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WTF is body doubling?: How to use the presence of other humans to get things done

Don’t want to read through the long version? Scroll to the bottom for the TLDR.

Every time I mention body doubling, there is usually someone who gives me a strange look or asks what it is. I am quite sure that this is the ADHD community’s best kept secret, and I MUST share.

So what is body doubling?

Body doubling is when two or more people gather in real life or a video call to do the same or different tasks. 2 people working on the same task at the same time in person? That’s body doubling. Working in a coffee shop? That’s body doubling too. Doing independent work in a group on a Zoom call? Body doubling.

Although there is no research testing its effectiveness yet, it is a strategy that is gaining popularity within the neurodivergent community.

For those of you that like clear steps, I’ve broken it down for you. Here’s how to body double:

  1. Find someone (or a group!) who is available in person or on a video call.

  2. Tell each other what you will be working on during that time - be specific and make sure you know your first steps.

  3. Mute your mic but keep your camera on.

  4. Work until around 5 minutes before your end time.

  5. Tell each other what you accomplished during the time. To continue the momentum and set future you up for success, include what your next 1-2 steps on the task will be.

Although this may sound simple, the effects that body doubling has had on my life are significant. But how exactly does body doubling help?

  • May make an otherwise boring task more interesting and fun

  • May add a bit of pressure to stay focused.

  • Adds time constraints to a task, which can make the task feel more doable.

  • Externalizes intention for the time

  • A body double can be a visual reminder to remind us what we are doing, as they model focused work.

In typical ADHD fashion, I want to share this with everyone since I love it so much. If you’re curious about body doubling and want to try, I will be hosting weekly body doubling sessions for FREE.

Send me a DM or email if you want to give body doubling a try.

Instagram: @anishiab

TLDR: Body doubling uses the presence of other people focused on a task to support ADHDers in doing tasks. Its incredibly useful for me. Send me a DM if you want to give it a try!

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