored literally to tears (to the point of having what, in retrospect, was a nervous breakdown in 4th grade), but to keep my mind busy while the more average students had their repetition.

I find it sad and pathetic (and I understand the reasons why) that we have programs for students who are behind the curve or somehow retarded, but there are no real programs for truly gifted students. Sadly, the blame for this lies on the shoulders of the parents more than anyone else, because of course everyone's kid is "gifted and talented."

If I ever get around to having kids, it is my sincere hope that I can afford to home school them, as I doubt anyone who shares a mixed genetic line from me and my girlfriend will be able to get along in the drone factories that pass for schools these days.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177551)

Tell me if you've heard this one before: "You need to set a good example for the other students."

A real knee-slapper, that one.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177597)

My favorite was when they demanded respect without having earned it. Naturally, those least deserving respect were the ones who insisted on this the most.

It is really kind of pathetic, because they were more concerned with the trappings of respect then with the genuine article. Style over substance, the core of modern American culture.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27177987)

Walkingshark sounds like a complete douche bag. I've come across many kids with similarly large egos. They refuse to respect any type of authority and often inhibit others learning. If Walkingshark is really so smart he/she should have got involved in the class rather than assuming it was bellow him/her. A smart kid who gets involved energizes the whole class. A energized class learns more. If a teacher gets no input and/or no respect of course the class won't work!

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178197)

If a teacher gets no input and/or no respect of course the class won't work!

I went to do A level physics and the class ( of 6 or 8 ) spent most of the lesson correcting the teacher.

Having a teacher who actually knows the course helps too!

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (2, Interesting)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178843)

He sounds like most of the people I associate with. I dropped out of High School for the exact same reason and found that I was able to educate myself better by fucking off on the internet for the years that I would have been in High School than I was through most of Elementary School and Jr. High. When It takes a tenth grade English class a month to read To Kill A Mockingbird of all things and I was finished by the end of the second day of class, there is a problem.

A herd does nothing but harm itself as a whole by slowing to the speed of the sick and the weak. Let the morons that aren't learning fall behind. That's what special ed classes are for. Do not bring the people capable of learning down to their level. Definitely do not make the above average people hate school because they're bored out of their mind the whole time. Society isn't harmed because little Johnny is too stupid to read properly. There will always be a demand for burger flippers and manual laborers. On the other hand, society is harmed when Tommy decides that formal education is useless and doesn't finish high school and go to college to become an engineer and ends up working alongside Johnny instead.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

wwfarch (1451799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27181757)

On the other hand, society is harmed when Tommy decides that formal education is useless and doesn't finish high school and go to college to become an engineer and ends up working alongside Johnny instead.

I agree with this sentiment whole-heartedly. I was very much in this position while nearing the end of high school. I was ready to drop out and say "Fuck college". I'm honestly frightened to think of the direction my life may have taken had I not met my wife back then. My entire life turned around and I'm now a successful engineer working on computer vision.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (4, Funny)

timster (32400) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170963)

Heck, as long as you're talking about the teaching in "most grade schools", I remember not only understanding the explanation the first time, but understanding what aspects of the teacher's explanation were inaccurate and often even how the explanation could be clarified so that the other students could grasp it properly.

It goes without saying that I learned how to keep my mouth shut without even being presented with an explanation.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27173587)

It goes without saying that I learned how to keep my mouth shut without even being presented with an explanation.

I didn't.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170913)

I definitely know the feeling. I'm reasonably smart with a good memory. School's been that way for quite some time, I know my mom always complained that they repeated stuff so often that they taught her to forget it since they'd always just tell you again later anyway.

I went the other way, I absorbed everything I could and the repetition in class and in homework forms just felt like wasted time. If they didn't think I could digest more information than that in a sitting, they could have just shortened the school day by 50% or more. If they did think I could handle more information, why'd they spend so much time telling me *again* what they told me last time?

