So, what exactly is "Body Doubling"?

Feb 16, 2024

These days, it's hard to find anyone who doesn't struggle with maintaining focus, managing distractions, and accomplishing their never-ending to-do list.

Whether you have ADHD or just find it challenging to stay on track, you might be interested in a technique called "Body Doubling" that has proven to make a significant difference for people who struggle with motivation, attention, and focus.

Simply put, Body Doubling is a sneaky (but scientifically-backed!) way to trick yourself into staying on task. You work in community with other people who are also trying to achieve their goals. Based on the principle of mirroring, it helps you stay focused, and can also improve mood and motivation. It is especially helpful for tasks that are potentially frustrating… or things that you just don't want to do.

While initially used in therapeutic settings, its benefits extend to various aspects of life, including work, studying, and completing household tasks. (For example, we recently hosted a "Fridge Cleanout" Body Doubling session, so we could all get rid of our ancient condiments together 😅)

In the next section, we'll explain how Body Doubling works, then we'll get into how we use it here at focused. Finally, we'll wrap up with 5 ways to get the most out of your Body Doubling sessions.

The Power of Social Facilitation

The effectiveness of body doubling can be attributed to the principles of Social Facilitation, a social psychology phenomenon where just being in the presence of others improves one's own task performance. Simply put, people perform better on tasks when they are around other people, rather than when they are doing the task alone.

Of course, there is a fine line between being motivated by being around others, and getting distracted by them. That's why we use the principle of "working alone, together" here at focused. We have stretches of silent individual work time, with scheduled breaks.

During these short breaks, our expert hosts will remind you to get a snack and hydrate, lead you through a stretch or a breathing exercise, and give you a bit of time to share your wins and challenges.

It's like a group fitness class, but for getting things done!

Whether you have ADHD or simply struggle with productivity, working alongside others creates a sense of accountability and encouragement, helping you maintain focus and sustain your efforts over time.

How we use Body Doubling at focused

Regardless of your background or challenges, many people have found Body Doubling to be a game-changer for productivity — and also for their mood. Making small and simple connections with others can help you feel less isolated, and more motivated.

At focused, we host Community Sessions all day to provide the structure and support our members need to stay on track and minimize distractions. We combine silent co-working time with best practices and insights from neuroscience research to make the sessions even more effective for our members. You can join sessions anytime you want via our app.

The structure of each focused session is informed by research in ultradian rhythms, flow state, habit loops, mindfulness, and more. The “magic” of focused that many members experience is a direct result of this thoughtful design.

In our sessions, we help you create a distraction-free zone so you can work deeply on your most important projects. We also teach you practical techniques, such as distraction-batching, to help you better manage distractions over time without taking an all-or-nothing approach.

To complement the sessions, we also create playlists of music with binaural beats that you can listen to during the sessions — we release a new one for our members every week!

5 ways to get the most out of Body Doubling

Our hosts will walk you through all of this during each session, but here are a few strategies to make the most out of Body Doubling at focused:

Jump into a session — even if you can only come for part of it!

At focused, our sessions are drop-in and out, meaning you can come late and leave early depending on your schedule. Really, don't worry about coming late! The most important thing is just to show up and get started, wherever you are.

Set realistic goals

Start with small, achievable tasks to build momentum and confidence. Break larger projects into smaller, manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You'll be surprised how small steps add up into bigger wins the more you come to sessions. We help our members scope down their goals every day in our app.

Minimize distractions

Choose a quiet, clutter-free workspace where you can focus without interruptions. Turn off notifications and remove potential distractions to create an optimal environment for productivity. Our hosts will walk you through this process at the beginning of each session.

Celebrate your progress

Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can help reinforce productive behaviors and motivate continued effort.

Consider committing to regular sessions to get in the habit

In the focused app, you can sign up for sessions — just once, every day, or on a custom schedule that works for you. Our schedule builder tool will send you a personalized link to add to your own calendar, to make it easier to show up for yourself. Whenever you make changes to your schedule in our app, it will automatically sync with your personal calendar.

Our neuroscience-backed techniques help you get more done, and enjoy doing it.

Whether you're navigating the challenges of ADHD or simply striving to be more productive in your daily life, Body Doubling can be a valuable tool for achieving your goals.

By leveraging the power of Social Facilitation and Accountability, focused is building a supportive environment that helps our members stay on task and accomplish their objectives.

We invite you to try 30 days of Body Doubling for free — the best way to see if it will work for you is to try it yourself!

— Alexis Hope, Designer @ focused