I can't last more than a couple of minutes on a conference call before I reach out for a notebook to doodle. I feel guilty about this habit and always make sure my doodling is hidden away - I do not want to come across being a slouch. Some of my doodles are pretty enough to be considered artistic but again I am not supposed to be making "art" while at work.
It would be hard to explain that doodling actually helps me focus on the discussion instead of becoming completely disengaged - that I am being more productive mentally because of it. Doodlers are generally viewed as disinterested in (or bored with) the activity of the moment not to mention mentally lazy. It was most gratifying for me to read this article on doodling - vindication at last ! The author concludes her case for doodling that would be music to the ears of compulsive doodlers like myself :
Like infants and dynamite, the doodle is deceptively simple. A staggering number of scientific, mathematical, and business breakthroughs have come via the act of making inelegant marks on paper. The beauty of the doodle is that it requires no educational degrees, no financial status, no training. It only asks that we unleash it and let it do what it does best: help us think.