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How Doodling Leads to the Big Picture

When a lot of information is thrown at you at once, it can be hard to keep track of it all. Don’t panic…DOODLE! Heather Fishel, author of FIDGET!, shares why you should take a pen, pencil, crayon, eye liner pencil, anything you can get your hands on, and doodle more.


Struggling to understand big ideas in a long-winded meeting or the romantic plot twists in a phone conversation with a friend? Scribble out your confusion with doodles! Turn your notepad into a fidget- and doodle-friendly center of understanding: take the concept at hand and break it down into its tiniest parts—its atoms, if you like.

For example, if you’re trying to solve workplace woes in the messy break area, sketch out a piece of trash, a banana peel, or a dirty dish. Need to figure out how to fit twelve people at a table for eight? Draw each chair, each plate, each item that needs to fit on the tabletop. Trying to perfect your homemade ice cream? Break it down into doodles of milk, melted drops of liquid, and a cone.

These smaller elements generate new perspectives on items or ideas both familiar and perplexing. Atomized—or simplified—doodles guide the brain to temporarily stop considering the big picture in order to better understand the individual parts of a problem.

For example, breaking down big ideas can introduce new thoughts such as:

  • Zeroing in on those pieces of trash and recognizing that assigning a dedicated person to empty the break room trash will prevent messy buildups.
  • Examining the pieces involved in seating twelve people and discovering that you could introduce side tables to make more room.
  • Removing an ingredient in a troublesome dish rather than finding the right one to balance it with.
  • Seeing actual atoms drawn out to understand the individual building blocks comprising plants or objects.

After you figure out the “big picture,” get an energy boost through meditation.


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