Body doubling means doing a task or errand with someone else or in the presence of someone else so it’s easier to start or follow through. It is one of the strategies for managing focus and creating a flow for work, even if you feel lost and overwhelmed by executive dysfunction.
How does body doubling work?
Body doubling is a form of social motivation – meaning that when you’re doing something together with someone else, you can sync up and their presence can help you regulate your thoughts and focus on the thing you’re doing. It’s an anchoring technique that gives a supportive structure to rely on.
Regulating emotions, focus and temperature with other humans has been in our evolutionary toolkit for a long time. Think of how cuddling helps some people fall asleep easier or break fevers even if they are not babies, or how just being present with someone and giving them full, non-judgmental attention can help them untangle their emotions.
Social connections are vital for humans, and relying on them is not a disorder.
Do I have to be sharing a physical space for body doubling to work?
Interestingly, no! Body doubling works virtually as well – for example, you call a friend on Zoom while you both cook your dinner or have a virtual novel writing group where each check-in call consists of everyone working on their project.
Working from cafés, libraries or co-working spaces could also be a form of body doubling if you find that you can focus more when other people are around, even if you don’t interact with them at all.« Back to the Glossary