Monday, 11 July 2022

Body doubling

Earlier this year there was a great post in Harvard's 'Management Tip of the Day' series more or less reiterating what I have found over the years which motivates me. When we are having difficulty in keeping our attention on the tasks we are meant to be tackling, we can all benefit from a technique which is called “body doubling” (Harvard Business Review, 2022, citing Grayson Riegel, 2022). This is where we "work alongside someone else, either in person or even virtually" (Harvard Business Review, 2022). 

How does this work? Well it turns out that we don’t "need to be working on anything related", or on similar tasks. It is simply about buddying-up to do the mahi, together, and we encourage each other to persevere, together. We get work done in company. Most of us like company (Harvard Business Review, 2022), and the company keeps us engaged much longer than we may do on our own. 

To begin working like this, we just need to find time in your calendar where we can work with others, and think about who we might like to work with. Someone with the same type of habits as ourselves is best - if we like to rock along with music, find someone else who likes that too. If we like it quiet, ditto (Harvard Business Review, 2022).

We approach our chosen buddy - or buddies - and juggle calendars to give this a try. Before we have our first session, through, we set some ground rules. We need to think about (Harvard Business Review, 2022): 

  • What do we "each intend to accomplish" in this session?
  • How do we "hope to feel by the end of [our] time" together?
  • "Is it OK to ask one another for advice, help, resources, or even a pep-talk if needed?" 
  • Can we "mention when [we] notice [...]our peer [is] losing focus?" 
  • "When will [we take our] breaks?" 
  • "Are [we] working silently or is polite chatting permitted?"
When we finished each session, we should briefly reflect on what we got done, asking the four great questions: what went well, what can be improved, what surprised us, and what was missing. And we are supposed to "thank each other for being present, and decide if and when to do this again" which is a bit icky, but hey (Harvard Business Review, 2022).



Harvard Business Review (11 March 2022). Management Tip of the Day: To Stay Focused, Work Alongside Someone Else [email].

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