Learn how body doubling can help you stay on task and improve your executive function as an adult or teen with ADHD. Get my top virtual videos to get started!
Friends, I have missed you!
It’s so good to be back at my desk after battling “the virus that must not be named.” It was just as awful as I’d expected, but we had a protocol to activate as soon as I got that positive test.
I’ve struggled with motivation since all of this, but today I wanted to share the incredible productivity hack that has changed my work-from-home life since the health chaos began.
After eighteen years of working from home, you would assume that I would have the best systems to be productive in my daily life.
You would be wrong.
The truth is, I struggle EVERY DAY and had even considered spending the money on a co-working space to hold me accountable to my work day.
I did unlock the secret for working alone while incorporating a motivating presence in my life though and it just might surprise you.
Not only is this hack helpful for people with ADHD. It’s also helpful for anyone struggling with mental health or chronic illness.
I want to talk about how body doubling can improve the lives of you or your teen/tween today!
What is Body Doubling?
Body doubling is a productivity strategy where someone can work alongside you to complete a challenging task. You can do these sessions virtually or in person with a friend or family member.
I want you to close your eyes and think about the thing that you have been putting off.
Do you see a stack of bills you haven’t paid yet?
An overflowing hamper?
The refrigerator with expired food?
The basket of socks that never got matched?
Now imagine you had a friend to do that with you.
How would this change your perception of that task?
For many people with ADHD, the presence of someone else can be just the motivation they need to stay on track.
When I think about this, I think about ways I have unknowingly done this for people in my life. There have also been people who have come to our house that sat as I folded a load of laundry, meal prepped, or cleaned my kitchen.
In those moments, it didn’t feel so burdensome. It is, perhaps, why body doubling works so well for my work life.
Do You Need ADHD to Benefit From This? NOPE!
I have not gone through the process of ADHD diagnosis because the medications that I would use to treat it wouldn’t be an option for me with my current health issues.
In case you missed it, this is something we talked about on my Book Gang podcast with Paula Engebretson, a Certified Life Coach specializing in helping adults with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) live their best lives.
Specifically, we discussed how many women get diagnosed at this stage in our lives and some ways to improve reading memory and focus through that.
It’s such an impactful episode that has changed my reading life and many of my listeners.
Listen to this episode below:
Personally, I know that I display every symptom of ADHD because it runs in my family, AND I happen to live with people who have it too.
I have gotten around treatment by choosing a job that works with my brain, but hormonal shifts and brain fog have made things even more challenging.
After that episode, I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to continue working WITH my brain, and it is through that research I discovered how body doubles work and how to use them to motivate me.
In fact, I’m using a body double RIGHT NOW to write this post.
The best part is that this productivity hack is completely free.
How I Use YouTube for Body Doubling
There are several excellent virtual options if you need a body double but don’t have a partner to work with at home.
This is how I manage the work portions on my to-do list and how my daughter finds study-date partners when she needs to accomplish studying for tests.
My preferred working method is recorded sessions on YouTube (see below for some of my favorite options).
Many of these previously recorded sessions rely on the Pomodoro setup technique. Five-minute breaks follow these 25-minute sessions of work for recorded sessions that are, typically, two hours.
I didn’t know how motivating it would be to have a “pretend” work-from-home buddy, but I find it even more effective than anything else I’ve done for my WFH life.
There is no pressure to make small talk, someone else is monitoring the timer for our work sessions, and it puts me in the mood to get my to-do list done.
How Do I Set-Up My Office To Use This Strategy
I use this pop-up desk (we covered the top with this inexpensive marble paper) and set my workstation up in front of our television in our family room.
We have the Samsung Frame TV, and I can cast my favorite videos onto the television.
If you don’t have a room with a TV, you can utilize your tablet or phone to pull up the video.
Personally, I do find the larger screen to be more impactful while I’m working, and I love it displaying at eye level.
It helps brings the accountability aspect into focus.
How to Find a Live Virtual Body Double
Focusmate offers body doubling sessions with an accountability partner for a live, virtual co-working session that will keep you on task. They offer three free sessions a week or you can pay $5 to have unlimited sessions.
They have shared that 95.5% of their users reported a significant increase in productivity and reduced procrastination.
You can also find users sharing live sessions on TikTok if you search for body doubles.
So I guess social media isn’t ALL bad, is it?
How We Help Each Other as Body Doubles in Our Home
If you live with a friend or family member that can act as your support group through a task, you might not need to call on a virtual double.
As longtime readers know, my son has ADHD (you can read about that diagnosis process here when he was young), and we continue to tweak and refine what works best to help him.
Now that he is TWENTY (how is this possible?), we still work together as accountability partners and utilize this simple to-do checklist board with our most important tasks. Our to-do list is almost identical, so we check on each other throughout the day or do these tasks together.
You can see that these are VERY modest goals because I want to honor my body and where it is now.
I usually work much more than the time on my chart, but this allows me to check it even when I’m having a bad day. That is the difference between a day I’m proud of and a day that makes me feel bad about myself.
Want to give this productivity hack a try? Here are some of my favorite videos to get you started!
Try These Videos For Working at Home (or Studying)
Be sure to also look up any task you need help with- folding laundry, daily hygiene tasks, or cleaning/organizing are all available with a simple search.
Want more help with that WFH life? Check out these posts!
Do you think you would try this productivity hack? I would love to hear if this has worked for you or for your teen?