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What is body doubling

What is body doubling

If you’ve wondered what is body doubling, read on to understand how it’s a thing that can transform your productivity and focus. I’ll be honest. When I first heard the term, I thought it sounded like something out of science fiction. As in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” – some form of nefarious replacement of humans with something….else. But I soon learned that it is a radical and very post-pandemic method of working that every entrepreneur and business owner can benefit from.

Why I looked for body doubling

First, I’ll share how I discovered body doubling. It was summer of 2023 and I had left my home base in the UK to travel full time as an entrepreneur coach. My routine back in London had been to spend the day at a coworking space. This had a number of advantages. It gave me a workplace separate from my home, which is so valuable for mental health and balance. Although working from home has many benefits, it can also be challenging to have a life and a business in the same space. It’s healthy to create a boundary between the personal and the professional.

What is body doubling
My favourite spot at my London coworking space

Also, it gave structure to my day, because this coworking space had only hot desks available. Which meant that if I arrived  first thing in the morning, I could pick my favourite spot by the window, near the water cooler. But if I procrastinated and rolled in later, I could end up squished in a corner seat. Therefore, it motivated me to stay on schedule and show up on time.

And finally, the energy of being in a room of people all working online was invigorating. Sure, people work at a coffee shop, but there are also friends talking and the noisy chatter of small children. It’s social. At a coworking space, it’s all about work. Certainly, people have friendly conversations. But the whole purpose of being there is to work. Which is a great space to focus and be productive.

Finding body doubling

Therefore, in the summer of 2023, my first task as a full time digital nomad was to find a place to work. And to create a routine and structure that would provide all the benefits of my co-working space in London. I spent my first month on the road in Tunis, where I did find a charming coworking space in the medina. Then I went to Canada to spend time with family. And this is when I learned about body doubling.

Although there were co-working spaces in the city where I stayed, nothing was a good fit. Because there was no parking, or it was a long commute. All the usual reasons why people choose to work from home in the first place. Also, some were not friendly for the needs of a digital nomad, and required a long contract.

So I pivoted, and started to search for alternatives. I don’t know what combination of words I used in Google. But when I came across “what is body doubling” I was immediately curious. And then relieved that it wasn’t something out of science fiction!

What is body doubling
Near my coworking space in the ancient medina of Tunis.

What is body doubling

I soon learned that body doubling is the online version of being in a co-working space. That it’s a digital room where people can show up to work. Think of a Zoom meeting, but more purpose and structure. Sessions are scheduled throughout the day to accommodate all time zones. There are 60, 90, 120, and even 180 minute sessions available. Each session has a host who leads the 5 minute block at the start and end of every session. These are the 5 minutes when everyone in the session can share what they are working on. It’s a powerful method to create accountability. It’s subtle, and it works. Because joining a body doubling session for 1 hour and stating your goal does help a person stay focused. If only because it is so satisfying to mark that goal complete at the end of the session.

My body doubling experience

My very first experience with body doubling was late summer 2023, when I joined a Flow Club session. What I loved first was its very open and accepting culture. Everyone there was free to do what worked best for them. The camera can be on or off. Share your goals out loud, or use the chat window. Listen to whatever music the host is playing, listen to your own stuff, or work in silence. And most of all, it was inspiring to see the many ways that people were using body doubling to be productive and get shit done in their life and their business.

For example, there were people starting their day, using body doubling to keep them on track with a morning routine of exercise, meditation, and journaling. Then there were people following an evening routine of reflection and planning. Some used a session to focus on administrative tasks or to finish a specific project. Others were students working to meet a big academic deadline. Which made me wish I’d discovered body doubling when I was finishing my MBA. I am sure it would have saved me from hours of stressful procrastination! 

Flow Club for productivity

Of course, there were other entrepreneurs, just like me. Running a business can be isolating, so this is another benefit of body doubling. Flow Club is a group of people who work online for one reason or the other. I soon discovered that by joining sessions regularly, I’d see the same people. Seeing familiar faces gave me the same sense of community I experienced going to the coworking space. It’s the same vibe of being friendly, yet also focused on the tasks at hand.

Overall, I honestly believe that Flow Club has transformed how I work. When I plan out my week every Sunday, I book sessions around when I have coaching calls with clients. This creates focused blocks of time to work on client projects. It also creates space to work on the important tasks of analysis and planning that every business owner should spend time on. When I really want to create accountability for my schedule, I host a session. Because the responsibility of being a host will certainly get me to show up and get into the flow of working.

If you are an entrepreneur and ready for a safe space to work productively ON your business, I highly recommend you check out Flow Club. There are over 1,500 weekly sessions to choose from! The focus and accountability of body doubling gives a huge return for owners of small and medium size businesses. Completing tasks, getting confetti, sharing frustrations, and hearing the encouragement of others is priceless. 

Further Reading

Journal prompts for entrepreneurs
What is Pivoting, and Steps for Entrepreneurs for How to Pivot in Business
Answering customer calls

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Rebecca Page-Chapman