What You Want: To be more focused
What to Try: Doodling
The next time you're in a long meeting or conference, consider picking up a pen and drawing weird, flowery, scribbly thingamajigs on the edge of your agenda. Doodling, writes Sunni Brown, whose TED talk on the subject has been seen by more than 1.1 million people, can actually increase your ability to retain and remember information. As she describes in her book Doodle Revolution, when researchers at the University of Plymouth placed people on a monotonous phone call, some of them doodled, others didn't. Later, on a surprise memory test, the doodlers absorbed and recalled 29 percent more of the content than the nondoodlers. "Rather than diverting our attention away from a topic (what our culture believes is happening when people doodle)," says Brown, "doodling can serve as an anchoring task—a task that can occur simultaneously with another task—and act as a preemptive measure to keep us from losing focus on a boring topic."