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (2, Insightful)

Eudial (590661) | more than 5 years ago | (#27173063)

I understand things the first time I hear them in almost all cases. This has been true since childhood. As a direct result, the normal teaching style in most gradeschools (say something, then repeat it in slightly different ways many many times) was nearly unbearably boring for me. I would try and allieviate this boredom by doodling, and this often got me in trouble.

Boredom is the curse of people with higher than average intelligence going through school. Grade school completely fails in my experience to deal with it, and it only gets marginally better in High School.

The sad part is that not everyone can deal with this lack of stimulation, and start causing trouble, in the worst case undermining their future.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27173501)

The worst part of that is when you get to college and take difficult classes where you actually have to study, only to find out that you don't really know how.

That killed me my first year. If it weren't for a couple really good profs my second year and a girlfriend that taught me how to study, I would never have graduated.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (3, Insightful)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27173725)

This is one of the major difficulties I had in college. I never learned to study properly in high school, and I also had difficulty adjusting to the concept of homework. In high school I managed to complete nearly everything in class because the teachers often gave time to do work in-class. Not so with college.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (2, Insightful)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 5 years ago | (#27179879)

My high school was located in a smallish town that was also home to the state's teaching college and a major medical school. So our teachers were quite good and prepared us for college by giving college-style homework loads (two hours homework per hour lecture). Unfortunately, high school keeps you incarcerated eight hours a day whereas in college you have lecture only two or three hours a day. As a result I was up past midnight most nights and back up around 5:00 AM to finish my work for the next day.

What this all taught me was how to sleep in class and catch just enough to get started on the next homework assignment. I kept this habit through college, and it wasn't until grad school that I had to adjust to staying awake in class (since the content of the lecture was more advanced than the textbook or there was no textbook).

Also, when I was awake I doodled, brainstormed for my projects, or did crosswords.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27174505)

I had the opposite problem of you and the poster below when I got to college. The classes, in my experience, were just as easy as they were in high school, and the boredom factor was just as prevalent. Even today as long as I show up for classes and pay a moderate amount of attention I can pull As and Bs out.

I don't say that to brag, but to point out that for someone like me, an activity like doodling that helps occupy my brain during informational lulls is extremely helpful, and as a child having that activity cut off was extremely damaging to my mental health and general attitude toward school and authority figures. These days, when I'm taking classes I bring my laptop with me, connect to the campus wireless network, and browse the web while the lecturer repeats the information on the inevitable power point slide several times. Then, when they move to a new slide I read it, listen for a moment, and once I'm satisified I go back to the computer.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27175131)

College is a joke. In my classes now, I have none of the texts, doodle and daydream during class, and still maintain a 3.7GPA. Have classes filled with idiots who are not qualified to be there and the instructors go over the material time and time again while these refugees from the work force fail to get it. If they actually had to pay for classes and texts, most of them would not be there. It drives me nuts because I pay my way with no aid, grants, loans or other types of financial help.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27176297)

Well, I think the problem is that people looked at the fact that High School diplomas meant you get better jobs, and so they said "Well gosh, the answer is obviously that more people need high school diplomas." The problem, of course, is that instead of getting better at teaching, they took the easy way out and made things way easier. Now, a High School diploma is a joke, and for a while a BS or BA was the new diploma, so then they dumbed down those degrees. Now, having a BS or BA doesn't mean shit as far as education goes, all it means to people is "you can finish four years of school."

Everyone knows its a problem, but there is not enough incentive to change things for the better, and strong incentives against many of the better methods (mostly related to cost, somewhat related to our cultural insistance on never telling someone they've failed).

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27184573)

Boredom is also a problem with some people of lower intelligence, who have trouble understanding basic concepts. What they don't grok becomes noise, tuned out, and they turn to small timefilling activities (like doodling) instead of trying to learn.

As to doodling itself, listening to music while you work has much the same function -- fills up the cracks the mind would otherwise wander off to.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27173761)

I seem to recall reading about people with ADHD focusing much better if they can keep their minds busy with something.

