Body doubling is the in thing right now. It’s thought to be particularly effective for ADHDers but if we think about it, it’s been a method of increasing productivity for as long as people have been working, exercising, performing in anything other than isolation.

Body doubling doesn’t mean that someone that looks remarkably like us steps in and does the work for us (shame, eh?). There is thought to be science behind this, that I will leave you to track down if you wish. It is thought that, for those of us who struggle with task inertia/focus/attention, having the presence of at least one other person improves our production. It doesn’t have to be someone doing the same job, it’s just the presence of that person. It’s thought to relate largely to having that social pressure to do our bit, so we don’t disappoint the other person, and simply being in an atmosphere that’s conducive to achievement, of whatever kind.

So, body doubling can be used in any situation that will help us reach a goal that we find difficult alone. How many times have we looked out the window at the dark rainy sky and thought, “nah – no exercise class for me tonight!”? But, if a friend [enter body double] has prearranged it with us, ooh that’s so much harder to avoid doing. It involves excuses and that horrible feeling that we’ve let our friend down (as they stand out in the dark, rainy evening with their leotard getting wet).

It may work in some situations and not others. For me, the very thought of having someone working next to me at my computer would give me so much sensory irritation (every swallow of their drink, every sniff, every sigh, every movement out of the corner of my eye)… I wouldn’t be friends with them in less than an hour! But I have definitely gone to yoga or book club when someone else has arranged to go with me. That doesn’t mean to say I’ve wanted to, mind you!

The anecdotal success of body doubling is thought to explain why hot desks (shared workspaces) and internet cafes are so successful for self-employed and home workers. They are all doing their own thing but are motivated to work by the activities of those around them. Not for me, but I certainly know people who love them. Som body doubles can also offer valuable feedback if they are able to identify habits and behaviours that they can see are disrupting our focus.

Virtual body doubling is increasingly popular too, Flow Club is just one example of an online body doubling site for ADHDers (I’m not endorsing it, just giving it as an example).

Richard & Roxanne Pink are a couple (he’s neurotypical, she’s an ADHDer) who have a huge social media following called ADHD_love. Their videos are funny, heart warming and really helpful. I’m also really enjoying their latest book: Small Talk – 10 ADHD lies and how to stop believing them. Anyway, they recently set up a body doubling app called dubbii, which is proving really helpful for loads of ADHDers who struggle with such tasks as cleaning and other low dopamine activities that cause us so much stress. Here’s a link to a YouTube video that explains a little more about how it came about: dubbii

Do let us know in our community groups if body doubling in any of its forms works for you!