Use Body Doubling to Boost Your Productivity

If you’ve been paying attention to TikTok ADHD, you may have heard of the term body doubling, which is a productivity tool often used to stay focused and get things done. Body duplication is when another person works at the same time as you , either in the same room or virtually. Sometimes referred to as an accountability partner, the mere presence of another person can often act as a motivation to stay focused and get things done.

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What is body doubling?

Body doubling is one of those productivity tools that we often use without even calling it by name or consciously thinking of it as a hack . For example, we may go to a coffee shop to work in front of strangers instead of being distracted from our work at home. Or we tend to work out more in the gym surrounded by others doing the same thing than we would if we were working out alone at home.

There’s something about doing work around other people that can encourage us to stay focused, even if it’s a task we normally hate to do. As Ren E Brooks , an ADHD blogger who tweets from the Black Girl account, Lost Keys , recently told the Washington Post , informal body doubling has been a part of our culture for generations.

“It’s like the communal character that you see when you look at the work traditionally done by women, like churning butter, shelling peas in circles, and the like. This is an absolute doubling of the body. We are not only here for the activity, we are also here for the social connections we make,” she said .

Performing tasks around people can make even the most mundane and intimidating task more manageable. This is especially helpful if you have a disorder like ADHD that causes problems with executive functions, but even if you don’t, it will still help you stay focused on the task at hand.

How to Consciously Take Advantage of Body Doubling

Given that body doubling is already part of what we do, this means that with a little conscious effort, it can be used to even greater effect. When it comes to body doubling, you can choose either a physical, in-person session or a virtual one.

What you need is to find a community, be it friends or an organized group, with whom to complete tasks. The risk of body doubling is that if there are no clear boundaries, it can easily become a distraction. That’s why it’s most effective when there’s agreement on the rules .

For example, if you are working on tasks that require concentration, the convention might be that you can have a little chat at the beginning, after which everyone will work for a certain amount of time. For virtual sessions, there may be separate rooms for calm, focused work and discussions.

If the priority is doing daunting tasks that take time but don’t pay much attention, like housework, it’s helpful to have an agreed set of goals, and being able to socialize is part of the motivation to get the job done. For tasks like housework, this could be talking to a friend on the phone while you both complete tasks.

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