Two men work side by side using the body doubling technique to keep each other accountable.

You’ve tried everything you can think of to make your work time more productive. To-do lists, timers, goal setting, and you still find that you have a hard time focusing when you want to work. I’ve got a strategy that you can add to your toolbox to help! 

I’d like to introduce you to the concept of body doubling. With this strategy, you use the energy of another as an anchor point as you complete a task that you might otherwise find challenging. You can use this in-person or virtually, with someone you’re related to, someone you know, or even a stranger! Some real-world examples of body doubling that you may already be familiar with include quiet study groups, walking buddies, or public workspaces. 

This does not necessarily mean doing the same thing as someone else! Your body double is often working on their own task while you’re doing yours. It’s often effective to see another person in the room, and their presence gives you accountability for doing your work. Depending on who you’ve chosen as the body double, they may or may not assist with the task you’re completing. A friend helping you clean vs. just hanging out while you match socks.

Benefits of Body Doubling

The benefits of body doubling include having a visual cue of someone else working to activate your desire to work. A lot of us feel more anchored by the presence of another. You may find that having someone to ‘answer’ to is motivating to ensure your work is complete. If you get stressed or frustrated, having a body double to briefly bounce ideas off of can give you some emotional regulation, also! 

Drawbacks of Body Doubling

The drawback of body doubling can be distraction, either interpersonal or environmental. Interpersonal distraction happens when you get off track interacting with your body double. Environmental distraction happens when the location that you’ve chosen distracts. For example, working in a coffee shop, the whirr of the coffee grinder, the unexpected Meet-Up, and the screaming toddler may hinder your focus. 

Finding a Body Double

When you look for a body-double, find someone who is non-judgmental and supportive. Look into virtual options, including virtual workgroups, Google Meets, or even TikTok! If you find that an in-person body double is too distracting, or not available near you, try a virtual option. Depending on how you and your brain work, this strategy may take some trial and error before you find something that works. And that’s normal!

This article was originally featured in the October Creative Catapult Coach newsletter. Are you a subscriber?



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