Just “being present” when someone needs you seems like a simple thing. However, it can mean a lot more to the recipient than just “being there.” One very helpful way to be “present” with someone is to be a Body Double.
Presence is More Than Just Being There. Malcolm Forbes
In 2008, ADD Coach Linda Anderson wrote about a curious phenomenon that she called Body Double. Linda worked with adults who had ADD/ADHD. One of them told her that he had discovered that just having another person in the room helped him to stay focused on a task. Since that time, many ADD coaches have found that this Body Double strategy works for people of all ages when they are trying to stay focused.
Though having a body double is especially helpful for many people with ADD, people who do not have ADD also sometimes benefit from having a body double. As an aside, the Body Double concept has nothing to do with whether you are an Introvert or an Extrovert. It has to do with the “benefit” of NOT being alone, even when you are not actually “interacting” with another person!
Being “physically present” with another person can help that person accomplish things that they would not get done without your being there.
What Does a Body Double Have to Do?
Virtually nothing! Just being in the room (and NOT distracting the other person) can make a big difference!
Here’s how it works. Let’s say that you hate working on your annual taxes, yet the tax deadline is approaching. A friend or colleague could just SHOW UP and sit near you. Very likely, you will then make more progress on your taxes! Your “Body Double” could be reading a book or working on her own taxes. There is just something about having another person physically present that helps people stay focused on a dreaded task that they NEED to do!
You’re probably thinking: “But I don’t want to depend on a Body Double to get things done. I don’t want to ask someone to just sit with me. That feels so dependent!”
Sure, it’s important to do things independently. But success is all about building “structure” or “systems” that work for you. We all need tools to get things done.
Tools to Get Things Done
In other articles, I’ve talked about the benefit of establishing accountability tools. You may benefit from having an Accountability Partner (or Coach), as I wrote about recently. With an Accountability Partner/Coach, you share your goal or INTENTION and establish an expectation that your partner/coach will help you stay accountable.
With a Body Double, you just ask the person to be present with you. That’s it! Body Double is just another tool for your toolkit. Try it out and see if you like it. If you do, use it selectively – but know that it does work for many people!
For more information about Body Double, click here to read Linda Anderson’s article.
Questions for Reflection
- If you have been diagnosed with ADD and have a task that you keep putting off, would you be willing to try the Body Double strategy? If so, do you have a friend, relative, or colleague who might be willing to be your Body Double?
- Even if you don’t have an ADD diagnosis, are there tasks that you keep putting off that you would like to tackle in the next week or two? If so, who might be willing to act as your Body Double by “just being there” to help you stay focused and get things done?
- If you have a family member who keeps putting certain tasks off, how could you introduce them to the Body Double concept? Would you be willing to try BEING the Body Double?
- Can you think of a time that you were more productive just because someone was “present” with you?
Do You Need More Tools?
We would love to help you develop more tools so you can meet your goals. To find out if coaching can help you meet your goals, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.
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