Work

Concentrate in Boring Meetings

Do you have trouble paying attention during really boring meetings? Try taking a paper notepad instead of your laptop next time. The doodles you make on paper may help you remember more.

That’s what happened when 40 people listened to a long and boring taped message about who was and wasn’t going to attend a party. Half doodled while they listened, the other half didn’t. Doodlers not only took the information down more accurately but also remembered more later. The lead researcher, from the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, suspects that doodling may keep your mind occupied enough during boring tasks to make you efficient and prevent you from slipping off the mental focus path and all the way into daydreaming.

Of course, the ultimate way for you to remember more is to have more interesting meetings. In the meantime, in addition to doodling: bring a cup of tea. The amino acid called theanine in this brew — doesn’t matter if it’s green, black, or oolong — is believed to help activate a part of the brain’s circuitry that’s tied to attention span. Coffee works too. Or bring peppermints for everyone: The scent helps people work more thoroughly and accurately so you can get back to your desk more quickly. Or, best yet, remove the chairs from the meeting room. Standing meetings go faster, so you won’t have time to be bored.

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