How many times have I heard, “I get so much done when you’re here, Jocelyn, but I have no motivation to do said task when you’re not.” This is a common reaction, and there are several explanations. My clients are more productive when I’m there because:
- By having an appointment, my client has made a commitment and set time aside in his/her schedule to work on the task
- Tackling the task by oneself can feel lonely, boring, and overwhelming
- I am a partner in the process of accomplishing the task. I teach my clients how to approach the task in smaller, manageable steps, I assist with all aspects of accomplishing the task, and I strive to be an encouraging and fun presence
- Let’s be honest, remunerating someone to help you to work on the task can be motivating
- I am a body double!
What is a body double? Many have heard of a body double as it pertains to the movie industry; it’s when an extra stands-in for an actor during a scene. In educational psychology, specifically in the field of ADHD, a body double can be defined as a physical and emotional anchor for the distracted individual who feels more centered by the presence of another person in their space. Not everyone I work with has ADHD, yet most of us experience some benefit from working with someone close by. Even if two people in a room are not engaged in the same task, there’s symbiotic energy that is shared and mirroring of behaviors that encourages focus and concentration. This could explain why coffee shops and libraries are such popular destinations for people to work!
When my children were young, I made an effort to create a quiet, well-stocked workspace in each of their bedrooms so each could have solitude to concentrate and do homework. Neither child ever wanted to be alone in a bedroom. Instead, they wanted to sit in the kitchen and be near me while I emptied groceries, cooked, returned calls, opened mail, etc. The noise I generated with my activities never bothered them – it became a background hum that soothed them and enabled them to focus. Once I understood the phenomenon of body doubling, it all made perfect sense!
What helps you to focus?
When are you most productive?
Which tasks would like to accomplish with the company of a body double?