In a recent study, researchers found that doodling can help you remember details- it's a way of concentrating the mind.
In the experiment, forty participants listened to a tape listing the names of several people, some of whom were going to a party. Twenty of the participants were told to shade in shapes on a piece of paper, the other twenty just listened. Then all forty were told to write down only the names of the people on the tape going to the party.
Surprisingly, the people who doodled while listening remembered more of the names. Now granted, it's only a small study, but psychologists know that something like doodling can help keep the mind from wandering when you're listening to a boring list or something. So you actually end up concentrating more on the content of what you're hearing.