Doodle, Doodle, Doodle, Doodle 2

I am a doodler when I’m in meetings or other situations where I will probably take notes.  (I take notes a lot.)  I find doodling helps me pay attention/concentrate.  I create borders on the page, sketch my cast of voluptuous and thin stick figures, and/or draw faces with expressions to match my feelings.  Sometimes I play tic-tac-toe – but that doesn’t work too well because I always win.  Meanwhile, I take copious notes, putting as asterisk (*) by anything I need to follow up on.  I usually have a page deeper down in my notepad, where I make a list of things to do as they come to me, or start a note to someone, or jot down a bit of dialogue for a story (dialogue and story ideas always come to me when I’m in a large meeting.  I guess my muse likes meetings).

My doodling is not always well-received.  Some people have assumed that I wasn’t paying attention (until I told them what they just said and proved that I was – even when I’m half-listening I’m fairly facile).  Other times a person has asked if I’d recorded what they said verbatim.  (I hadn’t, I assured her.)

I’m amazed that people can be in a meeting and not write anything down, even when they’ve been given an assignment.  How can anyone sit in a long staff meeting and pay full attention, eyes straight ahead to the speaker, the entire time?  It’s beyond me because I can’t do it!   I have to have pen and paper to free my mind from the constraints of meetings.  (This is why meetings I run always have an agenda and tend to be short and efficient. There’s just no need to drag them out.)

I once worked at a place that had a Friday afternoon staff meeting.  I know that the manager did it because she didn’t have an out-of-work life and wanted to punish those of us who did.  I doodled over-time when I worked there.  I used to make up elaborate boxes with my commentary about the meeting and people in them, until someone read over my shoulder once and I started using note hand and other codes:

  • brng – for boring

  • d&d – for dumb and dumber

  • ahle – for asshole

Wait a minute, can’t share too many or you’ll know the code – doodle, doodle,doodle, doodle.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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2 thoughts on “Doodle, Doodle, Doodle, Doodle

  • Rick Umali

    I enjoyed this post, and it certainly made me smile. I go to my share of meetings, and I definitely write stuff down in a notebook, or (if the meeting is over the phone) in a computer file. I too am amazed when people don’t write a single thing down. And I definitely like those codes. :-) I may have to incorporate those into my note-taking.