The Body Double Concept


Sometimes, all you need to get a boring or troublesome job done is the presence of someone else. That's where the Body Double comes in. I was first introduced to this well-used coaching strategy in A wonderful book by Judith Kolberg & Kathleen Nadeau (ADD-Friendly Ways to Organise Your Life). They describe a Body Double as 'a support person who doesn't need to do anything except be there while you work.' Their role is one of support, and they serve as a reminder that you are there to focus on a particular task. The Body Double works in many ways. For example, Kolberg & Nadeau suggest that if you have lots of bills to pay, and letters to send off, the Body Double can sit at a table with you while you do that. They could be reading a book, or writing letters of their own, and could then help by sealing envelopes and sticking stamps, leaving all the other administration to you. In a recent training programme I was required to do a module review each month - a task I found unappealing and decidedly boring. Enter Body-Double-Bobby, who is based in California. We were doing the training together via teleconference and he was also finding the Module Reviews a chore. We set up a weekly Skype session where we both worked independently on our reviews, and had the occasional chat between answers. Our work was done before we knew it. Each time I was given a new review to complete, I resolved to do it before the call, just to prove I could. But I always ended up waiting because it was so much more appealing to do it with somebody else. My clients often use me as a remote Body Double. For example, if they have a long to-do list to complete, they will ask if they can SMS me after each item has been completed. The fact that I am waiting for their SMS messages motivates them to get on with the job. Sometimes they even use my spare office space to do chores - and then I'm a real-life Body Double for them, even though I'm in a different room. How could you use a Body Double to get jobs done?

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