Take that stimulus away, and it's like a mental wall comes up that blocks incoming knowledge.

More recently, it's been observed that many people with Aspergers [wikipedia.org] have the same thing. I know someone with a mild form of it, and he twiddles his fingers. We can be in a meeting for 3 hours, and he'll be twiddling his fingers the whole time.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27175755)

yea, pretty close on add.

skip the hyper.

Gotta have a 2nd "throwaway" activity to drive primary.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182463)

I would try and allieviate this boredom by doodling, and this often got me in trouble.

My solution was to make it look like I was paying attention when they repeated the material and faked taking notes. Just look up every few seconds trying to make eye-contact; Once you do, you're set for about two minutes of "me-time" before having to get back to making the teacher feel like they're being a useful member of society. I spent classtime reading books, writing computer programs and doing homework. Great way to maximize your playtime after school. Another method useful on smarter teachers is to engage them in a way that demonstrates your understanding of the material and ability to take care of yourself. I once argued my fourth grade teacher into proving that a power of zero results in 1. When she saw I wouldn't just memorize a what she said and accept the given answer on faith alone, I was never bothered to demonstrate my understanding of future material at the chalkboard again. For other teachers, simply answering one question was enough to get them to ignore me for the rest of the period- give your history teacher a well thought-out answer and they'll let you spend the rest of class reading next week's required reading assignment.

The only time I actually got caught was with a high-school literature teacher who taught us to plagiarize (she dictated from a textbook and we were supposed to copy it into our notebooks- Hey kids! Can you say "incompetent and morally bankrupt"?) who noticed I was thinking (God forbid) instead of writing furiously like a good induhvidual. As a punishment and to make up for lost material I had to photocopy a classmate's notebook. Best five bucks I ever spent.

Re:Someone tell gradeschool teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27185829)

the normal teaching style in most gradeschools (say something, then repeat it in slightly different ways many many times) was nearly unbearably boring for me

I had the same problem in college. I'd often sleep/doodle through every lecture, only to set the curve come exam time

I was going to write a reply (5, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170563)

I was going to write a long and well thought out reply that ended with me trailing off and it turning into ascii doodles, but apparently slashdot has an ascii art filter.

"Filter error: Your comment looks too much like ascii art."

Damnit /., I'm just trying to concentrate!

Re:I was going to write a reply (1)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171627)

(.)(.) or (_Y_) or 3===D... will it filter it?

Re:I was going to write a reply (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27173255)

No.

Re:I was going to write a reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27177641)

But will it blend?

Not convicing enough (2, Insightful)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170585)

I find the conclusion they came up with after the study interesting, but I'm not convinced that it is the only practical explanation.

I'd like the dissuade anyone from taking this article as proof enough to start arguing to start making artists out of us all.

Maybe. (1)

FrameRotBlues (1082971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171053)

I think there's something behind it. Both my father and I doodle when we're talking on the phone, and I find that I do it more when I'm thinking about the problem at hand on the phone. Interestingly, our doodles are different: he'll draw 3D objects with a lot of isometric angles, and I just wander across the paper or fill in the "holes" of the lettering at the top of the notepad.

I wonder if it has more to do with one half of the brain being used heavily for analytical purposes, and the other "artistic" half of the brain feels like it needs something to do to keep up. (I forget which half is which.)

Re:Maybe. (1)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171735)

Right-brain is the creative bit and left-brain is the analytical bit IIRC, though I don't think that the theory is as accepted by neurologists today as it was in the 70's and 80's...

What works for me is being Drowsy (2, Interesting)

David_Hart (1184661) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170639)

I found in University that I retained more information in classes where I was half-napping (not falling asleep). I haven't heard of any studies but my thought is that the brain may find it easier to organize information when you are drifting. Then again, maybe it's just me... (grin)

David

Re:What works for me is being Drowsy (4, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170697)

Random internet theory: Those classes were easier.

Concentrate Even Better (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170705)

By Drooling.

