I’m a terrible note taker. I have been since high school, when I realized that I never actually looked back at any of my notes. In college, every notebook was filled with about three pages of notes (I always started the semester with best intentions) and another forty pages of random drawings (mostly shapes and lines and strange flowing graffiti-like things). I am always trying to hold myself back from doodling during business meetings (though sometimes I can’t help myself and start drawing).
I only mention all this because Wired recently covered a new study that concluded doodling helps people concentrate. As explained by one of the study’s co-authors, “It takes a large cognitive load to daydream. That has a big impact on the task you’re meant to be doing … Doodling takes only a small cognitive load, but it’s just enough to keep your mental resources focused on the main task.” Retribution!