TikTok's 'Body Doubling' Hack May Be The Key To Bulldozing Through Your To-Do List

As the to-do list piles up, you can become overwhelmed and hit productivity paralysis. But have you ever noticed how you get more done when other people are around? In other words, do you tend to get distracted or give up easily when you're alone and trying to finish some work? If that sounds like you, you might benefit from body doubling, a productivity hack trending on TikTok. You're probably wondering how an app you can easily spend hours on have a tip to make you more productive. You'd be surprised.


This tip has been popular among the ADHD community on TikTok, but it can be helpful to anyone who struggles with staying on task. Body doubling means having another person near you while doing a task to act as an accountability partner. This can look like a lot of things — going to a coffee shop to read or work on your laptop, exercising with a partner, doing homework with a friend, or doing the dishes while talking to someone. Your body double isn't necessarily helping you complete the task itself. It's their presence that allows you to get it done. This person can be anyone you trust, a family member, friend, roommate, significant other, or coworker.

How body doubling helps

Having another person in your presence can help keep you accountable when you really need to get things done. Though there hasn't been much scientific research specifically examining body doubling, many people with ADHD and other attention issues are finding it incredibly helpful. Humans are social beings, and your body double may provide a source of calm and motivation for a task that would otherwise not get done alone. This can make a task more bearable and even enjoyable when there's someone to talk to.


This is especially true for people with ADHD, according to J. Russell Ramsay, professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and co-director of the school's ADHD Treatment and Research Program. "A lot of people with ADHD will say, 'I have a hard time getting started on this if I'm doing it for myself, but if I know somebody else is relying on me, if somebody else is waiting outside for me to show up to go for our walk, I'm more likely to go and be there because I don't want to let them down,'" he explains to CNN Health

Virtual body doubling

You can't always have someone physically present with you, but here's where phones and the internet come in handy. Body doubling can be done over the phone, via video chat, Zoom, or even livestream. Do you feel better talking to someone on the phone while doing a mundane task like laundry? That's virtual body doubling. In fact, there are TikTok users, like Sidney Ellise, who host live study sessions solely dedicated to studying, allowing others to join and get work done as well.


But even if you're not studying and just working from home, virtual body doubling can help you focus better. TikTok user Marissa (@momentswithmarissa) demonstrated this by hopping on a Zoom call with colleagues, where they all separately finished tasks while on mute together, holding each other accountable. If you're trying out this productivity strategy, choose someone trustworthy who won't be distracting to you. Body doubling might not work for everyone, as some prefer to work alone. But if you find yourself more productive with others around, it'll certainly be effective for you.