Gets me through the most boring meetings. Got me promoted as well.

Doodling, or Drooling (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170763)

I thought it said "drooling" - I'd never seen someone drool during a meeting.

Obviously, I am not being invited to the right meetings; I must be doing something right.

Re:Doodling, or Drooling (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170813)

Obviously, I am not being invited to the right meetings; I must be doing something right.

Depends on what everybody is drooling over...

Re:Doodling, or Drooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171317)

I haven't seen anyone drool at a meeting either, but I have heard someone snoring during a conference call before.

Re:Doodling, or Drooling (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172347)

I have a former employee that fell asleep in my manager's office. She was overweight and had sleep apnea. The next day she had a Dr's appointment, and followup with the sleep lab, where they figured out she was getting something like 30 minutes of sleep per night because her neck fat was cutting off her air supply.

Anyway I have seen people sleeping at their desks, and a quick shake you can see the ones that were drooling by the quick, instinctive mouth wipe. Yuck - if they only knew how dirty their desks were! Those people got fired, the first lady got short term disability (paid leave)

I was the doodling guy (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27170887)

A few weeks ago I met my High School Philosophy teacher from around 20 years ago. I greeted him and he didn't remember me at first, then asked for a few more names from my promotion. He said "that was a good year, and then: "You are the doodling guy!".

Yeah, I spent all his classes producing convoluted tesselations and stuff while I listened, then just read anything he proposed. He told me he was expecting a complete disaster at first but in fact I was one of the best students he'd ever had, neck to neck with another doodler a few years later.

I watch TV while I work (3, Interesting)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27170949)

I work at home (telecommuter for 2 years now), and whenever I get stuck doing menial work, I turn on the TV. I have to watch sitcom drivel to keep it from being too engaging, but it keeps me on task, and keeps me from drifting off onto Slashdot...like I'm doing now. CRAP!

or music (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171407)

Likewise, I listen to long trance/techno music mixes to work. I _must_ keep a certain part of my brain occupied lest I get too distracted/bored quickly (having a factory across the hall, plus lots of impromptu stand-up meetings happening nearby, doesn't help). Trance/techno is designed not to engage high cognition (unlike most music with attention-grabbing lyrics and melodies), but still gives something for non-programming mental activites to focus on.

Earplugs don't solve the problem of blocking distractions; if anything, they make it worse as my mind automatically starts straining to make out tiny sounds.

iPods and podcasts are wonderful: endless new material to keep the "ooh! shiny!" neurons busy while the computational theory ones get real work done.

Re:or music (1)

dragonjujotu (1395759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171927)

Huh, so that explains why I get more work done listening to the Japanese tracks... Now I don't know whether I want to learn the language or still be able to concentrate at work

Re:or music (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172647)

I used to have a set of CDs to listen to when doing homework, coding, or writing. I made a point to listen to music with lyrics when I was doing something that was mostly math, and instrumental music when I was working with words.

Re:or music (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27173641)

So what do you use for coding?

Re:or music (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 4 years ago | (#27214059)

So what do you use for coding?

Ambient stuff, mainly. Singing with words in a foreign language I don't know, or sung in such a way that they're mostly unintelligible.

Re:I watch TV while I work (1)

GleeBot (1301227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27174437)

I find TV to work a lot less effectively than some alternatives. Ultimately, it's just too distracting--I've timed myself performing a task with and without the TV on in the background, and it takes much longer than if I'm sitting in a quiet setting.

Actually, I think they did a study about this with playing music in the background. All that classical music floating around your cubicle may not be a good thing...

Meetings are BS (3, Insightful)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171109)

Most meetings are merely excuses to avoid working, so doodle away!

Re:Meetings are BS (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171275)

Reminds me of the poster that says:

Are you lonely???

Don't like working on your own?
Hate making decisions?

Then call a MEETING !!

You can ...
SEE people
DRAW flowcharts
FEEL important
FORM subcommittees
IMPRESS your colleagues
MAKE meaningless recommendations

ALL on COMPANY TIME!!!!

