ADHD 9 minutes read

ADHD Body Doubling: A Unique way to improve productivity

In this digital age where the web of techniques and strategies aims to optimize productivity, a unique approach known as ADHD Body Doubling has emerged, specially tailored for those grappling with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

ADHD Body Doubling is far from the realm of pharmaceutical interventions or high-tech solutions; it merely leans on the power of human presence. The potential of this technique has surprised and supported countless individuals in their quest for focus, efficiency, and productivity. If you’re an individual with ADHD looking to improve your productivity, this guide may be the right fit. Let’s get started with the basics!

What Is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects children and adults, though it often begins in childhood and can continue into adulthood. 

It is generally characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity patterns that are inconsistent with the individual developmental level and can interfere with functioning or development in multiple settings such as school, work, and home. 

People with ADHD may sometimes find it hard to focus on a single task or may focus excessively on a single task. There is no in-between. However, the latter can be a superpower when one learns how to channel it. There are many helpful techniques for people out there, such as Hyperfocusing and ADHD Body Doubling – the approach we’re now going to learn and understand. 

What Is ADHD Body Doubling?

Put simply, ADHD Body Doubling is the act of having another person present with you while you undertake tasks. The person does not necessarily have to engage in the task to assist you, but their mere presence can catalyze focus and motivation for individuals with ADHD. Let’s take a deeper dive to understand it better. 

Origins of ADHD Body Doubling

Unlike other techniques that aim to improve productivity, the origin of ADHD Body Doubling isn’t really the result of a specific, formalized research study. It is merely anecdotal and grounded in observed behaviors. Nonetheless, ADHD Body Doubling has garnered enough attention in the ADHD community and from ADHD professionals due to its effectiveness. 

Observational Beginnings

ADHD Body Doubling was first noticed when many parents, teachers, and therapists noticed that individuals with ADHD often worked better or were more focused when someone else was in the room with them. This observation led to a more intentional exploration of the phenomenon. 

ADHD Coaches and Therapists

As ADHD coaching emerged as a distinct profession in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, many coaches began employing and advocating for body doubling. They found it very effective in helping their clients maintain task engagement. 

Virtual Body Doubling

With the rise of technology and virtual meetings, the concept evolved. There are now virtual body doubling sessions where individuals with ADHD work simultaneously, maintaining focus and drawing from the group’s collective energy, even if they are miles apart. 

We now know the history of ADHD Body Doubling, but we still do not know what makes it work. Why does a person with ADHD perform better when in the presence of someone else? Let’s find out. 

What Makes ADHD Body Doubling Work?

The precise mechanism by which ADHD Body Doubling operates is still not yet fully understood, though several theories are based on psychological and behavioral principles. Even now, rigorous research specifically based on Body Doubling remains limited, but there is some empirical and theoretical support that might shed light on its effectiveness. 

1. Social Facilitation Theory

The theory of Social Facilitation suggests that the mere presence of another person can influence individual behavior. This principle posits that people perform simple or well-learned tasks better when others are present. 

This may have something to do with knowing that you are in the presence of someone and that you have to perform better to impress them. This is not just hearsay, as studies dating back to the early 20th century, such as those by Floyd Allport and Robert Zajonc, have found that the mere presence of another person can enhance performance on familiar tasks. 

2. Accountability

It is true and realized by many that the feeling of being watched or the possibility of being observed or judged can increase one’s sense of accountability, even if the other person is not actively monitoring or evaluating. 

This concept is also supported by evidence, and it is known as the Hawthorne Effect, a term coined after studies in the 1920s and 1920s at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Chicago, where workers’ productivity improved when they believed they were being observed. 

This is also why many workplaces monitor their workers, as it is believed to have improved productivity. 

3. External Regulation of Behavior

External cues and structures can be crucial in regulating attention and behavior for individuals with ADHD. The presence of another person might serve as a continuous external cue, reminding the individual to stay on task. 

4. Reduction of Isolation and Overwhelm

Sometimes, doing tasks alone can feel overwhelming or isolating, especially for those with ADHD. Hence, the presence of another person can reduce feelings of isolation, making tasks seem more manageable. This is also based on studies, as Social Support has long been recognized in the psychological literature as a buffer against stress and overwhelm. 

5. Enhanced Motivational Mechanisms:

Knowing someone else is in the vicinity, even if they aren’t directly involved in the task, can provide a subtle boost in motivation. This could be due to a mix of competitive drive, not wanting to appear off-task, or gaining encouragement from another’s work ethic.

6. ADHD Coaches and Online Communities

Many ADHD Coaches and Online communities now vouch for ADHD Body Doubling, as it is seen to be effective for individuals with ADHD. There is now much more recognition for ADHD Body Doubling than before, thanks to the internet forums and platforms that made it famous. 

