Empowering the Freelance Economy

Body doubling: sounds weird at first but it works

Body doubling has many benefits and could revolutionise your productivity/ Photo by Ling App via Pexels
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We look at the productivity technique called body doubling. Admittedly at first, I considered the term cringe and awkward. But after learning more about it, the penny dropped. I could see the benefits. If you are a digital nomad, solo self-employed or remote worker, read on.

What is Body Doubling?

Freelancers and remote workers struggle to stay focused all day. Emails, social media, chores – they all compete with your work. Here’s a clever solution: a silent work buddy.

Imagine having someone work quietly next to you, each on your own tasks. The key is their presence, not conversation. There’s no pressure to perform, just the silent understanding that you’re both holding each other accountable.

How Does It Boost Productivity?

Studies have shown that body doubling can be remarkably effective in improving focus and reducing procrastination. Here’s why:

Reduced Distraction: The presence of another person working quietly can act as a deterrent to checking your phone or getting sucked into online rabbit holes (think of it as having a witness to your productivity!).

Increased Motivation: Knowing someone else is relying on you to stay focused can provide a subtle nudge to stay on task.

Combating Loneliness: Remote work can feel isolating. Working alongside other people even if virtually provides a sense of community and shared purpose, even in silence.

Body Doubling for Freelancers and Remote Workers

Freelancers and remote workers are prime candidates to benefit from body doubling. Here are some ways to incorporate it into your workday:

Virtual Coworking Platforms: Platforms like Flowclub and Focusmate offer virtual coworking sessions with built-in body doubling features. You can join “flocks” or be paired with another remote worker for focused work sessions. Caveday and Flown offer virtual coworking for anyone; other services target particular audiences, like Writers’ Hour, London Writers’ Salon or Preacher’s Block. Online “study rooms” for students are also widespread. 

Find a Buddy: Connect with a friend, colleague, or fellow freelancer or self-employed neighbour who would be interested in regular body doubling sessions. You can video chat or work in a shared physical space (like a coffee shop) in comfortable silence.

Body Doubling Apps: While still in development, there are a growing number of apps designed specifically for body doubling. These apps often use timers and prompts to structure work sessions.

Body doubling isn’t a magic bullet, but it can be a powerful tool for freelancers and remote workers struggling with focus and motivation. By harnessing the power of shared accountability and a distraction-free environment, you can reclaim your workday and achieve greater levels of productivity.

Still not convinced? Experiment with different formats (video chat vs. in-person, timed sessions vs. uninterrupted work) to find what works best for you. You can read about first-person accounts in this article: The Perks of Virtual Coworking With Strangers

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