MEETINGS
The practical alternative to work.

Re:Meetings are BS (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177655)

You might like this [spatula-city.org] then.

Re:Meetings are BS (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27184603)

Simple solution: Next time you're at a long dull meeting, draw flowcharts. Encapsulate the meeting in a flowchart doodle, and you'll be perceived as the most attentive bootlicker there, given a promotion and a raise, and will be able to kick the asses of anyone you catch doodling during long dull meetings, which you now get to hold for others!

La la la (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171141)

                        .--.
                  (\_/)/  _ \
                  (o.o) _(   |____
                 .- ".-`----'`"""")
                              '--`

Hmm hmm hmm. I'm sorry, what?

Re:La la la (1)

relikx (1266746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171381)

Insightful, really? I can't tell if it's reticulated or not, how is this insightful...

Re:La la la (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177533)

I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

What I got from this... **NNNNOT* so much about (1, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171257)

Concentration....

I heard this around 0900 this AM, and from what i gather (as in what i take from this) it is **not** so much about "concentrating better". The *real matter* is that the brain simply is wired to not want to shut down. It wants to process information virtually ALL THE TIME. (That might explain (i think) why we daydream and night dream.) Doodling is just so the body/person do(es) consciously or unconsciously/mindlessly so brain *has something to do* while we are concentrate or try to concentrate. After all, you can doodle just thinking about nothing critical, nothing useful, or just zoning out.

Honestly, how many have we doodled and just totally ignored what we were supposed to be listening to? That alone is enough indication that doodling won't or can't enhance concentration. Otherwise, people might imagine they could just go and doodle and use that as a way to study better or consider information more clearly. (And, it would undermine the business model of Brain Fitness Gym, brain enhancement pills, and other products aimed at getting money out of people's pockets more than actually improving people.

It doesn't seem to me that this has a single thing to do with "concentrating better".

What i found interesting was that the microsoft spokesperson contacted after the event fessed up that it was Bill Gates' notepad and not Tony Blairs. This is important, to me at least, because one of the handwriting analysist or one of the graphologists said the writing sample indicated a person who was a (closeted) Vicar with murderous intent. Had that been found to be Blair's the UK might have to worry. But, when I heard it was Gates', i felt, "Why would i be surprised?".

Re:What I got from this... **NNNNOT* so much about (1)

Now.Imperfect (917684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171819)

1) you forgot to close your parentheses 2) where did the "murderous intent" come from

Re:What I got from this... **NNNNOT* so much about (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27174849)

No, actually, i had that paren, but hastily tried to find the open paren and when my eye failed (or my mind failed to register its presence) i deleted the close paren. Later, after looking over my comment, I instantly saw the open paren.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101727048 [npr.org]

Near the end of the audio report i heard something along the lines of "vicar", "closeted vicar" and murderous or bloodthirsty or the like...

On second thought, i might even have to be corrected about my assertions on the **nnnot* about concentration enhancement. But, then again, NPR is not *always* correct, either...

Re:What I got from this... **NNNNOT* so much about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27173869)

Honestly, how many have we doodled and just totally ignored what we were supposed to be listening to? That alone is enough indication that doodling won't or can't enhance concentration.

Really? Does that mean doodling NEVER enhances concentration, or that some lectures/meetings are so boring that NOT EVEN doodling can help?

Re:What I got from this... **NNNNOT* so much about (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177663)

Basically, doodling is the human equivalent of wiggling the mouse to keep the screen saver from kicking in when you're not actually typing, just so you can see if something interesting pops up in the inbox.

Re:What I got from this... **NNNNOT* so much about (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27182979)

Thanks to whomever is the bastard who pummeled me down to "1, offtopic" from "2, informative"... I was ON topic, bitch, and you had to just fly off and shove my exposure down a notch to ingratiate yourself or satiate your pains.

There SURELY are some vindictive, sick, panged people here...