Getting Started With ADHD Body Doubling 

Now that we have the relevant research that supports ADHD Body Doubling and its effectiveness let’s learn how to initiate ADHD Body Doubling in individuals with ADHD. Here’s a guide that might help you get started, based on professionals and practitioners of ADHD.

1. Understand the Individual’s Needs

In order to begin ADHD Body Doubling, you first need to have an open conversation with the individual with ADHD, in case it isn’t you. The goal is to determine the tasks that they struggle with, and where they feel body doubling might be beneficial. 

2. Choose the Right “Body Double”

The person serving as the body double should ideally be someone the ADHD individual feels comfortable with. However, they don’t necessarily have to be someone knowledgeable about the task at hand.

3. Set a Specific Time and Place

Scheduling regular body doubling sessions can help each other estabilish a routine. This could help the individual with ADHD as well as their body double get their own tasks done, being more productive and focused.

4. Clarify Expectations

It is very important for both parties to understand the role of the body double. The body double is not there to supervise, judge, or assist, but merely to be present in the room or next to them. The body double is also free to do thier own tasks, which will improve productivity between the both. 

5. Try Virtual Body Doubling

For individuals who don’t have someone nearby to serve as a body double, virtual body doubling is an option. This can be done through video calls with a friend or through organized online body doubling sessions.

Many ADHD individuals and coaches have found virtual body doubling sessions to be equally effective, underscoring the fact that the mere perception of shared productivity can be beneficial.

6. Gradually Increase Session Duration

Start with short body doubling sessions and gradually increase their duration as the ADHD individual becomes more accustomed to the setup. This helps the individual with ADHD focus more, as well as the body double. 

7. Ensure Comfort

Make sure both parties are comfortable, whether it’s having the right kind of seating, lighting, or noise level. Physical comfort can have a significant impact on focus and productivity.

8. Provide Feedback

After the session, allow the ADHD individual to provide feedback on the experience. This will help in refining the process and making it more effective. Similarly, the body double can also share their positive experiences on their tasks or the ADHD individuals tasks.

9. Be Consistent

Like any other intervention, consistency is key. Regular body doubling sessions are likely to be more effective than sporadic ones.

10. Assess and Modify

If body doubling doesn’t seem to be helping or if there are aspects of it that are not working, be open to modifying the approach. It might take some tweaking to get it just right for the individual’s needs.

By following the steps above, the ADHD individual will be able to be more productive and creative. ADHD Body Doubling is proven to be an effective method amongst all ADHD individuals and communities. 

ADHD Body Doubling With Akiflow

If you are having trouble being productive or setting up the sessions, we have just the right tool for you. Akiflow is a popular time management tool that helps you increase productivity throughout the day, while ensuring you get enough rest to avoid burnout. 

While Akiflow isn’t directly tailored for ADHD Body Doubling, some aspects of this tool can help you get started with ADHD Body Doubling. Here are some benefits of using a combination of Akiflow and ADHD Body Doubling to triple your productivity. 

1. Scheduling Body Doubling Sessions

Akiflow has a calendaring and scheduling feature that can be used to plan the regular body doubling sessions, ensuring that both the ADHD individual and the body double are aligned in terms of timing. 

2. Task Management

Before starting the body doubling session, the individual with ADHD can use Akiflow to prioritize and list the tasks they want to focus on. This will give direction to the session, and it will also help in tracking progress.

3. Time Blocking

Akiflow also has an integrated time-blocking feature where you can allocate specific blocks of time for a particular task or activity. This is invaluable for those with ADHD, as it ensures that body double sessions have a clear start and end time. 

4. Reminders and Alerts

To maintain consistency, which is quite essential in body doubling, Akiflow’s reminder system can be used to send alerts before the sessions start, reminding both parties to be prepared and punctual.

5. Virtual Body Doubling

When conducting a virtual body doubling session, you can integrate Akiflow with your preferred video conferencing tool. By linking tasks or meetings in Akiflow to a video call link, it becomes seamless to transition into a virtual body doubling session. 

6. Post-Session Review

After a body doubling session, Akiflow’s note-taking and reflection features can be utilized to jot down how the session went, what was accomplished, and any improvements needed for future sessions.

7. Sharing and Collaboration

If both the ADHD individual and the body double use Akiflow, they can potentially share task lists or calendars (if comfortable doing so). This can provide an added layer of accountability, especially if they collaborate on specific projects.

8. Track Progress Over Time

Using Akiflow’s analytics and progress tracking, individuals with ADHD can monitor their productivity over time, noting if and how body-doubling sessions are making a difference.


ADHD Body Doubling is known to be quite effective in improving productivity and the clarity of the task at hand. By following the proper steps and executing body-doubling sessions seamlessly, an individual with ADHD can benefit exponentially. Not to mention, integrating Akiflow in your body doubling sessions will only boost your productivity further.

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