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This post is sponsored by Flow.Club, but the thoughts shared are entirely my own.
When I first heard that body doubling could help ADHD’ers stay focused, I thought it was a joke. Why would just having another person with you, either in person or online, make you more productive? As an introvert, this felt doubly weird as I’m generally distracted if I’m around other people.
But then I tried it… and it worked.
What is Body Doubling and Why Does it Make ADHD’ers More Productive?
Body doubling, as I mentioned, is leveraging the presence of another person to help you focus on a task. This is not the same has having someone work with you on a task as a teacher or parent might do. Instead, the person is just there – doing their own thing. It’s simply their presence that makes the ADHD’er able to initiate action and stick with it without getting distracted.
Pretty cool, eh?
I couldn’t find specific research to answer the question of why it helps so much, but I did find a 2019 study that indicates that social connection generates dopamine in the brain (something ADHDer’s need a lot of to get motivated to do things). So it would make sense that having another person in your environment, might help your brain get enough dopamine to start and finish a task.
How to Make BodyDoubling Even MORE Effective
The great thing about body doubling is that you can take advantage of the presence of others and they don’t even have to know about it. That’s why working in a library can be so productive. There are lots of other people around, but the environment is still generally quiet and non-distracting.
However, if you can find someone, or a group of people that you can intentionally body double with, can be even more effective. In this case, you all agree to be quiet and focused for a specific period of time, and you can state in advance, what you plan to get done, then report at the end of the session how far you got.
This not only helps with motivation and focused attention, but it also helps you comprehend how long things actually take to complete, which can be mind-blowing for an ADHD’er. We often suffer from time blindness because we struggle to pay attention to the passage of time. We’re also not great at estimating how long things take, which is why we tend to be late and overcommitted.
But when we set a time in a body doubling session (let’s say 45 mins), and we state a goal, like “I want to get 3 pages of a report done in that time”, then at the end of the session when we recap our progress, we have a clear indication of how accurate our estimation was. That’s a powerful thing because ADHD’ers are very prone to magical thinking, and assume that they can get way more done than humanly possible in a short period of time.
We’re fast, but not that fast 🙂
My Favorite Way to BodyDouble? Online, baby!
As someone who works from home, it take a LOT of cognitive energy for me to go out and find a suitable place to body double in person. I’m also sensitive to noise, so any voices or sounds will automatically distract me.
Instead, I’ve found online body doubling sessions to be the best fit for me. Sometimes I arrange sessions on zoom with friends, but most often, I don’t know when I’m going to need a body double session, so it’s hard to plan in advance.
Flow.Club to the Rescue!
Flow.Club is an online resource for anyone who wants to join a body double session any time of day. The reason I love this service is that at the top of the session, everyone in the small group shares what they are going to work on (there’s always someone there leading the session), and then at the end, you can report on your progress, or just drop off when you are done with your task.
It’s extremely low risk, high reward and super accessible because it eliminates the barriers to body doubling in person, or finding a friend to meet you on Zoom.
Is it Weird to Body Double With Strangers Online?
This was the biggest question in my mind before I tried it. I was actually a little terrified to get on my first call, because I had NO idea what to expect.
But it was so chill! Everyone is there for the same reason, and you’re all doing your own thing, so no one is looking at you. You can also have your camera off if you feel self-conscious, but having the camera on gave me extra motivation to stay in my seat and focus on what was in front of me.
I was seriously blown away by how effective it was. I also have several clients who rave about the service, so I’m not alone in my love for Flow.Club.
Want to Try Flow.Club for Free?
As a supporter of my Podcast, Flow.Club is offering my community a free trial week of their services (through the end of 2023). If you like the service and you find that body doubling works for your brain, then you can also get 15% off a membership when you use the code ADHDfriendly.
If you try it, I’d love to know what you think!