Go ahead, mark this one too. I dare you.

Concentrate better by Drooling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27171419)

...is how I misread that. I sat there for a few seconds wondering how that was supposed to work, picturing the guy at training who used to put his head down during class and drool all over his notes.

That makes sense (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#27171809)

I agree, I have often doodled countless times little nothing drawings that made it easier to listen to the droned out voices, and still pay attention, however it was when I got into picasso mode, that things didn't quite make it useful. Keeping them small and umimportant drawings makes it trigger your awareness without triggering the perfectionist in you.

Reminds me of college (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172263)

I used to play various NES pinball games on my laptop to help keep myself mildly focused during terminally boring lectures.

Thank god for these guys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27172279)

I've drooled all my life and i am certainly not stupid.
I remember my teacher telling me i was going to fail my Administration class because of it, i sure showed him!

Oh wait, doodled? ... uh...

Context switch (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172443)

I do something very similiar online by swapping in and out of a Slashdot or Gizmodo page every 15 minutes or so. It gives my brain a rest from one task and keeps it stimulated with another. I'm much less attentive and productive when I don't have a terminal in front of me to provide context switching every so often.

Vindication! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27172445)

20 GOTO SUBJECT

I'm not even sure I know HOW to doodle anymore. (1)

Shay Guy (1466593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177175)

Seriously. You give me a writing pad and a pen or pencil and tell me to doodle, I think I'd probably just end up staring at a blank pad. Even if you stuck me in a lecture hall with them. Yet another sign that I need to stop taking my laptop out in class?

Class laptops (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27184671)

I think class use of laptops is really the same principle at work, just on a more-technological scale.

I must admit, I have a gnome-games app and/or Firefox consistently running concurrently with Writer or AbiWord.

So, tabbing over to "Five or More" or somesuch for a bit is my way of doodling.

And yes, the word-processing document contains actual notes, not just decoy gobbledygook.

Forces me to think (2, Interesting)

skeftomai (1057866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27177347)

I do this....I write a lot of notes or play witrh my phone to an extend during meetings.

I find that catching bits and pieces forces me to try harder to put things together and understand them, and so I end up understanding things better.

Also, if I try too hard to pay attention, I worry about paying attention more than what I am supposed to be paying attention to. When I do other things, it puts my mind at ease, and I can relaxedly listen.

Stereographic doodles (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#27178297)

I try this at meetings sometimes... I draw a 3D object like a cube or a car or a face or whatever next to an exact copy about two inches to the right, having a slightly more forward-facing appearance. Then I look at them slightly cross-eyed, so that the left eye sees the right image and the right eye sees the left image. If I draw them carefully enough (and since my vision is good in both eyes) I can get them to acquire a 3D-perspective. I doodled a stereoscopic pair of dice a few days ago that practically jumped off the page, into a new dimension, normal to the paper surface. One of the dangerous aspects of doodling during meetings is the need to stifle your joy upon penetrating new spatial dimensions. Or when you doodle something that's actually funny.

grrrrrrrrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27180715)

stupid *@#$ing teacher in high school who told me to stop doodling everywhere on every piece of paper... I was paying better attention to her inane BS!

Ironic/counterintuitive (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27184883)

Interesting how ironic/counterintuitive this is.

I've found the principle working for me, that I've been paying better attention in lectures since I consistently started packing a laptop

I get a bit aggravated when I can't get proper WiFi signal, but I of course don't advertise that to the professor.

It's especially funny when I've getting *paid* to take down notes [which I still manage to pull off quite well, thankyouverymuch]

Even if I'm not a paid scribe, actually taking notes probably helps keep me out of complete la-la land.

Knitting worked for me (1)

Omniskio (1153619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27191347)

During my university classes I would knit, pausing to take only the most skeletal notes -- more like headings of broad topics covered during the course of the lecture. I always asked permission first (and always got it). I did better, marks-wise, in classes where I knit than where I didn't.
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